3 Mountain Challenge!
Conquer the climbs and get rewarded for your effort! Sequatchie Valley not only has endless miles of rolling farm roads, but it also offers multiple challenging climbs up the ridges that border the valley. We've chosen three of our favorite climbs and included them in the ride as optional challenges. After crossing the finish line, swing by the Prize Table and tell us how many climbs you did on your ride. The more climbs, the bigger the prize!
The climbs are all out & back (UP & back), which not only allows you to continue on the base routes after conquering each climb (or skipping them altogether if your legs aren't up for it), but it also gives you a chance to scout out the descent on the way up. Pay attention to road surface conditions and sharp curves during the ride up.
Because the climbs will have cyclists going up and coming down, it is extremely important to stay in your lane. You must stay on the right side of the road at all times. Do not weave into the left lane on the way up and do not use the whole road on the way down! If you are unable to stay in your lane while climbing or descending (or at any point on the ride) this is not the right ride for you.
While the climbs won't be timed (just finishing them is enough to warrant a reward!), we did match the finish of each climb to an existing Strava segment for those looking to clock their climbs.
Sequatchie Valley owes its striking scenery in large part to the two massive ridges that form its borders, the CUMBERLAND PLATEAU on the west side and WALDEN RIDGE on the east side. For Cycle Sequatchie we've chosen climbs that allow you to go up each side of the Valley, as well as a climb where the two ridges come together to form the northern end of the Valley (what we call the Top of the Valley).
While the climb at the north end of the Valley is somewhat manageable, the climbs up the east and west walls are exceptionally challenging, with double-digit grades for extended sections. Climbing gears & disc brakes are highly recommended. If you're not used to tackling long climbs or descending steep grades, please think twice before attempting them.
If you're looking for a climb with more moderate grades (less than 10%) as well as a straight, non-technical descent, consider riding the 35-mile route, which includes close to a mile of climbing as it crosses over a ridge in the middle of the Valley (College Station Mountain).
2.2 miles (4.4 miles up & back) / 1,000 feet of climbing
Available for the 50, 70 & 85-mile routes.
The climb up the Cumberland Plateau on the west side of the Valley is on Lee Station Mountain Road, a narrow backroad that works its way up the ridge through a dense tree canopy. The road is super steep, with plenty of double-digit grades, including some sections that hit 20%! If you're not comfortable going up - and coming down - steep grades, this is not a climb you should attempt. But if you're looking for a true test of your climbing and descending skills, this will give you all the challenge you need! Because this road is narrow and does not have a yellow line, it is imperative that you stay to the right side of the road at all times. Do not attempt this climb if you are unable to climb steep grades without weaving back & forth.
TOP OF THE VALLEY
2.6 miles (5.2 miles up & back) / 800 feet of climbing
Available for the 85-mile route.
If you travel far enough north in Sequatchie Valley you'll eventually reach the point where Walden Ridge comes together with the Cumberland Plateau to form the northern border of the Valley. The climb up the ridge at the Top of the Valley is on Old Highway 28, a road that is seldom used since the construction of the new highway on the west side of the Valley. While there are a few short sections that reach double-digit grades, the climb generally stays in the 4-8% range, making it ideal for a steady cadence rhythm to the top of this beautiful tree-lined climb!
2.5 miles (5 miles up & back) / 900 feet of climbing
Available for the 35, 50, 70 & 85-mile routes.
The climb up Walden Ridge on the east side of the Valley is up Pitts Gap Mountain Road, which is a quiet wooded road with some nice views of the Valley below where the power lines cut through the trees. The climb starts off with an easy warm-up before tilting up sharply and then stays in the 7-14% range the rest of the way. This consistently steep grade coupled with a rough surface make the descent a challenge as well. Good gears, good brakes and conservative riding (both going up and coming down) are keys to completing this challenge!