85 Miles / 8100 Feet of Climbing
Mixed-surface madness! This ride takes you on a challenging journey across a wide range of landscapes (flats, rollers, stingers, climbs, descents) on roads of all kinds (asphalt, chipseal, gravel, dirt, rock) through a crazy mix of settings (woods, farmland, civilization, banjo-land). It's like a dozen different bike rides rolled into one all-encompassing awesome experience!
Potential Route Modifications: For less challenging variations on this route, check out Monkey Town Masher and Monkey Town Lite.
And now for something completely different! Our goal in creating this route was to do more than provide a big challenge. (In our neck of the woods, that's not too hard to do!) What we wanted was something unique and different from the clearly defined road, gravel & MTB rides. We wanted a ride that showcased the incredible cycling diversity of rural Tennessee. While it is certainly a tough route, it's more about the variety of experiences you'll have along the way. It's a crazy mix that adds up to one truly epic bike ride! Here's the breakdown:
1. WARM-UP: The first six and a half miles after leaving Monkey Town Brewing Company will take you out of downtown Dayton on rolling roads past some nice large-lot estates and small farms before reaching the base of the climb up Walden Ridge.
2. EVENSVILLE CLIMB: This is the first of two monster climbs on the route. It's steep (plenty of double-digit pitches) and long (three and a half miles). It also has a number of false summits before you reach the top of Walden Ridge. Don't let up until you see the cell tower!
3. LIBERTY HILL ROAD: After battling the climb, you'll be able to recover on a relatively flat stretch that lasts almost six miles. We say "relatively" because it has a rise in the middle that you will definitely notice.
4. SUMMER CITY ROAD: Liberty Hill Road takes you to a stop sign at Summer City Road where you'll turn right and ride on a nice stretch of asphalt for about six miles. This road may have a few more cars, so stay to the right.
5. CHESTNUT RIDGE: After six miles, you'll turn right onto a gravel road called MIlton Dunn Road followed by a quick left onto Hillyer Road, which is the perfect name for this road as you will immediately face a steep hill! After a mile of up & down, take a left on Chestnut Ridge and follow it back to asphalt and Summer City Road.
6. LOWES GAP DESCENT: After crossing straight across Summer City Road onto Lowes Gap Road, you'll head up before heading down - a long way down! Lowes Gap turns into gravel as you start the descent into Sequatchie Valley, so use caution as you work your way down this beautiful tree-covered descent.
7. SEQUATCHIE VALLEY: At the bottom of the hill you'll return to pavement and turn right onto East Valley Road. For the next five miles you'll ride through some gorgeous farmland on the north end of Sequatchie Valley before heading up a steady climb through the trees. The climb is a little over two miles and has a manageable grade.
8. HINCH: A mile and a half after topping the climb, you'll turn right onto Hinch Road and return to gravel, dirt and rocks. Hinch is a brutal road with rough terrain and steep grades. The three miles of climbing to the crest of the road will feel much longer, and the descent will be slow and technical in parts. Despite its challenges, Hinch is a great road to ride with a genuine backwoods feel!
9. EVENSVILLE DESCENT: Eventually Hinch returns to pavement before ending at Hwy 68. You'll turn right onto Hwy 68 for a short distance before turning right again to follow a parallel road for a few miles. Unfortunately, this road brings you back to Hwy 68 where you'll be forced to hop on the highway. The good news is that you'll be heading downhill, which should keep the cars from coming up on you too fast. Try to ignore the vehicles and enjoy the spectacular views and the exhilarating descent!
10. SHUT IN GAP: Hwy 68 will give you a shoulder as it bottoms out, so please use it. After crossing the creek, you'll turn right on Shut In Gap Road and start to head uphill, gently at first as you follow the creek and then intensely as it climbs the ridge. The climb is only two miles, but it's intense!
11. WALDEN MTN/PINE CREEK: After a little over two miles of relatively easy riding at the top of Shut In Gap Road, you'll turn onto what we think is the best unpaved section of the ride. The next seven and a half miles will have you rolling deep in the woods with a never-ending series of ups & downs in a beautiful setting that includes a couple of creek crossings. (Unless it's been flooding, the low bridges should be enough to keep you dry and mounted on the bike.) Watch your lines carefully on this section as the road is more dirt, sand & rocks than gravel. Fun stuff in the middle of nowhere!
12. WASH PELFREY: This long stretch of dirt ends at Wash Pelfrey Road which is paved but still a far cry from civilization. It's a great road with a short curvy descent down to Piney Creek before a relatively flat stretch back to the top of the Evensville climb. In total, Wash Pelfrey is not quite five miles, but given the state of your legs at this point, it will seem like twice that as you try to make your way back to the landmark cell tower!
13. EVENSVILLE DESCENT: Once you reach the cell tower, you will officially be on the home stretch with an amazing descent in front of you. Watch the curves and keep your speed under control, but sneak a peek at the views every now and then. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains!
14. COOL-DOWN: After three and a half miles of exhilarating downhill, you'll bottom out and roll your way back another six and a half miles to the brewery, where you'll find plenty of cold beer and great food!