Nestled in Rabun County, the ride starts in downtown Clayton
Georgia under the shadow of Black Rock Mt. state park, and heads south on old
441. After passing Tiger Mountain Vineyard, the course takes a right on Bridge
Creek Rd. at the town of Tiger. When sharp topped Tiger Mountain comes into view
on the right, the first timed section is near. At mile 5.5, the course climbs
455ft to mile 8 on the ridge of Glassy Mountain. The next 23 miles roll over
small mountains, through picturesque farmland, and past mountain lakes.
After passing through Unicoi State Park,
the route turns right onto the Unicoi Gap climb. Riders enter the mountainous
area that was made famous by the 2003-2008 Tour de
Georgia. In 2008, Unicoi Gap was the second to last climb on the approach to
the race-deciding ascent up Brasstown
Bald where Kanstantin Suitsou got the jump on Trent Lowe and Levi Leipheimer
to win the event. Riders second time section will take place here over 7 miles
and climb 1500ft to the top of Unicoi Gap. The climb is very gradual for several
miles, before turning into a real alpine ascent. Enjoy the vistas of the Chattahoochee National Forest on the descent before turning
left and climbing up and over Jacks Gap.
A left turn on Richard Russell Scenic Hwy will put riders face to face with
the last timed section, Hogpen gap. Within 6.5 miles and another 1500ft, riders
will reach the highest point on the course at 3469ft with ramps of 12%. The
views at the top of the surrounding peaks are breathtaking. Check your speed and
be careful on the descent as there are many sharp turns. Enjoy the ride through
the forest knowing that the hardest climbing is behind you.
The town of Helen will be your next landmark. Here, in 1969, local business
owners collaborated to create what is now called Bavaria in the Appalachians.
Just outside of Helen on the route is the Nacoochee Indian Mound, the center of
the ancient Cherokee town of Gauxule, visited by Desoto in his search for gold.
The next 16 miles will take you through rolling farmland and mountain vistas.
Around mile 90, riders will enter the land of the lakes, as they cruise the
rollercoaster of asphalt along Lake Seed and Lake Rabun. At the town of
Lakemont, the course again joins old Hwy 441 and returns 8 miles to the finish
and the festivities in downtown Clayton.