Fool's Gold 38 and 54 Mile MTB Race - Sept 14, 2024 - Registration Opens January 1, 2024!

In cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, Permit Pending

The 2024 Fool's Gold Mountain Bike Race will be returning to the beautiful Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, GA. As far as the course, expect lots of fast & flowy singletrack, some amazing singletrack descents, a sprinkle of pavement, and two major sustained climbs.

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Schedule of Events

Montaluce Winery
946 Via Montaluce
Dahlonega, GA 30533

The race begins and ends at Montaluce Winery. Please follow arrow signs to race venue area once you turn into the Montaluce property.

Friday September 13

12 pm - Camp Area Setup Available

4:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Race number and t-shirt pickup at Big White Tent near Montaluce Pool - Use address above to main entrance, then follow signs to parking and registration once on property. Social distancing rules apply.

Please Note: There is no race-day registration or distance changes. All registrations, distance changes and transfers must be completed by September 4th at 8 pm. If you have questions, changes, or need to speak with the Race Director, you will need to do so on Friday evening (or earlier via email - preferred). We will not be able to accommodate any changes on Saturday morning.

Saturday September 14

6:00 am - Parking lot opens


7:30 am - DROP BAG CUTOFF - Drop bags will leave the venue promptly at 7:30 am...if you miss the cutoff you will need to carry your drop items or rely on the aid stations for fuel. If you plan to check in on Saturday morning, I highly recommend showing up with your drop bags pre-packed so you don't miss getting them here on time. Gallon size ziplocs are fine, as are standard grocery bags - just ensure your bottles won't leak on everyone else's stuff. We will have ziploc bags for you to use.

As of right now, we are hoping to do one mass start for the 54 mile at 8 am and a separate mass start for the 38 mile at 8:30 am, but this may change depending on condtions leading up to the race.

12:00 pm to 6 pm - Post-race meal available at the finish line. These are boxed lunches from Moe's with your choice of beverage.

All racers must complete either course and be in by 7 pm to have an official finish time. There will be time cutoffs at the aid stations to ensure you can make it back by 7 pm. This gives you 11 hours to finish the race.

Awards will be presented near the finish line when the top 5 finishers in each class have crossed the finish line. Approximate timing for awards will be around 1:30 pm for the 38 mile race and 2:30 pm for the 54 mile race.

Entry Fees - BLOCK PRICING FOR 2024

54 Mile Race

$110 for first 200 participants
$120 for participant 201-300
$130 for participant 301+

38 Mile Race

$100 for first 200 participants
$110 for participant 201-300
$120 for participant 301+

August 16 is the deadline to guarantee your shirt size in the RACE design. Late registrants may receive a Mountain Goat Logo shirt if we run out of race shirts.

The online registration fee is $5 per entry.

Your entry fee for the Fool's Gold bike race includes:
-1 race entry on a killer course that will challenge you physically, mentally, and possibly emotionally (You're welcome!)
-1 premium soft and comfy race t-shirt that you'll actually want to wear
-Finisher medal
-Mesh race logo gear bag
-Free On-site Primitive Camping
-Fully stocked aid stations with calories, fluids, first aid, and mechanical support.
-Post-race Moe's Bagged Lunch and Terrapin beer for those over 21!
-Transport of up to FOUR gallon sized ziploc bags to the aid stations (ziploc bags provided at race-number pickup)
-Clearly marked course with course marshals and "wrong way" indicators at confusing intersections.
-Priceless memories of your race, especially if the weather or your preparation is less than ideal. No extra charge for character building!

On-line registration will close at 11:59 pm on September 10 or sooner if the event fills up. There is no race-day registration for this event.

On-Line Registration

2024 Fool's Gold COVID-19/Accident Waiver - Fill out and Bring to Race

2024 Registered Competitor List - CHECK YOUR CATEGORY/DISTANCE

Course Details

Both courses begin at Montaluce Winery and will have a neutral rollout for approximately 3 miles on pavement, then transition to gravel roads. The 54 mile course begins with a stout 3 mile gravel road climb. For 2023, the course will remain on the ridgeline gravel road for 6 miles all the way to Winding Stair Gap and Aid 1. A fast gravel descent then takes riders onto the singletrack of the Turner Creek Trail. From here, riders will descend back to FS 28-1, and join the 38 mile course for the remainder of the race, which includes the Jones Creek Dam Trail, Bull Mountain Trail and Loop, Jake Mountain Trail and Black Branch Trail.

