Repack was the moment of genesis for the mountain bike. The group of friends in Marin who timed their downhill runs in the fall of 1976 quickly pulled in friends until the chain reaction of enthusiasm sustained a new industry.
In 1974 a half-dozen riders went on the first of what has become an annual ride, the Thanksgiving Day Appetite Seminar. The route we chose ended with a trip down Repack, and it was shortly afterward that someone applied the name that has become one of the most famous in mountain biking history. It's not a joke, it's just the truth. One trip down that hill put years of wear onto a coaster brake, and if you did not immediately disassemble it and repack all the bearings with grease, the hub would seize up very shortly afterward. Charlie Kelly, sonic.net/~ckelly
Most of initial Repack riders built their own bikes. They had to, as there was nothing available which could survive the final five minutes. Charlie Kelly, Repack's organizer, ordered the first purpose built mountain bike in 1976 from Craig Mitchell. Joe Breeze, a builder of road frames, and who has won more Repack downhills than anyone else, demonstrated his own JBX1 in September, 1977. And then everyone had to have one.
Left: Charlie Kelly, Repack organizer, with timers and results sheet, 1979. Tom Ritchey is smiling in blue behind him. Photo by Wende Cragg, mmbhof
Middle: Fred Wolf's truck unloading bikes at Azalea Hill, about a 2 mile traverse to the top of Repack. 1977.
Photo by Larry Cragg mmbhof
The Repack Course Map mmbhof