Residents along Sunday’s cycle route get ready to cheer on athletes

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Sunday is the big day. Cyclists with otherworldly talent will be whizzing through downtown Knoxville.

The fourth and final day of the USA Cycling National Championships’ kicks off in the morning. The best of the best from across the country are here.

Sunday’s race could put the winners one step closer to the Olympics. But the course isn’t an easy one. Before they can cross the finish line, the cyclists have to power up a steep hill on Sherrod Road several times.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Elizabeth Kuebel visited that part of the track. She says the people living there are getting ready to cheer on these world-class athletes.

“People have their cowbells out. It’s loud and noisy and raucous and just fun,” said Vance Thompson.

Thompson and others that live along Sherrod Road get a front row view of all the action headed their way Sunday.

The pro road race course twists in front of their homes, and these neighbors know how to have some fun with it.

“It’s a giant party. We have relatives coming over, we have friends coming over, then we meet all kinds of new people. It’s nice to make connections of ‘I had no idea that you knew somebody on Sherrod Road,'” Thompson said.

The 7.9-mile route is certainly not easy, especially as the cyclists make their way up the Sherrod Hill.

“I’ve walked up this hill and ridden my bike up the hill enough times to know how difficult it is, and to see guys coming up the hill at high rates of speed actually racing is unbelievable,” Thompson said.

Now, Vance Thompson and many others are gearing up and getting excited for what Sunday’s big race day will bring.

“We’re just looking forward to a fun day and a lot of fast cyclists going by,” Thompson said.

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