In a stunning victory, defeating dozens of seasoned, professional cyclists, local celebrity Sandy the Flower Man won the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship, held for the first time in Chattanooga over the weekend after starting in Philadelphia in 1985 and being held for the last seven years in Greenville, S.C.
Sandy the Flower Man, whose real name is Oterius Bell, unintentionally won the championship race because he was strongly compelled to travel to the downtown area immediately, but he was told by race officials that the roads were blocked off because of the event and that the only way he could make his way downtown unimpeded was to officially enter the competition.
“I just had this feeling that, right at that time, there were two young lovers somewhere downtown who needed to be brought together, and my giving the young lady a daffodil was going to be the catalyst for this budding romance,” said Sandy the Flower Man, after winning the race. “I had to do everything within my ability to make this happen.”
Sandy the Flower Man is a Chattanooga mainstay, often seen riding his bicycle and wearing his trademark black cowboy hat and sleeveless vest during the evening and late-night hours around downtown establishments, handing out flowers with a gentle, welcoming smile.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran works as a handyman during the daytime hours and is a cancer survivor, leading some spectators to make comparisons to cancer survivor and cyclist Lance Armstrong, if Armstrong gave away flowers and didn’t illegally use performance enhancing drugs and didn’t disappoint millions of people.
After Sandy the Flower Man fiercely pedaled his way past the finish line, he was presented with a medal and a bouquet of flowers, to which he replied, “Oh my!” expressing both surprise and delight.
Sandy immediately threw down his bicycle and began to dismantle the flower bouquet, handing out the blossoms to couples as he made his way through the cheering crowd on his determined matchmaking quest.