Join us in DAYTON, TENNESSEE on JULY 11th for an epic bike ride that truly has it all, with a great mix of paved and unpaved roads, backwoods beauty, wide open views, monster climbs and screaming descents! It's a gravel grinder, road ride, climbing challenge and rural rambler all rolled into one big adventure. And with Monkey Town Brewing Company and 1st Avenue Pizza as our finish line, there will be plenty of beer & pizza waiting for you at the end of the ride!
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: With the coronavirus creating so much uncertainty about mass events, we have decided to make this a FREE ride! That way if circumstances prevent us from having the ride, there's no commitment or complications to deal with. Consider this a fun free group ride celebrating the end of social isolation - with some extra perks and a party at the end!
The Monkey Town Masher is an adventure bike ride (not a race) that 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!
All riders will start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 11, 2020.
The original plan was to have a standard registration process for the event, but with the coronavirus creating so much uncertainty about mass events, we've decided to make it FREE! That way if circumstances prevent us from having the ride, there's no commitment or complications to deal with. Consider this a fun free group ride celebrating the end of social isolation - with some extra perks and a party at the end!
TIRES & BRAKES
A gravel or cyclocross bike is highly recommended for this ride. The unpaved sections are too gnarly for skinny tires and there's too much pavement for mountain bikes. We recommend riding tires in the 37-40 mm range. Disc brakes are also highly recommended.
Now that the ride is no longer a pay-to-play event, we can't afford to offer a ton of support. It's a free ride after all! But we'll still have a rest stop at mile 51 to help you through the home stretch. Our treat! We will also do our best to round up volunteers to provide some SAG support on the paved sections of the course. We will NOT have directional signs on the course, so you will need to download the route to a bike computer or print out the cue sheet. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the course prior to the ride!
RSVP on our Facebook event page!
Have non-cycling friends or family interested in being a part of the action without riding a bike? Contact us for more info on all the fun volunteer opportunities associated with the event!
While we think of Dayton as a place with great cycling and tasty beer, its main claim to fame is the 1925 Scopes Trial (known as the "Monkey Trial"), which pitted creationists vs evolutionists in a trial that gained national attention and has since been the subject of books, plays & movies. There's even a museum dedicated to the trial in the Rhea County courthouse just around the corner from our start/finish line. (There's also a wall of pictures from the trial inside Monkey Town Brewing Company.)
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 events. We wanted a ride that showcased the incredible cycling diversity of rural Tennessee. While it is certainly a tough route (7,000 feet of climbing in a little over 70 miles), 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. CYRUS DANIELS ROAD: After crossing Summer City Road, the road will change names and narrow considerably. This is a great little section that lasts about two and a half miles and feels more like a driveway than a road. It starts off as rough asphalt and then turns into gravel the rest of the way.
5. PORCH ROCK ROAD: The gravel section ends at Porch Rock Road, where you'll turn left and ride along the escarpment overlooking Sequatchie Valley for a mile and a half. Unfortunately, the wooded nature of this road obscures the view off the edge, but every now and then you'll get a window into how high you are. (Also keep an eye out for the green dinosaur!)
6. HWY 30 DESCENT: This is definitely a highlight, as you bomb down Walden Ridge into Sequatchie Valley on smooth pavement and smooth curves for over four miles! The descent has the perfect grade that's steep enough to coast if you want to take it easy but not too steep that you can't pedal through the curves if you want to push your speed.
7. SEQUATCHIE VALLEY: After bottoming out, you'll enjoy fourteen and a half miles of gorgeous farmland scenery in the quiet north end of Sequatchie Valley. As a road ride, it doesn't get any better than this, with sweeping views and peaceful rollers. Consider this section the calm before the storm.
8. LOWES GAP: This is the second monster climb of the day, and though shorter than the first one (only two miles), it is arguably more challenging since it's unpaved and super steep - up to 20% in parts! It's a gorgeous climb with plenty of tree cover, ferns and big rock faces, plus a cascading stream to keep you company. (You might also spot a boat in the woods along the way!)
9. OVERLOOK TRAIL: Lowe's Gap returns to pavement towards the end of the climb and for a brief moment you'll think you're home free. Then you'll turn left onto Overlook Trail. This gravel road starts off with a mile-and-a-half climb at a manageable grade. Then it heads downhill before launching you onto another climb. This second climb is shorter, only a half-mile total, but it has a pair of ramps that will test your legs, with one of the ramps topping out at 32%!
10. HOLLOWAY TRAIL: The payoff for all the work on Overlook Trail is almost two miles of unpaved downhill on Holloway Trail. This is a fun road with a few panoramic views and a cool lake towards the bottom. Watch out for the curves though, as some of them tend to be pretty loose. Also watch out for the llamas!
11. SHUT IN GAP ROAD: When you end up on a road named "Shut In Gap" you know you're in the boonies, especially when your first landmark is the aptly named "Bridge to Nowhere." (It will be on your left shortly after you turn onto this road.) Despite its name, the road is actually well-paved and may have an occasional car. So stay to the right and enjoy some fun curves on a section that will feel refreshingly fast after all that off-road labor.
12. WALDEN MTN/PINE CREEK: After channeling your inner roadie for a little over two miles on 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!
13. 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!
14. 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!
15. 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 cold beer, hot pizza and friendly company await you at the finish line!
RULES OF THE ROAD
- By participating in this ride, you are accepting personal responsibility for your safety and well-being and agree to hold harmless Velo View Bike Tours for any personal injury or property damage you may suffer as part of this event.
- You must wear a helmet to participate in this ride.
- Avoid using earbuds while riding, as awareness of your surroundings at all times is crucial to your safety as well as the safety of those around you.
- Keep an eye out for vehicles while riding and be considerate to vehicles trying to pass. We've avoided the busier roads with our routes, but all roads will be open to traffic.
- Obey all traffic laws, which means stopping at all stop signs and traffic lights.
- Ride no more than two abreast.
- Ride on the shoulder or in a bike lane whenever possible.
- If you need to stop while riding, please get completely off the road.
- Control your speed on fast descents by feathering your brakes, and always brake before entering sharp turns (as opposed to a sudden hard squeeze in the middle of a turn).
- Communicate with other cyclists when riding as a group. When turning, signal with your hand and tell everyone which direction you're turning. Announce when you're slowing down or coming to a stop. Call out hazards in the road.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line without zig-zagging, and ride at a consistent speed without sudden accelerations or decreases in speed.
We couldn't have asked for a better partner for this event than Monkey Town Brewing Company - the perfect finish line for a long day on the bike! With close to 20 original beers on tap, the brewery offers a wide range of high quality craft beer along with a full menu for lunch and dinner.
Next door to the brewery and run by the same family, 1st Avenue Pizza, Books & Treats serves up delicious pizza made with all-natural ingredients. You should also take a minute to check out the bookstore that occupies the front of the pizza shop. It's amazing and will have you planning a return trip to spend some time browsing the selections - and sampling the gelato!
Big thanks to our friends at Rhea County Economic & Community Development for helping us put on this event! We're excited to show off Dayton and the fantastic cycling available in this part of the Chattanooga region.
REI is known for their extensive selection of all things outdoor rec, but did you know that they also have a wide-range of bikes for sale along with a first-rate service center? Stop by the store near Hamilton Place and check out everything they have to offer! We're excited to have REI as part of the event and grateful for their generous sponsorship.
Owen Cyclery has been an integral part of the cycling community for decades and we're proud to have their support at the Monkey Town Masher. And as the closest bike shop to Dayton, we might also consider this their backyard ride!
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