US Cycling National Championship will test riders with incline
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Odds are yes, we've all been on a bike ride at one point, but what you're about to see this weekend during the USA Cycling National Championships is not just a bike ride.
Take the road course for example, 100 miles on men's side. Three trips up and down Lookout Mountain. That's three trips climbing more than 1,000 feet in elevation.
We asked East Ridge Cyclist Chris Dodd if he could jump on his bike Monday morning and hang with the pack.
"No, couldn't do it, couldn't do it. Can't ride as fast as those guys do."
Not many can, and it's nothing to be ashamed of even knowing Dodd has been riding for more than three decades.
Those competing this week are the best the world has to offer.
"They'll be facing steep climbs, hot humid temps, and they'll be going as hard out as they possibly can," said Dodd.
The climb up Ochs Highway is as scenic as any but overshadowing the beauty will be the steep grade that in a mater of minutes goes from 700 feet above sea level to almost 1,900.
While not as long as the toughest climbs in the Tour de France, the grade is higher.
Dodd said, "You will see people fall off, it will take its toll for sure."
All of that considered, the fastest riders will still climb Ochs at 25 miles per hour.
But as Dodd points out, up is only half the battle.
"Once you get on top of the mountain, Highway 157 coming down, that's a roller coaster, so they'll have to face that as well."
Before and after three grueling Lookout Mountain circuits, riders will complete a total of four downtown circuits. Down Market Street over the bridge and through UTC.
They'll cross the start finish line several times at the corner of Market and MLK.
The time trials start Saturday morning at 11. The road race starts on Monday at 9am.
Race officials say the earlier you arrive the better, and they even have an app you can download called "US Pro Tour Tracker."