Mountain bike riders get a race in exchange for volunteer labor

Finnigan Donley and Megan Chelf went downhill fast Friday to take home victories in the second annual Gambler Enduro mountain bike race on the Hillside single-track trails.

The race drew 42 racers to the one-way trails, including the new jump lines and tech trails built by Singletrack Advocates. As part of their entry fees, racers agreed to volunteer three hours of their time to work on trail maintenance.

Donley, an Anchorage teenager who is making a name for himself as an alpine skier, recorded a total time of 8 minutes, 51 seconds, on a combined five downhill runs. He was 22 seconds faster than runner-up Jon Cobb.

Chelf paced the women in 10:50 and was nearly a minute faster than runner-up Liberty Helgesson.

Enduro racing puts bikers on trails often used for cross-country races, but only the downhill segments of their ride are timed. Friday’s race included five downhill segments.

“Think of it like five downhill ski races, but rather than a chairlift, we had to ride back up,” said Greg Matyas of race sponsor Speedway Cycles. “Overall distance was about 10 miles, with about 1,600 feet of climbing at a casual pace. Then it’s all out, much like a downhill ski race.”

Matyas, a veteran racer who tied for ninth place, said he has competed in multi-day enduro races in Washington and Oregon in recent years. “Funnest racing of my life,” he said.

Women — 1) Megan Chelf 10:50, 2) Liberty Helgeson 11:48, 3) Rebecca Mamrol 11:58, 4) Hannah Counter 12:21, 5) Sofia Petroni 12:24, 6) Alexa Dobson 13:02, 7) Rachel James 13:17, 8) Kikken Schleusner 13:23.

Men — 1) Finnigan Donley 8:51, 2) Jon Cobb 9:13, 3) Buck Wilder 9:17, 4) Josh Chelf 9:17, 5) David Slyker 9:23, 6) Andy Petroni 9:27, 7) Will Ross 9:31, 8) Ethan Eski 9:35, 9) tie, Chris Yelverton and Greg Matyas 9:46, 11) Cody Gauer 9:49,12) James Howery 9:50, 13) Jeremiah Bell 9:51, 14) Kevin Murphy 9:52, 15) Bryan Hudson 9:57, 16) Ryan Thrasher 9:58, 17) Andy Duenow 10:03, 18) Paul Matyas 10:06, 19 Aven Elsberg 10:16, 20) Allen Hensen 10:28, 21) Chance Newell 10:48, 22) Pelle Meissner 10:49, 23) Kyle Miller 11:07, 24) Jeff Walker 11:10, 25) tie, Larry Wells 11:15 and Matt Sanders 11:15, 27) Tyler Best 11:31, 28) Wesley Furlong 11:34, 29) Soren Sieberts 11:49, 30) Bryan Coffey 11:53, 31) Landon Smith 13:28, 32) Mason Newell 13:52, 33) Samuel Hensen 14:01, 34) Kinkade Bell 15:55.

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