Sequatchie Valley’s Trials Training Center attracts international crowd

Recognized throughout the world-yet unknown to many area residents-the Sequatchie Valley is home to an all-inclusive motorcycle resort: the Trials Training Center.

Renowned for specializing in motorcycle trials, the 680-acre Trials Training Center is a rock-strewn mountainous landscape featuring more than 17 miles of trails that range in difficulty from medium to extreme.

The Trials Training Center is the only trials-based instruction facility in the United States, according to Charlie Roberts, the center’s technical manager.

Trials bikes are characterized by powerful brakes, wide handlebars, lightweight parts, single-speed low gearing, low tire pressures with a thick rear tire, distinctive frame geometry and usually no seat (which allows for a lighter bike).

Trial competitions are divided into separate courses to accommodate the different skill levels of riders who compete in skill-rated classes. Competitors navigate through a series of obstacle courses while attempting to avoid touching the ground with the feet. Riders guide their bikes through extreme courses that rely upon acceleration, braking and leaning. Successful riders must possess an incredible amount of endurance and muscle strength in order to excel.

Each year, the Trials Training Center, located just 10 minutes outside of Jasper, hosts a series of national sporting events, as well as the occasional international event.

This past June, competitors from around the world gathered at the center for the North American Trials Council’s MotoTrials National.

The Tennessee Knockout Extreme Enduro (TKO), a cross-country race on a closed course, is taking place at the center this weekend. On Saturday, 145-150 amateur riders competed to move forward to Sunday’s expert race, which will feature 25 of the best riders from the U.S. and Canada.

“Some of the fastest guys in the world will be here for the Enduro,” said Roberts, who has competed for 44 years. “X Games superstar Cody Webb, the 2010 trials national champion and points leader of the 2014 EnduroCross Series, said the TKO at the Trials Training Center is ‘the hardest thing I’ve ever done.’”

The TKO is a family-friendly event, but be sure to dress for the outdoors if you go. The center is expecting a crowd of 1,500 spectators Sunday. The cost to enjoy the event from the wooded sidelines is $10 for ages 11 and up.

Throughout the year, the Trials Training Center offers training classes in both trials and conventional off-road bikes for all ages and skill levels. Family camp and teen camp sessions are offered each summer, and this year, the center added women’s-only trials and downhill bicycling classes to its schedule.

“This is a memory sport, so it is so good for kids,” Roberts said. “It is also the safest and most inexpensive motorsport, too.”

The 680-acre property in Marion County features eight cabins, 15 RV sites, primitive camping sites, rental bikes and riding gear.

“Our mission is to provide a motorcycle training center and campground for off-road motorcycle riders,” Roberts said.

Visit the Trials Training Center website for more information.

Jenni Veal

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