The 38 mile course heads directly to the Jones Creek Dam Trail along gravel roads, giving riders the opportunity to space out. Essentially the shorter course just cuts off the first section of gravel road climbing and ridge riding, and heads directly to the singletrack loop.

Much of the singletrack is newly re-constructed and flowy, with an assortment of fast gradual climbs to short grunts. There is another 3 mile climb up Bull Mountain, and the descent on the Bull Mountain Trail is one of the best in the Southeast. This course has a good mix of all trail types and does not cater to any one particular style of rider, though fitness is rewarded due to the abundance of climbing. In terms of technical difficulty, the majority of the course is intermediate, with a few short, advanced sections throughout the course.

2024 Fool's Gold 38 Mile and 54 Mile Course Map

2024 Fools Gold 54 Mile Course Garmin Connect File

2024 Fools Gold 38 Mile Course Garmin Connect File

54 Mile GPX File

38 Mile GPX File

Bull and Jake Mountain Trail Map

Below is the Elevation profile for the 54 mile course.

Below is the Elevation profile for the 38 mile course.


Please note if you are pre-riding, the Bull and Jake Mountain Trails are Multiuse, including Hikers and Horseback Riders. You MUST YIELD to Horses and Hikers. If you encounter a horse head-on, dismount your bike and move off the trail to allow the horse to pass. Horses are prey animals and can spook easily, causing the rider to be thrown and badly injured. Keep speed under control on blind corners that you cannot see around - there may be someone else out there other than you. Please exercise trail courtesy and help provide a safe environment for all users.


A Rain Route is Required per USFS

We are required to have an alternate course that does not include singletrack trail in the event of extremely wet weather or saturated soil conditions leading up to the race. This is for preservation of our wonderful trails as well as your equipment. The "Rain Route" will be similar to our Southern Cross Course with riders leaving Montaluce and taking Hightower Church Road to FS 28-1. Riders will turn right on FS 28-1 and continue climbing FS 80 to Cooper Gap. From Cooper Gap, riders turn left and continue on FS 42 to Winding Stair Gap. From there riders will turn right and descend FS 58 to Doublehead Gap Rd. At Doublehead Gap Road, riders will turn left and continue to FS 42 at the top of a large hill. At FS 42, riders turn left and continue on FS 42 past Springer Mountain and back up to Winding Stair Gap. Once up at the Gap, they will descend down FS 77, all the way to FS 28-1. At FS 28-1, riders make a left and continue to Hightower Church Road where they turn right to head back to Montaluce.

The decision to use the rain route will be made no later than Friday September 8, however, we most likely will announce it sooner if we are required to use it.

2024 Fool's Gold Rain Route Map

If we experience heavy rain during the race, riders may be re-routed off of the singletrack and onto gravel roads to complete the course depending on the timing and severity of the rain. If this re-route occurs after some riders have already started the full course, all full course finishers will be ranked above short course finishers.

54 Mile Categories

  • Open Men (this is a "money" class)
  • 0-29 Men
  • 30-39 Men
  • 40-49 Men
  • 50-59 Men
  • 60+ Men
  • Open Women (this is a "money" class)
  • 0-39 Women
  • 40+ Women
  • Clydesdale Open (over 200 lbs)
  • Open Singlespeed

38 Mile Categories

  • Open Men (this is a "money" class)
  • 0-29 Men
  • 30-39 Men
  • 40-49 Men
  • 50-59 Men
  • 60+ Men
  • Open Women (this is a "money" class)
  • 0-49 Women
  • 50+ Women
  • Clydesdale Open (over 200 lbs)
  • Open Singlespeed

Top 3 Open Men in the 38 mile is: $150/100/100
Top 3 Open Women in the 38 mile is: $150/100/100
All other categories in the 38 mile will receive handcrafted awards and sponsor prizes for the top 3.

Top 5 Open Men in the 54 is: $250/200/150/100/100
Top 5 Open Women in the 54 is: $250/200/150/100/100
All other categories in the 54 mile will receive handcrafted awards and sponsor prizes for the top 3.

