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 - with rewards! 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! Special thanks to Village Volkswagen for sponsoring the 3 Mountain Challenge!
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.
Also, please be advised that the climbs have very steep grades (up to 20%). Climbing gears & disc brakes are highly recommended. The descents can be dangerous on rim brakes if you don't control your speed. If you're not used to tackling long climbs or descending steep grades, please think twice before attempting them.
5.1 miles (10.2 miles up & back) / 1,600 feet of climbing
Available for the 35, 50 & 80-mile routes.
New for '22, Henson Gap is the longest and arguably the hardest of the three climbs, but it rewards those brave enough to take it on with a spectacular view overlooking Sequatchie Valley (along with a proper rest stop). With its location just a few miles from our home base in downtown Dunlap, Henson Gap can be attempted right off the bat when your legs are still waking up or you can save it for the end when your legs are potentially cooked from a long day in the saddle. Your call. The climb consists of two parts, with a consistently steep first part that includes a nasty "S" curve with grades in the high teens. After grinding out the first three and a half miles on Henson Gap Road, you'll then turn onto Window Rock Road and continue uphill with a series of steep ramps before finally reaching the rest stop at the Tree Toppers hang gliding launch pad. The descent requires sharp focus and steady braking to ensure that your speed remains under control, especially prior to entering the "S" curve, which is not only the steepest and curviest part of the descent, but also has the worst pavement. Use extreme caution and don't cheat the corners. This climb and descent is for experienced cyclists only. Don't underestimate the grades and curves!
LEE STATION MTN
3.9 miles (7.8 miles up & back) / 1,300 feet of climbing
Available for the 50 & 80-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.
3.6 miles (7.2 miles up & back) / 1,200 feet of climbing
Available for the 35, 50 & 80-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!