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A colorful array of bikes and racers line up at the entrance to Arrowhead Park in Inlet for the start of the 40-mile Black Fly Challenge through the Moose River Plains to the finish line in Indian Lake. (Photo/Inlet Tourism Office)

Alec Donahue, Easthampton, Mass., is no worse for wear after winning the Black Fly Challenge with a time of 1 hour, 46 minutes and 22.70 seconds, setting a new course record. (Photo/Pete Klein)

Racers cross the finish line in front of Indian Lake Central School as they are cheered by the crowds for having completed the grueling Black Fly Challenge. (Photo/Pete Klein)


Black Fly Challenge records fall

Monday, June 16, 2014 - Updated: 10:12 PM


Express News Staff

INDIAN LAKE -- The Black Fly Challenge bicycle race gets bigger and faster every year, and this year was no exception with new course records being set for both fastest time and number of participants.

Last year 508 competitors raced the 40-mile course from Indian Lake to Inlet, traversing the rugged Moose River Plains on mountain roads of dirt, gravel, sand and boulders with several steep elevation changes. This year the race began in Inlet and ended in Indian Lake with a record 721 completing the course; eight dropped out.

Despite three days of rain before the race the Limekiln - Cedar River Road was solid enough for a new course record. Alec Donahue of Easthampton, Mass., shaved 1:15 off the old record, finishing in 1:46:22.

The day was cloudy and cool, more like an autumn day than the last weekend of spring, and the racers did have to battle their way through the biting little black flies. Donahue commented, "I ate a lot of black flies."

The BFC has exploded from a small regional cycling event to the biggest bike race and one of the largest sporting events in the Adirondack Park, attracting thousands of people to the tiny hamlets of Inlet and Indian Lake each year for what is one of the most unique bike races in existence.

Although the BFC started as a mountain bike race, there is now a large and growing cyclocross category. The race also attracts single-speed bikes, tandem bike teams and, in recent years, even a three-set bike and two unicyclists, both of which finished in about four hours.

The Black Fly Challenge takes place the second Saturday in June every year. Skiing magazine lists it as number one of its "Five Bad-Ass Things to do in June."

The race changes direction each year, with the start and finish alternating between the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet.


YellowJacket Racing of Rochester timed the race. Times are shown in hours, minutes and seconds.

The top men's finisher was Alec Donahue, Easthampton, Mass., 1:46:22.70 (new course record).

The top women's finisher was Rosanne Van Dorn of Lake Placid, 2:01:58.04.

The second through 11th place finishers are: Christopher Welch, Barneveld, 1:52:44.94; Zack Vogel, Saratoga Springs, 1:53:44.46; Andy Ruiz, Delmar, 1:53:44.77; Michael Owens, Richmond, Vt., 1:53:45.01; Jack MacClarence, Loudonville, 1:53:45.57; Scott Hannan, Trumansburg, 1:53:45.84; Matt Salter, Essex Junction, Vt., 1:53:46.01; Speight Drummond, Enfield, N.H., 1:53:46.90; and Mark Sumner, Clifton Park, 1:53:49.01.


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