September 9, 2013

Beltchenko Takes 2nd in Vapor Trail 125 Race


Neil Beltchenko has had a busy and productive season doing long distance races on his mountain bike.  The Griggs GO rider can now add a second place in the Vapor Trail 125 to the list. 

photo: Kevin Krill

vaporCourseMacroAt 10:00 pm on Saturday night, sixty-five riders left Salida for a not so casual 125 mile ride over the Alpine Tunnel, Tomichi Pass, Granite Mountain, Monarch Pass, and the Monarch Crest Trail.  The ride contains around 20,000 feet of total climbing, before returning back to Salida.

Beltchenko led the race for the majority of the way, but was finally passed with fifteen miles to go by the eventual winner, Jesse Jakomait.  Beltchenko was gassed.  “My motivation was lost, my legs were dead, I just knew Jesse would get me eventually. He is such a strong rider, He wins almost every race he enters. He passed me with about 15 miles to go. I knew if I got to the final road descent I could hold anyone off, but he got me on the last section of trail. I told him good work, got off my bike gave him a high five and continued on.”

The race was also competed in by Crested Butte/Gunnison residents Aaron Huckstep, Mike McCauley, Evan Ross, Ben Preston, Dan Loftus, Brian Sullivan, Jefe Branham, and Jari Kirkland. Jari Kirkland took first in the women’s field, setting a record in the process.  See full results here.

Jakomait finished the race with a time of exactly thirteen hours.  Beltchenko finished at 13:05. “What are you gonna do?” Beltchenko shrugs with a smile. “Always next year.”  Not bad, considering that he is in only his second year of racing bikes.  You can follow Neil’s adventures at

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.