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In case you missed it last year: A Balmy Heaven 2008.

What: A Balmy Heaven 2009 – A mountain biking event
When: Sunday, August 16th, 2009; noon registration, 1pm start
Where: D’s Six Pax & Dogz (1118 S. Braddock Ave, Regeant Square, Pittsburgh, PA)
How much: $1.
Prizes: I’ll buy the winner a beer.

Facebook event
Bike-PGH thread

2nd year for a mountain bike alleycat thorugh Frick & Schenley. This year I’m running the course backwards so we can end at OTB (2518 E Carson St). I’ll buy the winner a beer. Be there around 2:30 if you just want to hang out and skip all that messy bike riding and stuff.

The pre-party

I’m going to ride from my house (southside) to D’s, marking the trail heads along the way. This will be a medium paced ride with lots of stopping (to mark trails). I plan to leave sside around 9:30 to give myself penty of time to get to registration @ noon. Email me @ or call my cell phone @ 412-519-4580 if you want to do this pre-ride.

Registration opens at D’s Six Pax & Dogz (1118 S. Braddock St.) at noon, so beer & hotdogs from noon-1pm.

The route

Both rides start at D’s Six Pax & Dogz (1118 S. Braddock St. in the Regeant Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh) at 1 pm. There is no fixed route, but you must complete the singletrack sections in order. If you rode last year, you might notice that this is for real backwards: reverse order and reverse direction.

The Race category singletrack sections are:

  1. Slag Heap Loop (loop along ridge overlooking waterfront), west to east (the river on your right) (Frick Park)
  2. “Beginning” Trail, uphill from 9 Mile Run Trail to Biddle Trail (Frick Park)
  3. Zig-Zag Trail, uphill from Falls Ravine Trail to Lower Riverview (Frick Park)
  4. Roller Coaster, downhill from Lower Riverview to Fire Lane Ext. (Frick Park)
  5. Iron Gate Trail, uphill from Tranquil Trail (?) to the baseball diamond (Frick Park)
  6. Bench Trail, downhill from the Fitnesse Circuit to Riverview Extension (Frick Park)
  7. Nature Trail singletrack, uphill from Tranquil Trail to Nature Trail (Frick Park)
  8. Steve Faloon Trail, downhill from W. Circuit Road to pavilion near the intersection of W. Circuit Road & Schenley Drive (Schenley Park)
  9. Creek Trail, “uphill” from the Panther Hollow lake to the fireroad near the playground (Schenley Park)
  10. Panther Hollow descent, downhill from Schenley fireroad to Panther Hollow (Schenley Park to Panther Hollow)

The Fun ride singletrack sections are:

  1. Slag Heap Loop (loop along ridge overlooking waterfront), west to east (the river on your right) (Frick Park)
  2. Zig-Zag Trail, uphill from Falls Ravine Trail to Lower Riverview (Frick Park)
  3. Roller Coaster, downhill from Lower Riverview to Fire Lane Ext. (Frick Park)
  4. Steve Faloon Trail, downhill (Schenley Park)

I will use course tape to mark the starts of the trail sections but that’s it. You’ll need to have some idea where the trails are, the tape is just to show where they officially start. The trails also fan out a bunch once you start. We’ll see what kind of riders show up at the start, the fun ride might end up as a group ride.

Be very careful going up Iron Gate, Nature Trail, and Beginning Trail! People might be going the other way, fast. Of course, unless you’re a beast you’ll probably be walking, so just step off the trail and let them pass.

Also watch out on Creek Trail and the Panther Hollow climb. Both got really washed out in those rains a few months ago. Be ready to do some walking. If you can manage to ride all of Creek trail I’ll give you a cookie (in addition to the beer if you win).

This is an entirely honor system based ride. There are no manned checkpoints.

Both rides end at OTB (2518 E Carson St). There’s currently construction on Carson and partially blocking the entrance to OTB, so you might have to lock up down the street a bit.

Google Maps hotness:

View A Balmy Heaven, backwards in a larger map

The after-party

The ride ends at OTB (2518 E. Carson St.). The leaders should get in between 2 and 2:30pm. And then we hang out until everyone wants to go home. Feel free to just show up here and keep me company even if you don’t ride. If I feel particularly not-drunk I will ride the course backwards afterwards and cut-down all the trail markings. Anyone is welcome to join for that ride as well.


You will need:

  1. A bike
  2. Water
  3. A helmet
  4. The will to succeed

A mountain bike is recommended. A cross bike is doable, though you’ll probably have to run some sections. A road bike and a track bike aren’t recommended unless you really want to run (I pre-rode last year’s course on a track bike to prove it could be done, basically I just ran all the singletrack).

Anything else

Here’s the official map of Frick (no singletrack marked, unfortunately): Frick Park map [PDF]

Here’s the course [PDF].

And BE CAREFUL!. The trails & roads are all open to the public so expect to see other people riding, walking & driving. Don’t be a jerk. And wear a helmet.

Check out these awesome spokecards

spokecard front
spokecard back


  1. Mark Tressler
  2. Mike Tressler
  3. Jonathan Kersting (admits to getting lost on 1 trail)

Special honors to Hammer for doing it on his brakeless fixie w/ his dog.

Thanks to everyone else who came out.

Apologies to the OTB bartender who I accidentally called “sir”, thus inidicating that she is 1) old and 2) a man. She is neither.

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    1. Pingback from Disgruntled Off-Road Cyclists » Blog Archive » Sunday August 16th: A Balmy Heaven 2009

      […] More info! […]

    2. Pingback from ndanger.organism :: blog :: Some past & upcoming cycling events

      […] I disagreed, and have proved such by forgetting to advertise the mountain bike event I just got finished running. Anyway, if you go back in time, check out A Balmy Heaven 2009: […]