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3-State 3-Mountain Challenge - CycleCentury

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
Total Time = 7h 30m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
  • 7h 14m
  • 100.65 miles
  • 13.91 mile/hr

This is a ride report as opposed to a race report. 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge is a century ride sponsored by the Chattanooga Bike Club. It includes 3 significant climbs Including Suck Creek, Sand and Lookout Mountains and a total elevation change of 11,000 + feet according to my Garmin GPS. They limit the ridership to 2400 and are usually sold out priot to the event.

We started out on Thursday looking at weather forecasts and questioning whether we would go or not. Registration had been paid but no one wanted to ride 100 miles in rain and thunder. Maurice was the first to bail after which Eddie called me and was on the fence. I convinced him to wait until Friday. Friday we decided to go and play the weather as it came. Eddie and I went up Friday and spend the night at my Mother’s mountain cabin outside Ellijay in order to be closer. We woke up early and headed the last 60 miles into Chattanooga.

As we were coming into Chattanooga we were welcomed by the site of a huge squall line over Lookout Mountain and extending as far as we could see both north and south. The lighting show was spectacular. We found a place to park and as we were questioning our sanity once again it started to rain in earnest. We claimed our packages and already wet we decided to press on and went to the staring point. Luckily there was a covered building for us to gather in as the storm raged. We found Kwon, Norris, Kevin and his wife here. Once a break came in the storm about 40 minutes after the published starting time we all lined up and we were off in the rain.

The first 10 miles were flat and went in increments from a steady rain to a downpour. Then we stared to climb suck creek. It is the longest of the climbs, about 5 miles, but is steady and I was able to settle in to a good rhythm and power on up. I finally got warm and got foggy glasses but made it to the top in one piece. I was in my last gear which did not bode well for the remainder of the trip. At this point I was thinking the 62 mile option looked pretty good. The descent in the rain off Suck Creek was scary and for the first time ever my hands got sore holding the brakes on a descent. At the first stop we ran into Dirk, Dan & friend, Paul and Brandon. Dirk and Dan joined us and we pedaled on. The rain had slowed but the roads were still wet so drafting meant taking a continuous grit shower.

At the 44 mile point we were faced with the turnoff for the 62 mile route with no more mountains or the 100 miles with 2 more mountains. Dan’s friend asked someone about the weather forecast and was told it was going to continue to clear. Testosterone took over and Eddie, myself, Dirk, Dan and Friend headed out to complete the 100. Kwon and Norris took the 62 route. I should point out that Kwon and Norris are medical doctors and I took no comfort in watching my medical support head off in the other direction as I thought I might need it later.

Soon we were climbing again as Im panting, I look down and see painted on the pavement a note that says “This is not a Mountain”. It wasn’t but soon we began climbing Sand Mountain (switchbacks suck). I ran out of gears and to avoid heart explosion I took a couple rest breaks on the way up. Once on top we had 24 miles of rollers to the next big climb.

After Sand Mtn I was not looking forward to Lookout Mtn. My legs were toast and I was beginning to cramp. Once there (mile 83) it was as advertised, grade of 10-17 with 18-20 at the top. The sun was now out and I was HOT. I was under geared and overweight for this type of climb and when I looked down I was going 3 mph. I figured I could walk that fast so I started a walk/ride routine up the mountain. I was joined by many with the same situation. Many riders with triple cranks and smaller bodies were able to keep on going. (I rationalized this qualified the ride as multi-sport).

Once to the top of Lookout Mountain it was 10 miles of rollers with a big climb into the city of Lookout Mountain. Views were spectacular. The descent off Lookout was the best of the day and we entered Chattanooga to a great reception. The police had blocked off a lane for us and we were able to pedal non-stop back into the Stadium.

After the ride we changed, ate pizza and lounged in the sun of the stadium.

What would you do differently?:

I was not trained for this type of climbing. Could probably have done better with a compact crank or a 12-27 cassetted or combination of both.
Post race
Warm down:

Pizza and Diet Coke.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

They put on a great ride, Police presence at every intersection, ample SAG stops, enthuesastic volunteers. I would certainly ride it again.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-04-29 12:00 AM
07:14:00 | 100.65 miles | 13.91 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Rigorous 100-mile Century will take you through 3 states (Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia) and over 3 mountains (Suck Creek, Sand and Lookout).
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-05-04 9:28 AM

Subject: 3-State 3-Mountain Challenge
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