Some general commentary on area t-shirt and charity rides. Maybe I’ll expand this content soon.
2 County Metric (100km) – sponsored by the Murfreesboro Bike Club, this April group ride is very intermediate. As I remember, there are only two climbs. But, early in the season, the rolling hills will get you. You get a t-shirt with this ride.
Watertown Historical Ride (100km) – I rode this in 2004, at the first annual. I missed the 3-state 3-mountain, as this is the same weekend. It starts and ends in Watertown, and has a great meal at the end. Don’t let the first 15 or so flat miles fool you. About mile twenty-something, there’s a nasty climb up to a road that wanders along Center Hill Lake. This has to be one of the coolest parts. The route also follows the Caney Fork River, which is also very nice. If it were another weekend, I’d definitely do this one every year.
CRAM – Clarksville Rotary Annual Metric (100km) – another t-shirt ride. This is very flat, and very fast. I rode this one with the club last year, and they really put the hammer down. Drop in behind a tandem or two, and you may not be able to spin fast enough to keep up. I couldn’t… Classic middle Tennessee ride.
HOT100 a.k.a. HOT109 (109 miles, or 100km option) – another Murfreesboro club ride. This was the first 100 mile ride I’ve ever done. The first 62 are pretty easy and flat. The last half is very hilly and very hot. Actual mileage turned out to be 109 miles – a torturous discovery as your odometer hits 100 miles and no finish line! This ride is in the heat of August, and hydration to prevent cramping is essential. Calorie intake is also extremely critical to finishing a 100 mile ride. Would I do it again? Definitely.
Tour de Cure (75 miles X 2)- a charity ride for American Diabetes Association. It’s 75 miles down, 75 miles back over 2 days. Difficulty is on the easy side of intermediate, except for Monteagle Mountain. You hit the base at about mile 71, and it’s about 2 miles of mountain grade climb (probably 6%). This is extremely difficult. I have a compact crank for my attempt this year. Lunch is at the George Dickel Distillery near a nice little stream. WHAT A GREAT RIDE! One of my favorites. The destination is so beautiful. You have to make this one a priority.
Jack and Back (75 or 62 X 2) – a charity ride for National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This has to be my favorite, as it actually got me into road riding. The 62 is pretty easy, and the 75 mile is intermediate. The route is very scenic, and the camping at Motlow Community College is outstanding. Jack Daniels sponsors it on Saturday night with a great barbeque and catfish dinner, with plenty of Lynchburg Lemonade. I look forward to this ride all year.
3 State 3 Mountain in Chattanooga (May 2005 and 2006) – this one took me 99.88 miles, over three mountains, through three states. Just the mountain climbing was over 10,000 feet. This is physically the most difficult thing I have ever subjected myself to.
First mountain is Suck Creek Mountain. Start of the climb is about mile 10. It’s about 5 miles of non-stop climbing, but it’s very steady – no surprises. On this year’s descent, we passed an accident where a rider who missed a curve hit an oncoming car. With speeds over 40 mph on the descents, this was a very bad accident.
Second is Sand Mountain. This mountain started some time after mile 50. It’s about a 2.5 mile climb, but it goes steep then flat, over and over again. The steep section is an out-of-the-saddle effort, but the "flat" sections aren’t flat enough to recover. The descents were so curvy, steep and fast that they actually had ambulances and emergency vehicles parked at every turn to scrape people up.
The third real mountain is Lookout Mountain. If you’ve ever been down the road by the hang gliding park, there’s a highway that leads down the mountain to the west. That’s the route we took UP the mountain, about 3 miles, with a VERY steep section at the very top. We did get to descend down the road that most people drive up from Chattanooga. What a great descent! No sharp corners, traffic wasn’t bad. And, it was the end of the ride.
Overall, the 3S3M was an amazing experience. The scenery was breathtaking, and the ride was extremely challenging. In 2007, I’ll be riding the 5 boro’s in New York City.