Chris Brown – Elite MTB, Road, Gravel Racing
Chris Brown’s cycling journey began as a youth when injuries sustained in motocross racing shifted his focus to mountain biking.
It was while a student at UNC-Asheville in the late nineties – where Chris co-founded the university’s cycling club – that his passion for mountain biking became fully fueled. By the time he had completed his studies, Chris, with a 2nd place finish, had led the club team to a top-five finish at the 1997 Collegiate National Championships in Merrimack, WI.
Chris went on to become a formidable competitor in the world of amateur and pro mountain bike, cyclocross, and road racing.
In the early 2000’s, Chris ventured further into elite road and criterium racing. From 1996 to 2014 , he won or podiumed in over 100 XC, MTB, road, and criterium races. More recently, he has begun competing and winning his age group in major gravel racing events.
Chris has raced for several elite teams, including Litespeed Bicycles, OBED Bikes, Litespeed-BMW, Pacesetter Steel, Cane Creek Cycling Components, Pro Bikes, and Champion Cycling Teams.
Fun fact – Chris is the all time winningest rider for or on a Litespeed!
Starting with his first job as a teen repairing flat tires at a local bike shop in Florida, Chris’s passion for cycling led him into a career in the cycling industry. He is currently Vice President of Sales at Litespeed Bicycles (American Bicycle Group), where his extensive cycling experience also makes him a valuable contributor to the development team.
Married to wife Cary for over 23 years, and with two sons, ages 7 and 11, Chris delights in sharing his cycling passion with his family.
Notable Racing Achievements
- Four Time Podium Finisher USA Cycling Elite Masters National Championships (Road Race & Criterium: ’10 -‘12)
- Silver Medalist at Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championship (‘97)
- Won TBRA BAR (Best Area Rider) Road Series Championship (‘12)
- Seven Time TN State Champion (Road Race & Criterium: ‘08 – ‘12)
- Two time winner North Carolina State MTB Series (Cane Creek Cup –‘97 & ‘99)
- Won age group and two time runner up in age group at Unbound Gravel 100 (‘19, ‘21, ‘22)
- Won FL and GA State Games – XC Mountain Bike (‘96’ & ‘97)
- Won North Carolina State Cyclocross Championship (’98)
- Won South Carolina State MTB Championship (‘97)
- Won or finished on the podium in over 100 XC MTB, Road and Criterium races throughout the southeast and Mid-Atlantic (‘96 – ‘14)
- Won (’99) and finished 3rd (’98) 5 to Rally De Ciclismo De Montana Totoritas Peru – XC MTB
- Won Age Group Waterfront Olympic Distance Triathlon (‘10)
- Won Deuces Wild Olympic Distance Triathlon/Xterra Overall (‘11)
A note from Chris Brown: “Having key family members, friends, co-workers, and team managers support me during my cycling endeavors were vital to my success and I can’t thank them enough for their support and the sacrifices they made to support me. To name a few – The Lord, my mom, dad and brothers, my wife and her family, my brother-in-law Bill Gay, Brad DeVaney, Peter Hurley, John Ramseur, Chris Chotas, Bob Kassow and so many others.”
Tom Owen – Founder of Chattanooga Bicycle Club and Owen Cyclery
A Club Is Born
Back in 1967, the practice of adults gathering together to ride their bicycles was a foreign concept to most Chattanoogans, but avid cyclist Tom Owen was determined to change that. On February 28, he and two local bicycle dealers sent letters to local radio stations, asking them to announce a group ride to be held on the following Sunday.
That first ride was followed by a second the following week, with 20 riders on a variety of bicycles. The third week, March 12, 1967 saw the first group ride from the Chickamauga Battlefield with 32 participants.
Encouraged by the growing interest, Tom proposed the formation of the Chattanooga Bicycle Club. On April 11th, 1967, the club held its first meeting and Tom Owen was elected president.
Building on this momentum, the Brainerd Bikeway officially opened on October 1st, 1967. By end of that year, the club had 20 dues paying members, and was conducting a variety of weekly rides, including trips to Cades Cove and Fall Creek Falls. Tom wrote the club’s first end-of-year letter on December 31st, 1967. A year later, on January 1st, 1969, he launched the club’s newsletter, named the Tailwind, which is still published today.
