Update: The Dade County Sheriff's Department said the 2016 3
State 3 Mountain ride went off smoothly, with no complaints or
accidents reported. This file shot is from 2013, a disastrous year
for 3 State 3-Mountain. Torrential rains contributed to a serious
accident on Sand Mountain and a fatality across the border in
The 3-State 3-Mountain Challenge, Chattanooga Bicycle Club’s yearly 100-mile serious-cyclists-only marathon, will roar up and down Dade’s mountains on Saturday. Dade County District Commissioner Scottie Pittman says the county is ready.
“We can put up with one day of congested traffic,” he said.
Pittman, who represents District 2, the Sand Mountain area, was speaking at the Thursday night meeting of the Dade County Commission in place of Commissioner Mitchell Smith, who was unable to attend, but in whose District 1 the bike event culminates with a near-vertical ascent of Lookout Mountain on Burkhalter Gap Road.
The ride also encompasses Sand Mountain but has caused less
friction among residents there.
West Brow homeowners, on the other hand , who depend on Burkhalter Gap for access to the valley, have in past years made their displeasure manifestly heard, to the point that proposals have been made to reroute the event off the narrow county road altogether.
Pittman told the other commissioners and the audience that that wasn’t feasible. “That’s the big draw, Burkhalter Gap,” he said. “People come from all over the world.”
In 2012's event, two cyclists were struck by a vehicle on Sand Mountain, one requiring medical attention. But 2013 was the disaster year for 3 State 3 Mountain. The event was held as usual despite ceaseless, torrential rains that blinded riders and drivers and made road surfaces hazardous. One rider was killed in Tennessee and one critically injured in Dade, on Sand Mountain. Subsequent years' rides have been less eventful.
Pittman said the Dade Sheriff's Department planned to close one lane of Burkhalter and escort motorists up and down the other as usual this year. He and the other commissioners warned citizens to watch for cyclists on Saturday and in fact next weekend as well, when another annual event, a mega-yard-sale, will also complicate traffic.
On the bright side, weather for Saturday is predicted to be sunny with a high of 83.
High of 83 sunny