Neil Beltchenko grew up in Libertyville, Illinois. In highscool he was obsessed with camping gear and started to get into backpacking. That love of the outdoors brought him up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he attended school at Northern Michigan University. That didn’t last long as he seeked bigger and better things. After taking a National Outdoors Leadership School semester in Washington he transported to the Gunnison Valley to attend Western State College in January of 2008. He studied Outdoor Leadership and Resort Management and graduated in December of 2010.
After college he moved up to Crested Butte where things started to take shape. He was on a mountain bike very little until he rented a bike one day from Peak Sports up in Mt. Crested Butte. Since then biking has been his passion. 2012 was a year of exploration and adventure in and around the Crested Butte area by bike. Last August he through-biked the Colorado Trail with a friend in 10 days. In the fall he participated in his first race, The Crested Butte Classic, where he finished 5th place overall.
Neil decided he wanted to take a stab at the race scene, mainly endurance races. He started the 2013 race schedule with the Arizona Trail Race 300 mile version. After a broken fork and a detour into Tucson he finished in a time of 2 days and 21 hours taking 6th place overall. Neil has also participated in a few other races so far this summer. The Kokopelli Trail Race on May 18th was completed in 143 miles 15 hours and 27 minutes, taking first place. The Original Growler was Neil’s first race with Team GO and he finished 24th overall and 5th in his age group. Salidas Big Friggin loop was his latest race, where he finished 107 miles and 12,500 feet of elevation gain in 9 hours and 27 minutes, taking 4th place.
After a June filled with weddings and fun, Neil will be heading to Durango on July 20th for the Colorado Trail Race start. This is the race he is looking forward to the most this summer. He will also be racing the Vapor Trail as well as the Crested Butte Classic. His goals for the future are to attempt the Arizona Trail Race, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail Race in a single season. However, he really enjoys the century races because he can enjoy the luxury of sleeping in a bed. Check out his blog where he shares all his race reports and stories.