May 6-7, 2017
City Park, Reading PA
Come see a free public event and best downhill racing on the East Coast.
The Duryea Downhill Mountain Bike Race was started in 2003 by Reading Racing. It was a dream come true for a small group of local riders that wanted to showcase the amazing trails of Mt. Penn in Reading, PA.
The race’s name originates from the long running Duryea Hill Climb car race that has been held on the mountain for many years. It raced a similar uphill course that was used to test each Duryea brand car built in Reading in the early 1900’s.
The Duryea Downhill quickly developed into a premier gravity event on the east coast. It gained national notoriety for being the only downhill mountain bike race that is held in an urban setting in the U.S.
Today the Duryea Downhill is the largest attended downhill race in the Country. This event attracts racers from all over North America and has also seen racers from as far as New Zealand.
Where do I park?
Lot parking is being planned near the finish line in City Park. On street parking can also be used. Many of the lots and trails on the top of the mountain, east of Skyline Drive, will also be open and accessible. You could mountain bike those trails then ride over (staying off the course!) to watch the downhill practice on Saturday and Race on Sunday.
Are there food or drinks available?
There will be several options, including a Beer Garden, in City Park. We are also considering beer and food at the “road gap”.
How close can I stand to the course?
It is acceptable to stand behind the course tape anywhere along the course. However, this is a high speed, unpredictable event. Please look up the course in case racers head in your direction. In the rare case that a racer goes off course, the tape will NOT protect you from a collision- and racers are FAST! Also, we are all in this together – please be sure to warn spectators who may not be aware a racer is about to ride near them. “RIDER UP!” is a very common saying to tell all to be aware and use caution as racers speed by. There will be course marshals throughout the course who can be contacted for questions or assistance.
Are the bikes special?
Yes! Most bikes have 8” or more of front and rear suspension travel. Many use advanced carbon fiber composite materials for high stiffness, strength and light weight. They also use very powerful hydraulic disc brakes. Some bikes may even have electronic gear shifting moved with small motors. For local bike shops or to learn more, contact our local mountain bike group, “BAMBA” http://berksmountainbiking.org/.
Can I ride the course outside of race day?
We ask that you DO NOT ride the course during the weekend of the race. However, most of the trails are open for use for the rest of the year – so you’ll have plenty of time if you want to try them. Note there are trails for all levels of experience in Reading – do not try trails that are outside of your ability!
Can I ride my mountain bike on the other “non-race” Reading trails during race weekend?
Yes! We suggest the trails on the east side of the mountain or on “Neversink”. If you get close to the race use caution not to interfere with the racing! Walk your bike, look up the course for racers, listen for warnings of riders approaching (whistles or spectators yelling “RIDER UP!”). Talk with members of BAMBA or join and meet them for a ride!
What if it rains?
Unless the race organizers feel the race will become extremely dangerous, the race will continue. In the case of changing weather; both racers and spectators will need to use extreme caution. Spectators should keep extra aware for racers who may accidentally run off course and risk collision. There will be course marshals throughout the course who can be contacted for questions or assistance.
Is there any fee for spectators?
There are no fees for spectators. Please join us!
Where are the best places to watch?
For the highest/longest jumps, the “road gap” over Duryea Drive has been a popular place for years. This year, “the airlines” just below the Pagoda will be very accessible and as good – or better – than the road gap. Many groups assemble in the woods along other sections of the course. Lastly, the finish area allows you to watch one very steep final drop and the sprint to the finish; while you are in City Park with the race teams, vendors, food/drink, etc.
How many people are racing? Are there different categories and age groups?
Racers start at the top of Mount Penn, ride next to the Pagoda (down the adjacent steps!) and race to the finish line in City Park. They each start individually, with a specific time gap between starts. Racers being passed on the course is unusual. There are several categories based on age, experience and gender. Generally the fastest categories run last in the day. And each “feature” (jump, drop-off, etc.) generally offer different paths for beginners vs professionals.
Is mountain biking common in Reading? Where do you go to learn more?
With over 20 years of trail building within the Mount Penn/Reading area, riders commonly travel for several hours just to come ride the amazing trails in Reading. There are few areas that offer so much sculpted trail diversity so close to an urban setting in the US – or the world! You can ride amazing flow trails, challenging rocky trails, fast downhills with jumps (for all levels), ride for miles without using the same trail twice, see amazing views and historic sites, then ride or drive within minutes to many local bars/restaurants with old and new friends. For more information, join our local mountain bike group, “BAMBA” http://berksmountainbiking.org/.
What is the general race schedule?
Saturday, May 6th
– Practice: 10am- 4pm
Sunday, May 7th Raceday!
– Practice: 9am – 11am
– Race start: 12 noon
– Race finish: No set time, but historically around 3pm
Where can I book a hotel?
Unfortunately hotels that were used in past years are currently booked due to industry conferences that are occurring the same weekend in the Reading area. We are working to find a new location, please check back soon or contact us to learn updates.