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Combining some of the best high altitude cycling on the east coast with gorgeous deep woods gravel grinding - along with a riverside finish and a 90-foot waterfall! - Tellico Highlands offers the complete Southern Blue Ridge Mountains experience in 90 miles and 11,000 feet of climbing!

DETAILS

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PURPOSE

To be clear, all of the routes we offer at Tennessee Gravel are free, just as there is no charge to ride in the national forest. With our time trial series, we are simply taking a few of our hardest routes and turning them into an organized challenge that we hope adds a little more fun and inspiration (and perspiration!) to the experience of riding in the woods. There's still no charge to ride these particular routes. The registration fee for each of the time trials covers our costs in providing the structure for the challenges (website, leaderboards, etc.), the rewards for taking on the challenges (t-shirts, patches, etc.), and putting on the annual fall invitational event. Any money leftover goes back into our efforts to promote bikepacking and cycling adventure in the beautiful Southern Blue Ridge Mountains! Click here for more info about the Three Rivers Time Trial Series.

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WHAT

Tellico Highlands is an individual time trial (a timed solo ride) on some of the most beautiful roads in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. While the route is a significant challenge (90 miles with 11,000 feet of climbing), those cyclists who take it on will be rewarded with stunning vistas, mountain streams, riverside rambles, and a 90-foot waterfall!

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WHEN

As an individual time trial, you're free to ride whenever you want. Just make sure you've registered with us prior to the ride so that we can track you on our ITT Leaderboard and reward you for your effort!

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HOW MUCH

PLEASE NOTE: We are currently waiving the ITT registration fee while our 2021 permit with the National Forest Service is being processed.

Riding the route is free anytime, but if you want to get on the official ITT Leaderboard, you will need to register for $40. Everyone who registers will also receive the most up-to-date route map, a Tellico Highlands t-shirt, and a Tellico Highlands patch (assuming you finish). Your registration fee also counts towards the Fall Invitational race (and special awards!) that we'll hold the first Saturday in November for the top 50 finishers of each of our ITTs.

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PARKING

The route starts and ends at Oosterneck Overlook. There is no fee to park there, but there are also no facilities. It is simply a pullout at the base of the Cherohala Skyway. If you're looking for a bathroom, stop at the Cherohala Skyway Visitors Center or the Cherohala Market in Tellico Plains.

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COURSE VERIFICATION

There are two ways to have your ITT verified for placement on the ITT Leaderboard. You can submit a Strava file to us after the ride or you can set up tracking with Trackleaders.com which will allow your friends and family to watch your progress "live" during your ride. Please contact Trackleaders at least a week prior to your intended ride date. (Allow more time if you need to rent a "Spot" tracking device from them.)

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SUPPORT & WAYFINDING

Tellico Highlands is a self-supported individual time trial. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the route prior to attempting the ride and that you prepare a nutrition & hydration plan. Please note that there is almost no signage on the route. We will provide you with the most up-to-date route map after you register for your use during the ride.

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BIKE CHOICE

Tellico Highlands can be ridden with either a gravel bike or a hardtail mountain bike. The route includes some paved sections, but it also has some rough patches. Check out our Tellico Highlands Bike Gallery to see bikes that have been used for the challenge by past riders.

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FALL INVITATIONAL

Everyone who registers and completes the time trial will be placed on the official ITT Leaderboard showing completion times. The top 50 finishers on the Leaderboard of each of our ITTs as of midnight June 30, 2021, will qualify for a special invitational race the first Saturday in November on a course that won't be revealed until the morning of the race!

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CHAMPIONS BELT BUCKLE

The rider with the fastest time at the end of each season (July 1st thru June 30th) will be rewarded with a custom Tellico Highlands Champions Belt Buckle!

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THE ITT SERIES

The Three Rivers ITT Series is comprised of the Dirty 130, Death March Revival, and Tellico Highlands individual time trials. In addition to rewards for completing each ITT, we also have prizes for riding all three! Click here for all the details!

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SOCIAL

Stay up to date on who's attempting the ITT, course conditions, and other Tellico Highlands news by liking our Facebook page!

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BIKEPACKING

If you're not interested in racing the course, Tellico Highlands also makes for a beautiful bikepackiing adventure! Click here for the bikepacking route map with Points of Interest noted.

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RIDE REPORTS

To a get a sense of what it's like to ride Tellico Highlands, check out all the firsthand accounts on our Ride Reports page!

ITT LEADERBOARD

Current Standings

  1. Chris Joice 5/22/21: 7h-25m (singlespeed) (fastest known time)
  2. Jeramie Hoff 5/22/21: 7h-26m
  3. Randy Dial 5/01/21: 7h-51m
  4. Travis Jolly 5/24/21: 7h-56m (singlespeed)
  5. Bruce Stauffer 4/17/21: 7h-58m
  6. Austin Schreiner 4/20/21: 8h-01m
  7. Benny Birau 5/29/21: 8h-01m*
  8. Blake Adams 5/15/21: 8h-15m
  9. PJ Terry 5/29/21: 8h-15m*
  10. Nicholas Breaux 5/29/21: 8h-17m*
  11. Elizabeth McCalley 5/02/21: 8h-21m (fastest known women’s time)
  12. Carey Lowery 5/29/21: 9h-30m*
  13. John Switow 5/29/21: 9h-49m*
  14. John Robertson 5/10/21: 9h-57m
  15. Will Enochs 6/05/21: 11h-28m
  16. Chris Coney 5/01/21: 12h-12m

* A reroute was required for these riders due to unexpected construction on a section of the route.

Additional times from riders already on the Leaderboard:

  • Jeramie Hoff 5/01/21: 7h-52m
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RULES

Individual Time Trials are all about self-sufficiency and a level playing field. To be eligible for a recorded time and placement on the Leaderboard, you must abide by the following rules:

1. You must take a picture of your bike computer right before you start and right after you finish. The pictures need to show the time of day and the mileage.

2. The route must be ridden in one unbroken stage.

3. No drafting at any time.

4. No stashed caches along the route.

5. No sharing supplies between riders.

6. No outside assistance with navigation.

7. No motorized transport or hitch-hiking. You must complete the route under your own power.

8. You are allowed to leave the official route at any time as long as you return to the route within 100 feet of the point that you left the route.

9. No support crews. You can only receive support from local businesses on-site during their normal business hours.

10. You must have a contingency plan in place before you start the ride in case of emergency or if you need to quit. You are responsible for your own safety and well-being out there.

TRAIL MAGIC: Trail Magic is an unexpected occurrence that lifts a rider's spirits and inspires awe and gratitude. During an ITT, obtaining an item from another person can only be unsolicited and accidental, otherwise, the receipt of assistance or supplies by individuals when it's not available to all riders reflects a lack of self sufficiency which renders an effort not self-supported. In short, you can't ask for Trail Magic. You can only pray for it!

REGISTRATION

We are currently waiving the ITT registration fee while our 2021 permit with the National Forest Service is being processed.

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John Robertson - Giant TCX
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Austin Schreiner
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