Georgia International Horse Park: Site of 1996 Olympics MTB

This weekend mudhunny and I rode at the Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) trails in Conyers, GA (ya know, the 1996 Olympic mountain bike course) and had a blast. The trails weren’t what I expected at all but I’m glad we made it out.

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When we arrived Sunday morning we were surprised to see that the parking area was fairly busy. It turns out there was some kind of cyclocross clinic happening and the trails themselves were actually pretty deserted. Riders have to purchase a permit to use the trails and at 5 bucks a person it ain’t cheap. I mean, this is mountain biking after all, not golf and the GIHP is no country club. Makes a singletracks annual subscription seem like a bargain 😉

After paying $10 for the two of us to ride we at least expected to see evidence of recent trail maintenance but instead we found patchy “skid holes” on the steep descents and poor signage at the trailhead area. There were no maps (posted or otherwise) and we got horribly lost (along with another group of riders) trying to find the trails on the other side of the parkway. The GIHP is a great place to hold races and 24 hour events so the trails do get abused a bit but I’d suggest taxing the race organizers (and ultimately event participants) rather than small groups of weekend riders like us.

Aside from the management of the trail I gotta say this place rocks (literally). The trails were much more challenging than I imagined they would be but that shouldn’t be surprising since they were the site of the 1996 Olympic mountain bike competition. Steep climbs and off-camber granite descents make this a challenging course even for the world’s best mountain bikers. For those of you keeping track it’s also the setting for the heart pounding final race in 24 Solo. Yep, these trails are on hallowed ground and you can almost feel the pain radiating from the granite under tire.

GIHP is just one of those places you gotta ride at least once to see what it’s about. There’s really nothing like it in the state and I’d venture to say it’s pretty unique to the entire east coast. If you have a singletracks subscription and decide to head out at least you’ll be prepared with a map!

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