I’m considering the 34 Mile Snake Creek Gap in Jan. Anyone got any tips? on getting through it alive? I have seen Jeffs. Dgaddis.. etc posts on the race. However, I was looking for some tips I could use… Like best way to cross the stream? Change socks, don’t wear socks… etc.. How much water to bring vs how many checkpoints/refill stations are there..
Any info/tips you veterans have would be greatly appreciated..
The Snake is the highlight of my year. It rocks. Do it. Everyone should do it at least once. I wear my belt buckle all. the. time. I’ll hopefully earn my 3rd buckle this year. To answer your questions:
-Stream – totally depends on the weather and creek conditions. Sometimes its only a few inches deep and is an easy ride. Sometime’s it’s mid thigh deep, and aint nobody riding it. If it’s too deep to ride and really cold out, take off your socks and shoes and wade across, then you’ll have dry feet the rest of the day. If you can, shoulder the bike to keep it high and dry, it’s better for your chain, hubs, BB, etc. After the creek is a long climb, followed by a blazing fast fireroad DH. If your bike got wet in the creek, by the time you get to the top of the hill your brakes are likely frozen over, so be sure to drag them for a few seconds as soon as you start down the hill to melt off the ice. Otherwise you’ll find yourself pulling the brakes when you need them, and nothing will happen for a few seconds, which is very scary LOL.
There are two SAG stops. The first one is the halfway point (aka the start of the 17 mile race). The next is about 9 miles later. There’s a big rough DH that finishes in an old road bed with a few small creek crossings, then a gravel road climb, the 2nd SAG is at the top of that climb. At the SAG you turn off the road and back onto singletrack and head into the most technical part of the ride. The SAGs typically have water, bananas, and maybe a few cookies/fig bars.
I hate wearing a pack, but I use one at the Snake, and carry a bottle. The bottle is nice to have on the gravel road sections and means I can carry less on my back (I use a 50oz bladder), but the singletrack usually requires both hands on the bars at all times, which is why I use a pack.
-Front fenders are awesome. Not expensive, not heavy, and very effective at keeping mud out of your face and eyes. I have one that attaches under the fork crown, but I don’t use the included quick release mount – they’re fragile and break easily (I had one break on the shuttle to the start line). Instead, I drilled a few holes in the fender and ziptie it in place. Rock solid.
-Make sure your tires are in good shape. The Snake eats tires. You want to be tubeless. Fixing a flat on a pile of rocks on top of a ridgeline in the rain is no fun. Been there and done that. And that was with a tubeless tire too (tear in the tread).
-Carry a little chain lube. The singletrack is always solid since it’s so rocky, but the fire road sections of the course can be very, very nasty muddy.
-Ride over the rocks, not around. Going around is how you accidently catch the tire sidewall on a sharp edge and get a cut.
-You’ll do some walking. Keep walking until you get to a good spot to get back on, where you’ll have some room to pick up speed. Don’t try getting back on in a pile of rocks, I’ve seen several people fall over that way.
Pre-riding isn’t necessary IMO. Especially the first 17, it’s nothing special. Some big climbs and descents, tha’ts about it. Not worth putting the wear and tear on your bike IMO, especially if this weather continues. You get three runs at in during the actual races anyways haha.
I’m trying to get as much saddle time as possible lately. Saturday I went out for what I expected to be a 40ish mile road ride that turned into a 72 mile ride, 50 of it with a group pushing a pretty good clip. I was whipped by the time I got home!! Gotta do the group road rides more often, seriously great workout.