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a little ride through the north georgia mountains

things are slow in the world of cycling these days.  so am i.  so why not take this opportunity to talk about my cycling.  this past weekend, mr. rogers, some friends, and i went for a ride near dahlonega (the site of the us's first gold rush, take that cali, and once the capital of this state).  this is the part of georgia that the tour de georgia used for its mountain stages.  local riders refer to it as 'the gaps'.  there's a yearly six gap century up there, as well as some great mountain biking (bull mountain...), some good camping, and the start of the appalachian trail.  we rode what is known as the little 3 gaps, in the non-traditional direction.  i brought my crappy camera and took some horrible pictures for you to enjoy.  

and Willj, please don't make fun of the size of my mountains.

here's the gps file, if you are interested.  and here we go.

the ride starts just north of dahlonega on highway 60 at stone pile gap.  not much of a gap, but it does have a stone pile.  i guess i could have taken a picture of that.  people like rocks around here.   5200125948_1b4205b581_medium

anyway, we made our way up woody gap to suches.  the climb is a great warm up.  it's probably around 4-5% for several miles.  the views are pretty nice:

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if photographed properly that is.  it's a ton of fun going the other way, as you get a nice downhill that you can still pedal down as the last thing you do before getting back to your car.  at the top, you cross the appalachian trail.   5199534051_b0b834a1d5_medium

tons of people were hiking that day.  one of us said "man, i'm glad i'm not hiking today" to which a hiker replied "man, i'm glad i'm not riding up mountains today."  once you crest the hill, you ride into a little town called suches, make a right onto 180 and make your way up towards wolfpen gap through a nice little valley.   5200116764_c18eb86386_medium

you come across plenty of other cyclists, as well as motorcycles and sports cars (a group of old porsches that day). 5200117148_66a63b59ff_medium

the road keeps going up.

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until you get to the top, as you might have guessed.

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the downhill is a blast.  tons of tight turns, switchbacks...  the kind of road you'd rather not have to climb.  at the bottom you get to vogel state park, and start making your way up neel's gap.  there's a nice little waterfall on the right:

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which does very little to take the hurt out of the legs.

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at the top, there's a little store for the appalachian hikers.

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as well as a little bit of bloody history.

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the downhill of neel's gap is fast, tight turns intermixed with straight sections where you can really hammer.  once at the bottom, turn right at turner's corner (a beautiful rv camping park) and ride some nice rollers back to stone pile.

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if done correctly, you should be pretty pleased with your day at that point.

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maybe i'll show you big 3 gap later this winter.  

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