Please note that the Expert/Open Men and Expert/Open Women are the "money" classes at this event. You need to be registered in one of those categories at the start of the race to compete for the cash prizes. You need to have been assigned a gender of female at birth to race in a female category. If you are currently in a different category and would like to switch to the open class, please email before Sept 9.

Free On-Site Camping and Area Lodging Options

There is free, onsite primitive camping available at Montaluce Winery on Friday and Saturday night. If you plan to camp, you MUST RESERVE YOUR SPOT by emailing no later than Sept 2. Please include the type of camping unit...RV, Sprinter, Tent or Sleeping in car/SUV, so we can ensure we have space for you. No ground fires are allowed so bring a camp stove if you plan to cook. NOTE THIS IS PRIMITIVE CAMPING - THERE IS NO WATER, DUMPSTER, ELECTRICITY, or OTHER HOOKUPS. THERE WILL BE PORTA-POTTIES ON SITE.

Those camping in a tent or sleeping in their car will be able to camp in a nice, level grass field along the Etowah River. This is about 3/4 of a mile from the start/finish. Due to space constraints, no trailers or anything larger than a sprinter van will be allowed in this area. Those camping in small RV's or pop-ups will be able to set up in one of the cul-de-sacs near the start/finish, also a mostly level area with plenty of room to spread out, as well as a porta-potty. If you have a large travel trailer or Class A rig, you will likely need to camp in our overflow area, which can accomodate longer vehicles. We will utitlize the same camping setup that was used in prior years.

The closest campground with amenities is Etowah River Campground: 706-864-9035. Etowah River Campground is 2 miles from the race venue on quiet, back roads. There is also free primitive camping within the National Forest.

For those looking for lodging in Dahlonega, the closest lodging is the Mountain Top Lodge: 706-864-5257. The Mountain Top Lodge is 4.8 miles from the race venue and offers a Bed and Breakfast atmosphere. Rooms range from $109 to $175 depending on amenities. Please note they do not allow pets or children under 10. This is a small, quiet establishment with only 12 rooms so book early. Please let them know you are with the Fools Gold Mountain Bike Race. You can ride to the race venue from here via quiet country roads.

The Holiday Inn Express is one of the nicer hotels in town and offers standard hotel rooms with breakfast: 706-867-7777.

If you have a group coming, you can check websites such as AirBnb and VRBO for rental houses by searching "Dahlonega, GA". There are four villas available for rent on the Montaluce Property for larger groups.

Dahlonega Hideaway Havens offers 5 nearby cabin rental options.

For other lodging options including B&Bs and hotels see

Bike Shop Support

The closest bike shop is Nimblewheels Bicycles in downtown Dahlonega, GA. If you are coming to the race and need mechanical assistance on Friday, they will be available to help at their shop - please call and give them a heads up if you have a more complicated issue so they can ensure they have the right parts, etc. They will also be at the Hightower Gap Aid Station on Saturday during the race to offer neutral mechanical support.

Nimblewheels Bicycles
582 North Grove St., Suite A
DAHLONEGA, Georgia 30533

Sunday and Monday Closed
Tuesday through Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

T-shirts, Swag, and Finisher Awards

All racers will receive a super comfy cotton tri blend tee, commemorative swag item, and finisher award. The shirts are soft, lightweight and are likely soon to be your favorite. This year, we will be offering both men's and ladies cuts on the shirts. The ladies shirts are narrower/fitted, and slightly longer. Unisex/Men's shirts fit true to size, order up if you want a relaxed fit. The deadline to guarantee your shirt size is August 23. If you register after August 23 limited sizes may be available or you will receive a Mountain Goat Logo Shirt if we run out of event specific shirts.

