When the Summitt Cyclists of Pedal for Pat arrive on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus on Wednesday, Sept. 20, it will look “like a small parade coming in; 12 cyclists doesn’t sound like a lot, but with the bikes, the trail vehicles with flashing lights and moto(rcycle) support, it’s quite a little entourage.”
So said Pedal for Pat event founder Josh Crisp of the 1,098-mile, 12-day charity cycling trek that will make its way to 12 Southeastern U.S. cities from Sept. 11-22. The event was created to celebrate the life of legendary UT Knoxville women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt, who passed away in 2016.
Summitt was head coach of the Lady Vols from 1974 to 2012, amassing 1,098 career wins before retiring from coaching at age 59 following a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She was very public about her condition, creating the Pat Summitt Foundation to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
Pedal for Pat benefits the Pat Summitt Foundation and The Pat Summitt Clinic. For details, including donation and volunteer information, visit PedalforPat.info.
To honor her legacy, the team of 12 Summitt Cyclists will pedal 1,098-plus miles—one for each Summitt-coached Lady Vols victory—during a tour that will visit numerous universities, including UTC, the University of South Carolina, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia College (Milledgeville, Georgia) and UT Knoxville. A full support crew accompanies the cyclists with responsibilities ranging from nutrition to recovery to massage and physical therapy.
“We have this team of 12 that will be riding the full 12 days, but we do have opportunities if others want to ride,” said Pedal for Pat event chair Sara Mitchell. “A cyclist could join the team for just one day, a weekend, three days, whatever that looks like. We have a little bit of flexibility.”
Crisp is not just the event founder; he is one of the Summitt Cyclists. Other cyclists include women’s basketball Hall of Famer Michelle Marciniak, the MVP of the 1996 Final Four after leading the Lady Vols to the national championship, and middle-distance runner Missy Kane—who competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
The Summitt Cyclists are expected to arrive at UTC late afternoon on Sept. 20 after a 60-plus mile ride from Fort Payne, Alabama. Their visit to campus is sponsored by the UTC Division of Diversity and Engagement.
During their time at UTC, they will meet with select Mocs coaches and student-athletes and have dinner at the University Center. The Mocs Athletics Department will provide swag for the cyclists.
“We are excited to have some of our student-athletes and coaches help host participants in this year’s Pedal for Pat event on campus at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga,” UTC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton said. “UTC is one of many college campuses hosting individuals on their 12-day ride throughout the region to raise money for the Pat Summit Foundation. We are happy to do our part to help benefit Coach Summitt’s Foundation, The Pat Summitt Clinic and the continued fight against Alzheimer’s.”
On Sept. 21, the cyclists will pedal out of Chattanooga for another 60-plus mile ride to Athens, Tennessee.
The Pat Summitt Clinic opened its doors in 2017 and has treated more than 6,000 patients from 25 states. The Pat Summitt Foundation has awarded more than $4 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the region working to advance research, providing support for patients and caregivers, and promoting education and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. To learn more about the work of Pedal for Alzheimer’s, visit PedalforAlzheimers.org.