You're going to keep looking at the creek, thinking about pulling over, stopping, dipping a toe or your head into its coolness. Don't do it--unless you don't care if you take way more than the 40 minutes most cyclists need to climb this steady burner; once you're in that bubbling water, it's tough to stick your feet back into blistering bike shoes, warn the locals. The fastest unofficial time, by the way, is 23:30.
Whatever your time, you're just getting started. Suck Creek Mountain Road climbs to 2,050 feet, but it's also the pathway to the Sequatchie Valley, Sequatchie Mountain, Pitts Gap and Daus Mountain. There's also the 3-State 3-Mountain Challenge century, which meanders through Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, while scaling Suck Creek (the tallest of the three), Sand and Lookout Mountains.
Finish the day unwinding on downtown Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge, a walking bridge across the Tennessee River, and a visit to the Big River Brewery.
LOCALS SAY: Everything you hear is true--there are 10 climbs with an elevation gain of around 1,500 feet within 10 miles of downtown Chattanooga.
FIND IT: Take Signal Mountain Boulevard to the base of the mountain. Turn left onto Suck Creek Road and follow the signs to Jasper and Whitwell.
DON'T MISS: The Sequatchie Valley Century has a metric option for the slope-phobic.
--Mapped by Steve Strain