KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A local athlete has an important role in the USA Cycling Criterium. She’s making sure the roadway is clear during the fast-paced 1.1-mile trials to protect cyclists and spectators as a course marshal.
Michelle Kenik is a cyclist in her own right, tackling different types of terrain.
“I do road and mountain bike,” Kenik explained, “and gravel bike. I love all three of them.”
As the co-owner of Health First Fitness, with a focus on spin classes, having Kenik as a course marshal makes perfect sense. There’s much more to it than making sure spectators don’t cross the road at the wrong time, as Kenik share before the races in 2019.
“Something popped up in the road. … So I went to try to fix it but there was an official so close by,” she said. “He was on it immediately and they had people take care of it. It was not a manhole cover, but some sort of utility lid popped up in the street. When the cyclists went over it, it flipped up and it was perpendicular with the street, so it would’ve been a huge issue if nobody noticed, so that’s what the course marshal does.”
Even as an athlete, Kenik has no interest in competing at this level.
“I personally find racing with that many people that fast terrifying which is what makes it exciting to watch,” Kenik said. “I can watch someone else do it!”
After keeping watch on the course during the criteriums, Michelle looks forward to being part of the crowd on Sunday, taking it all in as a spectator.
Health First Fitness is located on 320 Troy Circle SW, Unit H. For information on training and classes, call 865-375-5502.