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 2019 dates are Jan 5 and Feb 9.
This event started off in 2005 with about 50 riders. It has grown to over 400 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. Both 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 mountains in the second segment.
The course gets progressively more technical over the last 8 miles on Hurricane Mt. and Rocky Face Ridge. 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 12 years, we have never called it 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’ and Girls’ Club helps us with the shuttle buses and we help them with their mountain bike program. They have 50 mountain bikes and a trailer to haul them.
You can see the results of this year’s event on nwgasorba.org. Watch the pictures scroll across the top of the home page and see what we are about.
By Rick Moon
Meet the Team
These folks are members of the Snake Race Committee. They work long hours prepping for this epic event. The Snake was created to promote the Pinhoti Trail System, support mountain biking and trail advocacy. Thank you Snake Team for your efforts!
Register for this epic race, The Snake 2019!