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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little schooling for those who didn't know...

The Thursday night races at Belmont have been a Philly MTB tradition since 1989 (that's 18 seasons this summer!) and maybe even before that. Back then, we raced around on mostly the double-track gravel fire-roads (used by the high school running teams) and there was only one single track section (which was called, believe it or not, "the singletrack"). The early 90's saw probably the biggest crowds, with a regular crew of 40 to 70 riders, including around half a dozen women. True, there were prizes regularly handed out to the top finishers in beginner, sport, expert, and womens classes, generously supplied by area shops. True, also, that it was quite a party back then, with a guy named Sandy Sandborn, among others, bringing in a good amount of beer and keeping the fun going til well past dark. Many of the fastest racers in the region showed up then, as is still the case now. And, though it was always just a "fun" race, the competition could be pretty serious (and seriously fun!).

Things have changed a lot over the years. As most of you know, the gravel fire-roads are a small part of what we ride there now. The hard work of a few diligent individuals has resulted in an amazing assortment of trails. If you know where to go, you can put in a solid hour or two without using the same trail twice. The fact that the area is still mostly ignored by the city and other park users makes it all the sweeter (if you don't mind the occasional ATV or "transaction" taking place back in the woods) especially when compared to the crowded Wissahickon. And if you ask nice, there's still some beer to be found ;)

If you're coming out this spring for the first time, races generally start after Daylight Savings kicks in (or out). Things usually get underway around 6:15 to 6:30 (or earlier until there's more daylight). Races generally last around an hour, but you can jump in or get out at any time. And remember, the emphasis is on fun. You don't need to be an expert racer to join in - every level of rider shows up.

To get there...From West River Drive (now Martin Luther King Dr.?) take Montgomery Ave. up the hill. Go under I-76 and past the on/off ramps. As you come up the hill, take the first right turn off into a parking lot. Instead of entering the parking lot, keep turning right onto the road that continues out across the field. At the end of that paved road is where people meet - you'll see them gathering under the tree midway up the grass hill.

Hope to see everyone there.

phromm
 

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cool

Im seriously considering making it a weekly event for myself this year. I remember last year i would catch the bottom end of the hour but it was still lots of fun following everyone around the newly laid out course. Surprisingly, I think it was the fastest I've ever ridden belmont. Im building a singlespeed and would love to use that as an excuse to race with you guys.
18 seasons, thats awsome guys and gals. Keep it up. Hopefully I can contribute to riding one of those seasons this year.
I'll assume that the races will start (or have already started) this thursday?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
it's not just for single speeds

The trails at Belmont are fairly well suited to singlespeeders, but a lightweight fs bike is just as competitive. And, there are some fairly steep climbs that favor having some gears.

phromm
 

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i do enjoy the races but i'm only good for one lap :) . to let you know the type of folk that are in attendance: i brought my daughter with me one time last summer and everyone was very supportive of her being on the course. and noone had any thing negative to say when we were in the way. great folk these mountain bikers are, great folk.
 

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A buddy of mine and I are going to come out for this tonight for the first time. Anyone else heading out? Linkup you still going?
 

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great trails, nice work!

I stopped in Philly last night after work and rode the trails at Belmont, what a blast! I haven't been there since I lived in the city. I rode from the tree and did about an hour and a half, rode some trails a few times but they are so tight and fun that I hardly noticed. Whoever has been doing trail work there has done an amazing job. The trails were all nice and narrow, in good shape, and the new bridges were really well built. They have really packed the trails in and made great use out of such a small place. I can't make the race tonight, if it's going off, but would highly reccommend it. Much fun. Thanks for all your hard work, whoever it is.
 

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i'll be there tonight, not racing, with my big new full-squishie. if your racing i guarantee you wont see me (i'll be so far behind) but look for me afterwords drinking beer aboard a big blue heckler... :D

my hand is still too busted up to ride unsuspended or fast... :rolleyes:
 

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I "raced" there last week. Ride got started more towards 6:30. I'd get there by 6 though as last Thursday was my first time, and that might not be when they start every evening. The loop was about 20 minutes depending on how you ride and you could ride it as often, or not, as you want.

I'm probably going tonight. I will emerge from the woods after everyone else is done, and Max-a-Mil is starting his second beer. I ride a Black Ellsworth Isis, and if Big Keith is a poser I'm frightened to know what that makes me.

Give a shout if you are there ( or leave a note if I'm still riding )

Baker.
 
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