The Snake Creek Gap 6 Mountain Time Trials
Snake Creek runs out of a mountain gap in North Georgia. The gap is famous for being the pass that Sherman snuck his army through on his way to the final battles of the American Civil War. This gap is now becoming known for battles of a different kind. Each year in January and February, the Northwest Georgia Chapter of IMBA/SORBA holds a time trial series through this gap. The 2021 dates were Jan 2 and Feb 6. This event started off in 2005 with about 50 riders. It has grown to over 300 riders.
Why would people come in these numbers to Dalton Georgia in the middle of the winter from 15 states and Canada to ride mountain bikes? This race is put on by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We know what we like and try to give the best we can to our riders. The series is held on the IMBA Epic Georgia Pinhoti Trail with three distance options: 17 , 34 or 50 miles. All are point to point. The 17 milers start at the halfway point of the 34 mile distance which is right in the middle of Snake Creek Gap. There are 2 mountains in the first 17 mile segment and 4 in the second part of the route.
The course gets progressively more technical over the last 8 miles on Hurricane Mountain and Dug Gap Mountain. The trail runs right on the razor back edge of these mountains with views off both sides. It is beautiful but you better not take time to enjoy the view. The riders are racing to the finish line at the North Georgia Trade and Convention Center, a stones throw of I-75 at Exit 333 in Dalton. This is where they registered and left their cars.
The riders and their bikes are shuttled to their starting lines. It is an awesome sight to see 300 bikes loaded on trailers and trucks. The riders are taken in buses, vans and cars. It looks like a big mountain bike parade when they roll out of the parking lot. They are started and timed individually in true time trial format. The times are kept for the 2 events and your best time counts. The entry fee is for the series. It is your choice how many times you ride it. We run it in some pretty harsh conditions. In 17 years we have postponed only 1 race due to weather. The weather down here can be anywhere from 20 to 65 degrees. The awards are given out at the big party after the February run. A good time is had by all.
Money raised from the event goes to support mountain biking in Northwest Georgia. The local Boys & Girls Club helped us in the past with the shuttle buses and we help them with their mountain bike program. Pedal Up has been working with them to expand the mountain bike program. Our current focus is on the new Buzzard’s Roost Trail System in Rocky Face.
Here are the results from Snake 2021. Watch the pictures scroll across the top of the page and see what we are about.
By Rick Moon