USA Cycling National Championships takes over Chattanooga - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

USA Cycling National Championships takes over Chattanooga

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  Dozens of roads closed on Memorial Day, open only to professional cyclists.

76 women and 69 men made it to the starting line of the USA Cycling National Championships, traveling at speeds usually only reached in a motorized vehicle.

"The women are going roughly between 22-24 mph, the men might be a little bit faster, probably going closer to 26 mph on the flats," said Kevin Loughery.

USA Cycling Communications Manager Kevin Loughery says the women battled wind and the gloomy forecast made rain a possibility for the men, that's why they covered the bridges with carpet for safety.

"You obviously want to keep them as safe as possible, so giving them some traction with some carpeted area to remove the slickness is something that they're doing," Loughery said, "Hopefully it's going to be helpful."

The course is complete with several climbs up two different hills, the short but steep Kent Street Hill and the four-mile long ride up Lookout Mountain.  

"These athletes like to be challenged," Loughery said, "And pride themselves on their climbing abilities."

But for the 2012 USA Champion Megan Guarnier --- her cheering section says bring it on.

"She likes the hills. so we hope that that's where she makes her move," said her aunt Cathy Nyberg.

Guarnier's family came from all over the east coast to watch her race.

"It's a beautiful city, we have lots of things to do and Meg never disappoints us," said Nyberg.

After coming to Chattanooga for the past three years to watch Guarnier compete, her family says this year will be the best one yet.

"If we see Meg win, that's our favorite part!"

Megan Guarnier's family must have been her good luck charm --- she won the women's race this morning -- and will take home the stars and stripes jersey.

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