Unofficially deemed the “Chicago World Mountain Bike Championships ” because it’s the only major mountain bike race in the Chicago metro area, the Sunday, August 22 Palos Meltdown Mountain Bike Race returns to the Cook County Forest Preserves at Bullfrog Lake/Pulaski Woods near Willow Springs (95th Street and Wolf Rd., just east of Archer Avenue).
Organized by CAMBr (Chicago Area Mountain Bikers), racing happens all day in a variety of skill levels from Novice to Expert, man and women’s categories. Action begins at 8:00 a.m., and spectators are welcome. Over 200 people have already registered for the race, and the course is mainly singletrack, a narrow dirt trail with some obstacles such as ravines, roots, rocks and logs. The race is obviously an athletic contest, but is also a social gathering where cheering on, and sometimes heckling, racers can be a competitive event in itself!
The annual race, which has been held since 2007, is a fundraiser for the Chicago Area Mountain bikers, which build and maintain the trails in the Palos Forest Preserves and throughout the metro area. This year, the race is also a part of the Illinois Homegrown Race Series, a series of nine mountain bike races in various locations, which will likely draw a wider group of racers and spectators.
The races are held in a beautiful area of the Palos Preserves, so pack a lunch and bring some friends out to watch the races and enjoy a day in the woods.
By Gina Kenny