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Saturday, October 29, 2011 

The inaugural Beacon Mega Avalanche race is in the books! Read on for details and photos of the race.

Kris 'Captain' Geis is ready to rip!!
What better way to cap an incredible season of riding than by holding the 1st annual Beacon Mega Avalanche Enduro Race; aka "The Jackass 40". The brain child of the Beacon Bombers race team, the Beacon Mega Avalanche challenged racers with some of of the toughest terrain the east coast of the United States has to offer. This unofficial/underground race was organized through Facebook and word of mouth and truly represents the undeniable rebel spirit of mountain biking.

Riders gathered before making their way up to the fire tower.

The snow on the ground added to the 'Mega Avalanche' feel.

As riders made their way to the start, the snow began to fall giving the race the feel of a true mega avalanche.

Over 30 riders, young and old, made the 1500' ascent from the base to the summit of Mt. Beacon, where the race began at the famous Beacon fire tower overlooking the Hudson River. Staying true to the "earn your turns" mantra, every rider needed to make the grueling ascent in order to start the race. The weapon of choice among riders was without a doubt the 5"- 6" travel trail bike giving riders the perfect balance of descending capability and pedaling efficiency. Inspired by the real Mega Avalanche race held annually in Alpe d'Huez, France, the Beacon Mega Avalanche aimed to give riders a small taste of what European endurance style racing is all about.

As riders emerged from the woods on their way to the summit, the weather began to take a turn for the worst, as the predicted freak October snow storm was quickly rolling in over the Hudson Valley. As the wind whipped and the snow began to fall, undeterred, the riders gathered around the fire tower for the start. As the temperature dropped, the excitement in the air grew as riders prepared to hit the course. Scoping out lines and trying to stay warm, the riders were preparing to attack a course consisting of over 5 miles of the most rugged and varied terrain the east coast has to offer. The 1550' descent from the top of Mt. Beacon, scattered with true east coast gnar, challenged riders entire biking skill set and both physical and mental endurance.

Scoping out lines prior to the Le Mans style mass start.

All-Mountain / Trail Bikes were the weapon of choice for most racers.

Local ripper Gus Mustakas knows a penguin suit definitely makes you faster.

The ladies were not going to miss this opportunity to race. Local Kona Pro Becky Gardner (right) was shreddy!

STOKED!

Beginning at the fire tower, the Le Mans style start had riders sprinting to their bikes to begin the first quick descent which took racers down a massive slick rock formation. With plenty of room to allow for the mass start, riders were able to choose their lines as they threw elbows and jockeyed for position while navigating the first slick rock section of the 5 mile sprint to the finish. As the course narrowed, winding up and mostly down the 1550' vertical foot descent, it challenged riders with a variety of terrain that included the combination of rocks, drops and fast, flowy single track that the east coast is famous for.

On your mark...get set...

GO!!!!!

Navigating the loose, rocky, east coast terrain challenged riders skill and endurance. The course included several short but steep climbs to challenge racers and keep everyone honest.

Rocks? What rocks? Local legend Anthony Coneski shows you how it's done on the East Coast.

Local Kona Pro, Becky Gardner takes the 'Pro Line' through the rocks as the snow falls.

In hot pursuit!!

Winner of the Inaugural Beacon Mega Avalanche, Rob Scott, puts his Cannondale Jekyl through it's paces.

As racers completed the 3 mile long off-road section of the course and hit the bottom of the 1550' descent, it was time for a short 2 mile road sprint to the finish line. As riders were free to choose their own route on the roads from the bottom of the off-road section of the course, to the finish line, the real challenge began when they arrived at everyone's favorite watering hole and had to finish an ice-cold adult beverage in order to stop the clock. The last stage of the race proved a challenge for most, as the grueling descent and 2 mile road sprint to the finish line, left them gasping for air as they came through the door. Several positions were won and lost on the final stage.

The finish line...an icy cold beer was waiting for racers as they entered.

The snow was falling as racers crossed the finish line.

A great time was had by all and the celebration continued in Beacon Bomber style as racers recounted close calls and moments from the race. The race brought together a group of riders who truly embody the undeniable rebel spirit of mountain biking. No prize money, no sponsors, just racing for the sake of having fun with your friends. Fastest man (or woman) from the top to the bottom of the mountain wins...after they chug a beer. If that's not what mountain biking is all about, I don't know what is.

Racers relaxing post race.

Photo

"Possibly the last snow free riding day of the 2011 season...was the best riding day of the season!" - Jason Scheiding, Fast Line Racing

"Most fun I've ever had on a bike!" - Becky Gardner, Kona Grassroots Factory Rider

"I was smiling the entire way down the mountain. Hard to imagine anything being more fun." - Anthony Coneski, Local Pro

"This race and these guys (and girls) truly epitomize the rebel spirit of mountain biking. Ride your bike... fast, and have fun." - Tom Church, Beacon Cycles

Huge thanks to all of the riders and friends who helped organize and pull this thing off.

Thanks to Max's On Main for hosting our finish line.

Photos courtesy of John Parker.

Official Results
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