2016 Dirt Jam Event and Race Report

2016 Dirt Jam Event and Race Report

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Like most events at 718 Cyclery, Dirt Jam was born out of some random ideas, and the desire to bring people together who enjoy off-road riding. The random idea was to put on a race/event that was more of a fun celebration than just a race. Location was Cunningham Park in Queens, NYC.

Our other race events in the near past (2015's 

City Slicker Classic

and 2016's

Fat and Frozen Fatbike Race

) were also a lot of fun, but we wanted Dirt Jam (sometimes referred to as DirtJam!, like SpaceJam!) to be loads of fun, whatever that means.

The ideas started rolling in late last year for an event that had fun races and events...sort of like

The Lumberjack Games

.  We decided we had to have a standard set of races for men and women, as well as a novice run.  We also developed and added the Nerf MTB Biathlon and the Fatbike Derby.

Nerf MTB Biathlon

This event was hatched to mimic the Nordic Biathlon event,where cross country skiers have to stop periodically and hit targets with rifles.  The game here is controlling one's heart-rate to get a steady shot.

This idea started and thankfully ended quickly as a race using BB guns. We settled on the more skin-puncture friendly Nerf arsenal of weapons.  The idea is that in the middle of a 2 lap race, contestants have to stop and hit targets (water bottles) with a Nerf rifle at 25'. We ran 4 heats of 5 riders. Riders would only be allowed to continue their 2nd lap after a target was hit.

Steady, Sergeant-at-Arms for Dirt Jam 2016

The race had its intended effect, where a fast rider who gets into the shooting stall might not be the best shot.  The best shot was an 8 year old, who nailed a target on his first try.

Fatbike Derby

Initially, the "derby" context of this event conjured up images of knocking each other around like a roller derby match.  Calmer heads again prevailed, and this was turned into a relay race of sorts. The format here were random groups of 3 (men and women mixed), assigned a random fatbike, with each rider having to compete a lap and then hand off to the next rider.

The obvious fun of this event was the craziness that happened in the "exchange area", where teams scrambled to get saddles raised/lowered while getting out of the way of crossing teams.

Novice Ride (That Turned Into a Race)

We weren't sure if this event would be a novice ride or race, so we did both, 718 Cyclery Employee and

Race Team

members Aaron and Clay lead the group on an instructional first lap.  At the conclusion, those who wanted to throw down and race had at it.  The amazing this about this was this basically turned into a youth event.

Men's MTB Race

We felt we had to have a least one (or 2) recognizable bike events. The Men's Race was held first.  As is out tradition, we had a Le Mans start where racers leave their bikes in a clearing, march 200 yards into the woods, and proceed to run to get their bikes.

Racers at the Starting Line

Official Finish Line

Women's MTB Race

Exactly the same format as the men's race, an amped-up group of female racers got the crowd really into it.

718 Race Team

Dirt Jam was the coming out party for the

718 Race Team

. The mission of this (Men's and Women's) team is to promote the enjoyment of riding in the woods with friends, as well as the accessibility of these rides to NYC. Members finished 4, 5, 6 and 8th in the Men's Race, and provided race and medical event support.

Event Set-Up and Support

These events aren't possible without the 718 Staff and our family of shop friends. These are generally long days that begin and end with loading a lot of stuff into and out of a truck.

Industry Support

Chris from QBP and Joe from Downeast/Reid have been fixtures at our events since their inception.

Both of these great guys provided demo bikes and tech support at this event, and all events previous. The biggest thing they provide is getting newcomers on some great bikes in the woods.

Also, a big thanks to Geoff from

Santa Cruz

and Scott from


making sure we had bikes for this event.


There were a number of great organizations that joined us at Dirt Jam to share their causes (and brownies) with a very receptive audience.

Trips for Kids

The Bike School

(more to come on the Bike School...you will be amazed)

These events are a bear to pull off, but are so exhilarating when the dust has settled and you see so many smiling friends. Thank you all, and see you at the 2016 City Slicker Classic in the Fall (or a Lumberjack Games in August).