Words by Andrew Donchez // Photos by John Parker and others

In the words of the immortal Billy Idol..."With a rebel yell, they cry more, more, more..." The people asked, and the Beacon Bombers delivered. The 2nd Annual running of The Beacon Mega Avalanche, the most epic underground mountain bike race on the East Coast, is now in the history books.

The Beacon Mega Avalanche combined all the best elements of multiple disciplines of mountain bike racing with the rebel spirit of the Beacon Bombers to create the most epic mountain bike race of the year.

Mild temperatures and overcast skies were a perfect fall back drop to the last race of the season.

The 2nd Annual running of the Beacon Mega Avalanche went down this past weekend with 35 riders participating in the last race of the year on the East Coast. What better way to cap off a great season of riding and racing than by taking the highest peak around, 35 of your closest riding buddies, and holding a mass-start race down your favorite mountain. Organized through social media and word of mouth, the race saw a huge jump in participation and talent this year.

Embodying the true rebel spirit of mountain biking, the race is held with a mass start, on some of the toughest trails in the Northeast, with no sponsors, no prize money... just racing for glory and the title of King and Queen of Beacon.

What better way to cap off a season of riding and racing than throwing elbows with your buddies racing down your home mountain?

Mother Nature once again threatened to rear her ugly head just in time for the race as Hurricane Sandy ramble up the East Coast towards NY. Disaster (and last years freak snow storm) were averted however as the race went off without a hitch. The mild temperatures and over cast skies were a perfect back drop as riders made the 1,500-foot ascent to the top of Mt. Beacon. The “earn your turns” mantra was in full-effect as riders were required to make the climb to the fire tower in order to start the race.

There were plenty of new faces this year in the stacked field of 35 riders eager to take on the challenge of the Beacon Mega...but some have been there since the beginning. Bill Bazzano sporting an original Beacon Bombers race jersey, circa 1999.

This year's race saw the same format as last year with a “Le Mans” style mass start from the fire tower, perched atop a slick rock formation overlooking the Hudson River. The format and course were so well received last year that they went mostly unchanged with the exception of the finish line being moved slightly to add distance to the road ride portion of the race.

Riders gathered at the fire tower to await the start.

Trail and All-Mountain bikes were still the weapon of choice for most riders, but this year saw a smattering of 29ers added to the mix. On a trail that easily could have warranted a full on DH bike, could the big wheels prove an advantage?

The course once again challenged riders with a combination of the steep, technical terrain that the East Coast is famous for. Riders faced some of the steepest, rockiest terrain the East Coast has to offer, with a few small climbs thrown in to keep everyone honest…this is after all, Enduro Racing.

Unofficial course sweep vehicle. You never quite know who you'll run into on Mt. Beacon.

Riders awaiting the start of the race.

On your mark... Get set...


The Le Mans style start had racers sprinting to their bikes over some seriously rough terrain. At about a 50/50 split between flats vs. clips, disco slippers definitely made the sprint a little more tricky. A smooth transition from the running start onto the bike was key to a successful race.

If you've never done a "Le Mans" style, mass start bike race... it's exciting!

Local legend Anthony Coneski keeps it low through the rocks. Anthony had a disappointing result due to a mechanical, but he knows it's all about having fun

3rd place finisher Aaron Noble leads a train through the first waterfall section of the course. What can we say? The East Coast rocks.

2nd place finisher, Andrew Donchez keeps it smooth through the rocks.

Winner of the 2012 Beacon Mega Avalanche, Jason Scheiding, set the pace early and never looked back.

As racers completed the 3 mile, 1,500-foot descent, they hit the road for a 2.2 mile road sprint to the finish. Once again, as is a Beacon Bomber tradition, racers had to finish an ice-cold adult beverage in order to stop the clock. As the grueling course left riders grasping for air as they came into the finish line, the last stage of the race proved a challenge for some and several spots were won and lost on the beer chug.

Racers were greeted with an ice cold beer at the finish line. Official Mega Avalanche referees kept everybody in line and made sure no spillage went unpunished.

This year's race saw two new winners and record times being put down on the stop watch (and Strava). With a time of 17:27.6, Jason Scheiding won the stacked men’s field by over a minute. Women’s winner, Alta Wood won the ultra competitive women’s field with a time of 27:51.02. Mechanicals and flats took out several of the top competitors, but on a course as tough as this one, that’s just racing.

Women's winner Alta Wood, the 2012 Queen of Beacon

Men's winner and 2012 King of Beacon, Jason Scheiding

There were several notable performances during the race with first-time racers Aaron Nobel and Pip Bell, hailing from Montana, showing the East Coaster how the final stage of the race was done and taking the “Chug Award” title.

The “Tough Guy” award goes to Frank Fontana, who with only one operable shoulder, managed to finish the race and a beer to stop the clock. Heal up quick buddy.

Racers gathered afterwards to celebrate a great season of riding and racing.

Official Results:

Huge thanks to the Beacon Bombers, riders, racers and friends for making this awesome race a reality.

Thanks to Bank Square for hosting our finish line, and thanks to John Parker Photography and our volunteer photographers for the great photos.

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