2024 Shirt Design (black shirt)

Aid Stations

38 mile race - You can send up to 2 gallon-sized drop bags out to the aid stations at mile 23 and 31. (There are 2 aid station locations, 3 aid opportunities). No 38 mile drop bags at aid station #1 (12 miles). Bring your own or we will have ziplocs that you can label and use. The better labeled it is with your race number, the quicker the volunteers can find your bag for you at the aid stations. If you just have bottles, they do not need to be bagged but ensure that they have your number on them and they do not leak. CUTOFF FOR DROP BAGS IS 7:30 AM ON SATURDAY MORNING

54 mile race - You can send up to 4 gallon-sized drop bags out to the aid stations at mile 18, 27, 39 and 47. (There are 3 aid station locations, 4 aid opportunities). Bring your own or we will have ziplocs that you can label and use. The better labeled it is with your race number, the quicker the volunteers can find your bag for you at the aid stations. If you just have bottles, they do not need to be bagged but ensure that they have your number on them and they do not leak. CUTOFF FOR DROP BAGS IS 7:30 AM ON SATURDAY MORNING

The cutoff to BEGIN the climb up Bull Mountain (Mile 27) is 2 pm. This is to ensure you make it in by 7 pm. If you ignore volunteer instructions and choose to continue up Bull Mountain after 2 pm, YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED AND YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. The aid stations will likely be packed up by the time you reach them. Please be courteous to our aid station volunteers and race staff - our cutoffs are very generous given reasonable circumstances. If you are not sure if you can make the 2 pm cutoff, please consider registering for the 38 mile course instead.

Additional Meals and Event Shirts

Extra meals and event shirts for spectators need to be purchased in advance - Meals are $12 and Shirts are $20 - please email to order. No on-site meal purchases.

Fool's Gold Mountain Bike Race Operational Changes for COVID-19 (Updated 12/1/23)

• Health screening questionnaire for all event volunteers and staff per CDC recommendations. Participation for those recently testing positive for COVID-19 based on current CDC quarantine recommendations.
• Masks are not required for any aspects of this event, as all activities are outdoors.
• Waivers should be printed and signed at home and brought to the race. Hand sanitizer available under the tent for event staff and participants checking in.
• Post-race meal will be a boxed lunch to reduce contact and minimize time standing in line under the tent.
• Some participants/volunteers may choose to wear a mask or maybe they just want to maintain some personal space. Please be respectful and continue to practice social distancing with those individuals.
• Condensed pre-race group meeting. A participant Update will be emailed to participants ahead of time, which goes over all details of the event.
* Aid Stations will offer mainly pre-packaged snacks and drop bags are still self-service. Aid station crews will pour water into bottles from pitchers but will not touch your bottles/gear. Hand sanitizer will be available at the aid stations.
• As of right now, we are hoping to do one mass start for the 50 mile and a separate mass start for the 30 mile junior race.
• Results will be posted at so that participants can view the results immediately via phone and via tablets at a results station we will set up.
• Portable Restrooms and handwash stations will be available at start/finish area.
• Awards will be held in a large outdoor open area.

Cancellations and Transfers

No Rider Transfers or category/distance changes after 9/2/24 - ENTRIES DO NOT TRANSFER YEAR TO YEAR OR TO OTHER EVENTS.

Please note EVENT ENTRIES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE once you register, as we plan for your attendance by purchasing your race shirt and swag, meals, insurance, etc and most other costs associated with your entry need to be paid up front. No refunds will be given in the event of an act of God or event beyond the control of the Race Organization (i.e. new COVID regulations) that requires cancellation of the race for the saftey of participants. If the event is rescheduled all entries will be transferred to the reschedule date.

No Refunds or Transfers will be issued due to needing to use the all-gravel "Rain Route", as this is completely out of our control and we have to abide by the rules the USFS sets for us.

We do, however, understand that injuries happen, you got sick or life was just too chaotic to train for one of our events so we have a no-penalty transfer policy. You may transfer your entry to another racer in the SAME EVENT without penalty until September 2, 2024. You are responsible for finding a person interested in buying your entry and working out payment with them. Entries do not transfer to other events nor do they transfer year to year. If you would like to sell your entry to another racer, please contact with the name and email of the person you wish to transfer your entry to no later than Sept 2. If the event sells out and you plan to buy an entry from someone, ALWAYS CONFIRM with me first that the person actually has a legit entry. Scammers have unfortunately been hitting events claiming they have entries or "tickets" when they actually do not.

The race will run rain or shine, however, the Race Director reserves the right to cancel or modify segments of the event as deemed necessary for participant safety or preservation of trail. Once the race has started, no refunds will be given due to delayed start or early conclusion of the race.