Dahlonega already has lost some of its biggest events of 2020, including the Bear in the Square and Swine and Wine festivals, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The bike rides remain scheduled, and to protect health, riders must wear masks at the start and at rest stops.
As riders spread out, they may remove masks.
Six Gap Century, Three Gap Fifty & Valley Ride
- Event: Six Gap Century, Three Gap Fifty, Valley Ride, Bike Expo
- Place: Dahlonega-Lumpkin County High School, Dahlonega, Georgia
- Dates: Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (Bike Expo); Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 (rides)
- Start Times: Saturday: 9 a.m., Bike Expo; Sunday: 7:30 a.m., Six Gap Century; 8:30 a.m., Three Gap Fifty and Valley Ride
- Cost: Entry fee is $76, any ride. Online registration closes Sept. 20, 2020. Entries are limited to 2,500 cyclists.
- More information: Webpage
The Six Gap Century and a shorter Three Gap Fifty, traditionally the biggest fall bicycle rides, will roll Sunday, Sept. 27. The rides start and finish in Dahlonega, GA, just a 1 hour drive from our resort. Crossing Creeks is an ideal place for RVers who are spectators or ride participants to stay comfortably before, during and after the event.
Activities begin with a Bike Expo at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Dahlonega-Lumpkin County High School. Several retailers will display bikes, attire, accessories and nutritional supplements. With bicycles in short supply internationally, the expo is a good place to check out potential new rides. The Six Gap Century gets its name from the half-dozen mountain gaps that the route encompasses in North Georgia. Between the start and finish are 104 miles of mountain roads with more than 11,000 feet of road that climbs. The route runs within 10 miles of Blairsville. The Three Gap Fifty covers 58 miles of roads with a demanding 6,385 feet of climbing roads.
The Valley Ride over country roads on Sunday is a gentler excursion. Registration includes a tee shirt and a spaghetti dinner, plus drinks and food at the rest stops.
The North Georgia Mountains make the Century and Fifty events grueling for even the fittest cyclists. Many of the climbs were part of the Tour de Georgia professional stage ride held from 2003 to 2008. The Century route traverses Neels, Wolfpen, Jack’s, Unicoi, Hogpen and Woody gaps. The Three Gap Fifty is a bit over half the distance, at 58 miles, but don’t think it’s lacking in physical challenge. The Fifty includes Neels, Wolf Pen and Woody gaps.
The 11.8-mile Wolf Pen Gap Road, on both routes, is considered the most twisting road in Georgia. Hogpen Gap, on the Century route, averages a 7 percent grade for 7 miles. If you think that could challenge your RV’s transmission or cooling system, imagine pedaling it. The Hogpen Gap portion along Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is as steep as 15 percent.
Century riders will cross the Appalachian Trail three times.
The 35-mile Valley Ride on Sunday, Sept. 20, glides over undulating country roads to Turner’s Corner and back to Dahlonega.
Proceeds from the weekend are an important funding source for the sponsor, the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. The Chamber stages events year round in Dahlonega.
Fools Gold Races
- Event: Fools Gold Bike Races at Montaluce Winery
- Place: Dahlonega, Georgia, Bull/Jack Mountain
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020
- Start time: 7:40-8:15 a.m. (staggered)
- Cost: Participant entries are closed for this year’s event; spectators, no charge
- More information: Webpage for spectator instructions and map
Dahlonega is also the site of the Fools Gold Races on Sept. 12. These timed races over Bull/Jake Mountain are for skilled, well-trained mountain bike riders. The races are based at sponsor Montaluce Winery.
Mountain biking site SingleTracks.com says the route has “lots of fast and flowy singletrack, some amazing singletrack descents, a sprinkle of pavement, and two major sustained climbs.”
Participant reservations for this year’s event are sold out.
Spectators are encouraged to watch from the Montaluce Winery grounds.
Twin Rivers Challenge
- Event: Twin Rivers Challenge bicycle rides
- Place: Tallulah Falls School, 201 Campus Drive, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020
- Ride time: 9 a.m.
- Registration costs: Online by Oct. 8, $30 per youth, $35 per adult; prices increase after that date.
- More information: Webpage
The Twin Rivers Challenge is a day of bike rides that attracts cyclists from across the southeast U.S. The rides will roll in and around Tallulah Falls, Georgia, on Oct. 24 with leaves at their peak.
The private Tallulah Falls School for grades 5-12 stages the rides annually to raise scholarship funds. In five years the school has generated more than $230,000 through its bike weekends. More than 70 percent of students at the school receive at least some scholarship money.
There are three routes: 33, 45 or 70 miles. Registrations made online through Oct. 8 guarantee each rider a T-shirt and post-race meal; adult riders are $35 and youth riders are $30. Fees after that date increase $10 per adult and $5 per youth.
The rides begin and end on the Tallulah Falls School campus. Climbs approach 9 percent and descents near 8 percent. The route gains up to 2,932 feet in elevation. Three stops support cyclists.