Philadelpha Points Series

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Apparently, this has been going on for years, but I'd never heard of it... personally, I avoid road crits like the plague, but somebody here may be interested...

Type: Sports & Recreation - Extreme Sports
Description: It is time for the annual Philadelphia Points Race Series. This is when all of the sicko cyclists tell Phil The Ground Hog: Go to hell! We are starting Spring without him. Each year some of the sickest cyclists from around Philadelphia begin meeting for some crit action on the first Thursday in February. The points race series continues to meet each Thursday until the end of March with cyclists furiously battling it out for the title “Fastest Philadelphian”.

The ride starts at the start finish line on the course at 6:30pm sharp. There is usually a group that meets at the bulldog statue at 25th and Fairmount and departs at approximately 6:15 to ride over to the course.,-75.19721&spn=0.009519,0.022745&t=h&z=16

It goes clockwise around Mt. Pleasant Drive, Reservoir Drive, and Fountain Green Drive.

Yeah there are doubters out there. Some will say, “What about base miles, shouldn’t you be doing base miles?” We say, “Base miles, haven’t you been doing them since October? How many freaking base miles do you need to race a one hour crit?” Some will say, “isn’t it dark out at 6:30pm in February?” We say, “So what.” Some will say, “What about the cold?” We say, “HTFU!”

So you want to know more about the points race? Well it dates back to Bob Wellmon’s entry into cycling, roughly around the time Major Taylor was kickin’ it hard in Madison Square Garden. Bob, a young man at the time was so enamored with Major Taylor, that he began emulating him around the loop in front of Mt. Pleasant mansion.

Soon cyclists from around Philadelphia began following Bob on his quest. If you don’t know Bob Wellmon, well you just have not been around Philly cycling long enough. Sooner or later you will see him sporting his collection of retro jerseys from Philadelphia’s oldest cycling club, QCW. Bob, began his career racing Penny Farthing bikes around Memorial Hall, and continues to race regularly in the local Philadelphia scene. If you want to meet the legend in person, simply attend the points races.

Rules? Yes there are rules to the points race. First and foremost, this is not any one club’s event, or any one individual’s ride. This is a ride established by the masses of the Philadelphia Cycling community. As such, the rules are gentlemanly agreements amongst the participants to try to keep the ride safe and fun for everyone.

There are no score keepers; there are no officials; there is danger involved, as there is in any bike ride, especially on roads open to traffic. Remember, you were not forced to attend this ride, but rather you are doing so on your own free will. You are smart enough to realize there are inherent risks involved. Yes, you could die, break a leg, arm, collarbone, cheek bone, get a concussion, or any number of injuries could occur. These can happen by crashing your bike, slipping on ice, getting hit by a car, hitting a car, crashing into another rider, and any number of accidents that can happen while on a bike.

By following a few simple rules we hope to minimize any one of us getting injured or injuring a fellow rider.

• There should be no contact between riders, it is easy to knock someone off of a bike so why bother.
• Please outfit your bike with a rear red light only, if you have a front light do not use it during the ride. Your rear light should be on steady, not flashing mode.
• The first lap of the evening is always a neutral lap and is not counted in the lap count down.
• With each lap all riders should yell out what lap we are on (i.e., “4 to go,” “3 to go,” “2 to go,” “Sprint lap.”)
• The first corner of the course on to River Road is a neutral corner, do not attack in it or just before it. Be safe going through this turn and call out if any cars are coming.
• The sprint for points occurs on every 5th lap. Points are awarded 3-2-1, should you want to keep score in your head. If you claim to be the winner you must bring alcohol to share the following week.
• The ride is gear restricted for the first 6 weeks. Please follow the gear restriction.
• After each sprint regroup by soft pedaling or coming to a near stop, if you are at the front of the pack. If you are off the back don’t soft pedal or come to a near stop. Catch up to the rest of the group quickly so the workout can continue.
• Regroup neutral area ends at turn 1. If you do not catch on by that point you have been dropped, soft pedal and wait for the group to lap you to get back in, do not contest the sprints for the remainder of the ride. Rather build your endurance and technique by learning to sit in on the pack.
• Try to bring alcohol to share at the completion of each night.
• The golden rule applies.
• Don’t be an ass.

If you’ve never done the Points Race before, note that it even starts fast, but then gets really really fast the last lap or two before the final sprint (e.g., anaerobic interval on the last lap and max heart rate along with the sprint). The only easy pedaling is during the regroup. Get ready to push yourself hard, hammering in a tight group of cyclists in the dark on an open road with a tight corner and the odd oncoming car. In short, paradise.

The ride will progressively increase in duration and gear difficulty. This is the format we will follow. Not following this gear progression means you are a cheater, and cheaters never win. You may run a smaller gear then proposed if you wish. If you are getting dropped continually you may un-handicap yourself by using a larger gear, but you are not allowed to attack and or contest the sprint or you will be a cheater. Cheaters are not welcome to drink with the group afterwards.

Week 1 February 5th – 39 x 15 or 70 inch gear if running a single speed. – 5 Sprints
Week 2 February 12th – 39 x 15 or 70 inch gear if running a single speed. – 5 Sprints
Week 3 February 19th – 39 x 14 or 75 inch gear if running a single speed. – 6 Sprints
Week 4 February 26th – 39 x 13 or 80 inch gear if running a single speed – 6 Sprints
Week 5 March 5th – 53 x 17 or 84 inch gear if running a single speed – 7 Sprints
Week 6 March 12th – 53 x 16 or 90 inch gear if running a single speed – 7 Sprints
Week 7 March 19th – Any gear – 8 sprints
Week 8 March 26th – Any Gear – 8 sprints

If using compact gearing or need to determine what gear to run on your single speed or fixed gear bike you can use this chart or simply use this formula… Number of Teeth on Front Chain Ring ÷ Number of Teeth on Rear Cog X 27= gear inch for 27” (700c) wheels.

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Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
Sounds cool as hell, I'm surprised I've never heard about this before.


Well-Known Member
Yea no shit this sounds cool as hell. I have a good group of friends right outside of philly. I may be able to drag linda out on one of these too! Score!

Isnt 90 gear inches a HUGE gear?

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Not when your average speed is 25mph. ;)

Depends on how you spin... when I was road training back in the mid 90's, we did double pace line at 25 mph and never got out of the 39t... only time the 53 was used was in single pace line at 30+... I had a much better spin back then... could hold a 100+ cad for miles... :(
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