In February 1973, Tom Owen and his son, Tom Owen “Junior”, opened the Owen Cyclery store, initially stocking Nishiki, Azuki, Vista bicycles, Raleigh bicycles, and Schwinn models. The store continues to serve local cyclists today, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in March 2023.
Today, in no small part due to Tom Owen’s early efforts, Chattanooga boasts a strong cycling community, with an assortment of clubs and groups catering to cyclists of varying strengths and interests – all enjoying the unique pleasures and camaraderie of riding bicycles together.
Jay Young (AKA “Boss”) – Team Bubba
Jay Young’s selection for this year’s Hall of Fame is based on his twenty-plus years as de facto leader of the local cycling group known as Team Bubba. As told on its website, the group’s roots trace back to a “heckle” in response to a women’s racing team active in the nineties1. Team Bubba has no formal organization, yet under Jay’s leadership has established itself as one of the most enduring and respected of Chattanooga’s local cycling groups.
The group is known for its spirited rides, attracting many of the area’s strongest cyclists, but its members credit Jay’s leadership as the binding force that is responsible for the club’s longevity and the enthusiasm with which its members look forward to their group rides.
In addition to his planning of weekly rides and holiday events, Jay organizes yearly travel trips for the group, the first of which was a team trip to France in 2016 with climbs up Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez.
Team Bubba is proud of its history of supporting area charities as a major contributor to several local events including the Prison Prevention Ride and the Tour de Cure, for which it was the top fundraising team several years in a row. Team Bubba has also raised money for other causes (such as its work raising money for and serving meals to Howard High School sports teams), and is frequently seen marshaling race courses around Chattanooga for events such as the US Pro Race.
“Jay Young has been the unpaid, unelected, and unofficial leader of Team Bubba for over twenty years. Team is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as Team Bubba is not a team, a club, or anything approaching a formal organization. Team Bubba is a diverse and spirited group of people who share a common bond in their passion for cycling. Jay’s friendly demeanor, innate sense of self-deprecating humor, and ability to bestow creative nicknames have turned countless Chattanooga cyclists into Bubbas over the years. Jay is an instant friend to everyone he meets. His ability to make people feel welcome is what has made Team Bubba what it is today.
I consider many Bubbas, including Jay, to be some of my closest friends. Riding with Team Bubba is the thing I look forward to most each week. It sustains my physical and mental health. I am forever grateful for all the thankless work Jay has done to build and sustain the institution that is Team Bubba. “David “Crack’em” Graham
“Boss is incredibly welcoming to and patient with newcomers. He seems to come up with most of the nicknames to help assimilate new Bubbas. I have ridden with him on countless group rides, big and small, over the past 3 years (mostly organized by him), almost all of which have been great! There was that one where I broke my collar bone that l’d like to forget. Even when I was out though, Boss dropped by to check on me and catch up over a beer. When I had to take some time off after my third child was born, Boss was there to come meet the little guy and give him his first Bubba kit! I would like to think I was just special, but that’s not true. Boss does these kind of things for all the group members.
Boss takes the time to organize and plan our rides with weekly metric centuries nearly every Saturday throughout the year as well as holiday rides and several rides throughout each week. He takes the time to get to know everyone in the club. He takes time to visit those of us unfortunate enough to go on the Disabled List as well as those of us who take some time for new changes in life. He’s also still quite a strong cyclist. Despite Boss being about 30 years my senior, he will still whip me up the climbs if I’m not having a good day – and even on some days when I am feeling strong! “Chad “Needles” Armstrong
A note from Jay Young: “I’d like to accept this HOF honor on behalf of: (i) Team Bubba; and (ii) group ride leaders in all of Chattanooga’s clubs (such as the Chattanooga Bike Club, Motor Mile, Southern Velo, and groups in the Battlefield, Soddy, Apison and Dalton to name just a few). Team Bubba is like family to me, and Chattanooga is lucky to have so many great clubs with folks willing to lead group rides because there’s lots more to that than just posting a starting time and route.”
- https://www.beabubba.com/bubba-history/ ↩︎