Belleayre Mountain All Terrain Challenge

Today was the Belleayre Mountain All Terrain Challenge, race #4 of the New York State MTB Series. Bellaeyre Mountain is a State owned ski area in the Catskill Mountains of New York. This was the first time I have rode or raced there. Last year’s event was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene while Belleayre was being used as an evacuation center for the area.

I have always heard good things about the trails at Belleayre. Everything that I have heard is right on! These trails are great. They weren’t all eroded away like a lot of ski areas’ trails. I think that the trails  are probably used by locals and not the hoards of people that ski areas can get.

The course was laid out on the lower portion of the mountain, which meant that there wasn’t a ton of climbing. Each lap claimed 750 feet of total climbing. I don’t see it, but most of the climbing over the 4.5 mile laps was pretty gradual. Even on a singlespeed, I could ride the vast majority of the course. There was however, two short steeper climbs that I just couldn’t get the pedals around for the whole climb, and a rocky singletrack ascent that was also a short hike-a-bike for me. For me, the best part of the course was about 2 miles into the lap with a fast flowing singletrack descent that worked it’s way back to the base of the mountain.

There wasn’t a huge turnout for the race, but all the regulars were there. Anyone who wasn’t there really did miss out on a good race. This was one of the better race courses that I have been on. Not 100% singlespeed friendly, but more so than most.

I finished 2nd in a small field, but more importantly, my second lap was faster than my first and my third lap was faster than my second. What that means is, I felt good and finished strong.

The final race in the series is Riedlbauer’s Round Top Rally to be held on September 9. The overall series will be quite the long shot for me, but I do have at least 2nd place overall secured for Cat 2 Singlespeed. Feeling like I did today, I’m looking for one more podium to finish out the series.

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