News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Athens native comes home for Criterium race
Greg Coggin's family finally gets to see him race

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

Sunday will provide a couple of firsts in the Coggin household.

Greg, a 29-year-old Athens native with the California-based Cynergy team, will make his first trip back to his home area in almost a year.

Also, his family will watch him race for the first time when he participates in The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium on Sunday.

"We haven't seen him in several months, so we'll be glad to see him at all," said Rozella Coggin, Greg's mom. "To see him race will be awesome. As a mother, I'm always afraid he will fall.

"Mothers don't stop being moms because their kids are grown."

Coggin has been involved in cycling for several years but started riding competitively in 2006, after he graduated from Alabama-Huntsville with a degree in marketing.

Since then, Greg has been racing and toiling around California, racing for Cynergy and designing bikes for ABE, a bike designing company.

People come to Coggin and give him their preferences on how they believe their bike should be made.

He then goes to work and comes up with a custom-made cycle for them.

According to Coggin, he has made between 150 and 200 bicycles.

One of the bikes designed by Coggin will be used by another racer, Jeff Critser.

Critser has lived in Huntsville since 1992 and works for Madison Cycles.

"We pick up some material and try to build the bike," Coggin said. "Then our expertise comes in on the geometry, so it's what works with the customers."

Being in the cycling world has given Coggin the ability to travel to several locations.

He has raced all over the country — Ohio, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Wisconsin and around some of the United States' most famous landmarks.

For example, one of the racing events in which he participated occurred on the road that loops around Central Park in New York City.

"It was really short and 5 or 6 in the morning. There are a lot of rules with Central Park," Coggin said. "People are strict about when and where not to ride in."

When Coggin first heard that there was going to be a race in Decatur, he thought that it was "fantastic."

His parents, Rozella, an administrative assistant at UAH, and Jerry, a home builder, finally could see him in action Sunday, riding against some of the top Criterium cyclists in the world.

"My parents, I've never asked for them to come watch me race," Coggin said.

"They won't understand what it's like. The normal races are small, so I've never invited them to come. But this time to have them see me in a professional race, I'm excited."

Downtown Criterium

Here is the schedule of races for The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium on Sunday. More than 300 professional bicycle riders will be competing in the downtown races.

1 p.m.: Masters 35 years and older. Race laps: 40 minutes plus two laps. Prizes: $500. Places: 10.

2 p.m.: Men’s Category 2/3. Race laps: 50 minutes plus three laps. Prizes: $500. Places: 10.

3:10 p.m.: Women Pro 1/2/3. Race laps: 60 minutes, plus 3 laps. Prizes: $5,000. Places: 15.

4:30 p.m.: Men Pro-Am. Race laps: 75 minutes, plus 3 laps. Prizes: $10,000. Places: 30.

For more information visit:

The route of the race

  • The hub of The Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium race activity will be the start-finish line at East Moulton Street and Second Avenue.

  • A series of four races, the masters (35 and over), men category 2/3, women professionals and men professionals, will feature more than 300 riders from the United States and overseas.

  • The cyclists will travel south on Second Avenue Southeast one block to Johnston Street Southeast, turn right and go west to First Avenue, turn right, proceed downhill to Lee Street Northeast, turn right, proceed to Second Avenue, go uphill to the start-finish line at Moulton Street.

  • Walking the 0.6 mile route takes about 13 minutes.

  • Leisurely riding a 10-speed across the course took 3 minutes, 47 seconds.

    But for the racers, it will be anything but a leisurely ride.

    “These guys will be going averaging about 28 mph,” JoE Silva, media coordinator for the USA Crits Southeast Series, said.

    “But they’ll really be smoking it on some of the laps. The racers ought to be doing the lap in about a minute, 10 seconds.”

  • The masters will ride for 40 minutes before sprinting the final three laps.

  • The men category 2-3 will ride 50 minutes, then sprint the final three laps.

  • The women will pedal for 60 minutes before a three-lap dash.

  • The men’s pros will circle downtown Decatur for 75 minutes before assaulting the last three laps.

    - Michael Wetzel

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