Doggett Mountain Challenge
Saturday, July 8, 2017 – Start time: 7:30 AM
This course is one of the toughest you will find east of the Rockies and should not be attempted by inexperienced mountain riders!
The course leaves from Mars Hill and offers rolling hills for the first twenty miles, climbing a total of 2200 feet by mile 20. Then as you roll through the valley in Sandy Mush you will see Doggett Mountain looming in front of you. With an average grade of 7%, the base of the climb is the hardest; then after mile two the grade lessens and you get into a good rhythm to the top. At the top there will be plenty of food and drink to recover! Next is an awesome descent into Spring Creek with great roads all the way to Hot Springs. This is one of the fastest portions of the course, alongside Spring Creek. Once in Hot Springs check out the stores and beware of both the pedestrians attending the Wild Goose Festival and the rail-road tracks!
As you leave Hot Springs there is a three-mile climb that intersects the Appalachian Trail at the top, and offers a spectacular view in either direction. The third rest stop is just beyond the crest. After the descent, the course goes through Shelton Laurel (with rest stop #4 at the fire department) and slowly climbs to the base of Devils Fork. Then comes a two-mile climb, with one 1/8-mile section attaining a 15% grade! The fifth rest stop is just below the top, just before you cross into Tennessee and descend to Flag Pond.
Once in Flag Pond, there is a steep climb back up to 4,000 feet to Sams Gap and into North Carolina (and the final rest stop). After a screaming descent comes one last climb over Murray Mountain with another screaming descent bringing us back to Mars Hill. After over 10,000 feet of total elevation gain you’ll be happy to see the finish line. Showers will be available for men and women.