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Grizzly race postponed

Article Published: Jun. 14, 2012 | Modified: Jun. 14, 2012

The Grizzly, a 65-mile bicycle race usually a part of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, has been postponed this year.

The postponement is due to the continuing construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway, according to Grandfather Mountain Highland Games assistant general manager Thomas Taylor.

The National Park Service, which is currently completing renovation on the scenic road, approved a permit for GMHG to use a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway for its annual marathon, but not for The Grizzly.

“Jim Deni, who is over the three races, tried desperately to get a permit to use the parkway, but because of the construction going on along the parkway, they wouldn’t issue him a permit,” said Taylor, adding that the nature of the construction probably presents unique obstacles for cyclists. “I guess it’s safe to run, but not safe to ride.”

Taylor said that the cause for the postponement was related to the state of parkway construction, and not to the death of Erik Lie-Nielsen, a doctor at Wake Forest School of Medicine who died while participating in The Grizzly in 2011.

“That wasn’t taken into consideration by the parkway; it was just a construction issue,” Taylor said.
If construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway goes as scheduled, The Grizzly should resume in 2013.

“They talked favorably about issuing a permit next year,” Taylor said. “We will try to have The Grizzly next year; it’s just been put on hold.”

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