Daisy Blanton – Service and Passion
Daisy Blanton is a well-known fixture within and ambassador for the recreational cycling community. Her many years of tireless service to the Chattanooga Bicycle Club, her love of adventure, her grit and determination, her unfailing spirit, her enthusiasm for cycling, and her passion for sharing all of this with others have earned her the love and respect of cyclists throughout the area.
Daisy was a strong cyclist long before she ever considered joining a bike club, as she regularly commuted both ways from her home on Lookout Mountain to her workplace downtown. She completed the full Three State Three Mountain Century multiple times, and an 80-mile Saturday ride was nothing out of the ordinary. She has participated in countless cycling events and adventures – both road and MTB – here in the US and abroad.
For many people, Daisy is and has been the face of the Chattanooga Bicycle Club – always present, always riding and leading rides, always the first to volunteer. She was often the first person to greet participants at check-in for the legacy Three State Three Mountain event, but also worked tirelessly behind the scenes, helping in whatever capacity was needed to ensure the event’s success. She has served on the Board for most of her thirty-year tenure with the club, and has been editor of the newsletter for many of those years. She has led more group rides than can be counted, and is unlikely to cancel a ride except on the very coldest days of winter. She has pulled many a struggling new cyclist through the final miles of a long ride, her cheerful encouragement giving them the confidence to keep coming back for more.
For a new cyclist, joining those first few group rides can be very intimidating. Daisy was always willing to pull someone who was struggling, enabling them to keep coming back and build their endurance. (Gray Fletcher)
We were a little leery to ride with the group of people, but as we rode Daisy was there to encourage us and stay with us! She never left anyone behind! ….Daisy was our official Momma, Queen & leader of the club! Daisy was always in the background, for she wanted everyone to have a fun & enjoyable ride, she made sure everyone was in before she went home! (Hilda Fraley)
Krystal Burnham – Competitive Cycling
Krystal Burnham may arguably be Chattanooga’s most dominant women’s cyclist in a generation. She began her racing career in 2016 , has competed in 126 races, and during that time has compiled a remarkable record. In those 126 races she has been on the podium 41 times, with 19 first place finishes, 16 second place finishes, and 6 third place finishes. She has won multiple Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association titles as well as being named Best All Around Rider in several of the events.
When Krystal is not busy climbing up on the podium, she can be found pursuing one of her other passions – climbing up steep rock faces or ice walls.
Her dedication to the sport and resulting accomplishments over such a short period of time have earned Krystal the honor of being the youngest person to be inducted into the Chattanooga Cycling Hall of Fame.
Krystal is a legend in the cycling community in Chattanooga! … She always has a smile on her face and truly enjoys cycling, and it shows! She has also worked with many other women and provided valuable training to them to improve their cycling skills and racing techniques.” (Jeff Lofgren)
Brad DeVaney – Competition and Innovation
Brad DeVaney is regarded as one of the foremost innovators of titanium fabrication in the design and development of custom racing and production bicycles. He has decades of experience at international pro-level sporting events, including the Tour de France, World Cycling, and Triathlon Championships.
Brad began racing bicycles in 1975 and has competed in BMX, MTB, road racing, triathlon, gravel, and adventure events – capturing several regional, state, and national championship titles. He continues to ride and participate in events for enjoyment.
At the age of 20, he began working at Litespeed Bicycles, with a particular interest in using titanium to create stronger, lighter bikes. He soon earned a reputation for being an expert in all things titanium, which led to his building bikes for the legendary Eddie Mercks, Tom Boonen (5 time winner of Paris-Roubaix), Lance Armstrong, and Greg LeMond. Four teams in the 1994 Tour de France rode on bikes he designed, with one of the riders winning the Red Polka Dot Jersey for best climber. In all, Brad custom-designed over 100 bikes for Tour de France cyclists.
In 2012, Brad was contracted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help design and construct the titanium parts which enabled the Mars rover Curiosity to be the first to land, survive, and explore the planet. Brad maintains his partnership with NASA, sharing decades of cycling industry knowledge to assist in the development and delivery of components for aerospace projects.
Brad also continues his first love – the design of custom and production aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber bicycles for professional racers and enthusiasts.
…..Brad DeVaney has had more influence on the international cycling community and locally than ANYONE! (Robert Binkley)
Durward Higgins – Competitive Cycling
Durward took up racing bicycles in 1982 after an injury ended his running career, but it was not until five years after his retirement from GE that he became really serious about the sport. This was spurred by a change in Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA) rules that mandated a 60+ age group for all state races:
“I started racing with a newly-found dedication, competing for the annual TBRA 60+ Best All-Around Rider (BAR) Jersey, which I won 3 times, as well as 60+ Time Trial, Road Race, and Criterium State Championships, of which I won many.”
He has won 17 USA Cycling National Championships: 14 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships (with 5 Best All-Around Rider awards), 2 USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championships, and a 2021 win in the first USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship.
With numerous wins at the Tennessee Senior Olympics, Durward holds both the Time Trial and Road Race records for each of age groups 65+, 70+ and 75+.
He’s won 17 out of a possible 20 medals in the National Senior Games, and 34 of a possible 44 – along with 5 Best All-Around Rider Jerseys – in the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. Of those 51 medals, 32 were gold: 12 in the National Senior Games, and 20 at Huntsman.
He won the epic annual Mt Evans Hill Climb 70+ in 2017 at age 75, and took 4th place in 2018. He is a multi-time participant in the mountainous Cheaha Challenge (AL) and Three Gap (GA) events with frequent wins in the timed sections of both.
In recounting these successes, Durward says that one of his proudest accomplishments was being selected for the four-member United-4-Health relay team competing in the 2012 Ride Across America (RAAM) – a grueling nonstop 3000-mile race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. The team shattered the 70+ age group record by 27 hours and broke the 60+ record by 4 hours. Their 70+ record still stands, despite several serious attempts to break it.
Jim Johnson – Trails, Greenways and Bicycle Advocacy
If you live in Chattanooga and have ever ridden a bike on a road, trail, greenway, or riverwalk, chances are your life has been made more enjoyable by the tireless work and cycling advocacy of Jim Johnson. Jim has contributed his time, talent, and treasure to make Chattanooga and the Southeast better places for cyclists. His quiet contributions to the cycling community are numerous and include:
- Contributing countless hours and finances overseeing the building of mountain bike and hiking trails at Stringers Ridge
- Conceiving and driving key cycling projects:
- The proposed ChickChatt Greenway – a 55-mile loop that will connect the Riverwalk with the South Chickamauga Greenway via Chickamauga
- North Shore/North Chick Greenway
- Advising on on concepts to connect Lookout Valley to St. Elmo via a greenway and to the North Shore via a bike/ped bridge at Brown’s Ferry
- Serving as President of Chattanooga Bicycle Club for two years
- Serving on the Board of BikeWalk Chattanooga and BikeWalk Tennessee
- Founding and running BikeTours.com which has sent more than 30,000 clients on European bike tours as well as Bike the South, offering bike tours around Chattanooga and the Southeast
- Serving as regional point person for US Bike Route System including US Bike Routes 21 and 121 connecting Chattanooga to Nashville, Knoxville and Atlanta
Jim Johnson is dedicated to cycling in Chattanooga and across the region. He not only advocates for cycling initiatives, but he helps inspire others to start cycling. I met Jim while working on the Bikeways of the Scenic South initiative, which is how I first got interested in cycling. Jim has a way of bringing people together and inspiring them to think big about cycling projects. (Jenni Veal)