2016 Gratitude: Neil Beltchenko

We continue our series of post expressing gratitude for moments in 2016. This time were hear from Salsa sponsored rider Neil Beltchenko. -Kid

2016 was a rewarding year, but it's hard not to think about how I got here. As I visited my folks for Christmas in the Chicagoland area, it brought me back to my roots where I rode my BMX bike off the dirt jumps and around the neighborhood. I had no clue at that moment, or even 5 years ago, that I would be so enthralled with these ultra endurance rides, but I'm not complaining. Life experiences have brought me here, and life experiences continue to shape who I am both mentally and physically. Below are a few things I learned in 2016 that will continue to shape the future of my cycling life.

I love singletrack...

Bottom line, this was a huge realization as the snow melted out this past spring. Two years ago the focus was on the Tour Divide (TD), and while I got plenty of riding in on singletrack after the TD that year, it didn't dawn on me until this past spring. Sure I knew I loved singletrack before last year, but being reintroduced after a long winter had me all giddy.

Short races are not for me...

After the Arizona Trail Race in April, I participated in two short local races in Southwest Colorado. While I know these types of efforts are great for long distance training, I decided after cramping extremely bad at the Gunnison Growler, I should stick with what I know I'm good at - and for now, that is what I'm going to do. No more races under 100 miles for me.

I really enjoy new events...

Getting out of your comfort zone is so important. It allows you a new sense of adventure and vulnerability, and in turn makes you stronger. This summer I took on a race called the Comstock Epic, which traverses the state of Nevada. I'm so grateful for this experience as it allowed me to see a part of the country I have never seen, while racing on an extremely desolate, remote and unknown route. If you want to see Nevada, this is a fantastic way to do so.

Rest is crucial...

By the end of my racing season, which was September, I needed some time off. Both to heal my body and to rest my mind. So far the rest has helped me feel better on the bike and has given me motivation for 2017.

Photo courtesy of Nico Barraza...

Records are made to be broken...

Racing the Arizona Trail Race and the Colorado Trail Race this summer reminded me that records are made to be broken. My mindset never veered away from the ultimate goal, to finish, but keeping hope of breaking records always remained in the back of my mind. While I had plenty of skepticism while racing, keeping the push forward and testing my body allowed me to break those two records this year. The best thing about those records is that they will be broken and I look forward to racing those routes again once they are.

Support system and family...

Moms, dads, sisters, brothers, fiancee, friends, and partners. I'm extremely grateful for my support system not only in my cycling life but in everyday life. Trying to balance a race year like I do while earning a living is not easy, and I have certainly had some trying moments in 2016. Thank you for the support everyone, it certainly does not go unnoticed and it continues to push me.


Follow Neil on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/Beltchenko/?fref=ts

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Mountain Biking Neil Beltchenko Spearfish Split Pivot Sponsored Riders Ultra Racing

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Neil Beltchenko

Neil Beltchenko

I’ve always had a bike since I was a kid, riding the dirt jumps in the park behind my house. It was not until 2010 when I finally got on a mountain bike again. Things kinda took off in 2012 when a friend and I took on the Colorado Trail in 10 days. It was an eye-opening experience that lead me to take on the Arizona Trail Race 300 in 2013 – my first bikepacking race. Basically, after that, the rest is history.


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Amadoras | March 19th, 2017

Hi, very good the photos, wanted to know if there with this dry climate is complicate peladar, I live in a very rainy place, then it seems to be better

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