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Black Fly Challenge Bike Race sets records

INLET, N.Y. (WKTV) - The 17th Annual Black Fly Challenge Adirondack Mountain Bike Race on Saturday was a record setting event. The 506 entries and 459 finishers were both Black Fly Challenge records and a new record for fastest finish was set - in a big way.

Eight racers equaled or beat the old race record of 1:53:33. The new standard was set by Men's Champion Cory Burns, who finished in 1:47:37, beating the old record by nearly six minutes.

Women's Champion Ruth Sherman also set a new standard for women's fastest finish with a record time of 2:01:58.

The Black Fly Challenge (a.k.a. BFC) has become an annual ritual for many cycling enthusiasts in the northeastern U.S. and beyond, but its growth trajectory in recent years has firmly planted it in the pantheon of premier Adirondack sporting events.

Now in its 17th year, the BFC has exploded from a small regional cycling event to become 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 for what is certainly one of the most unique bike races in existence.

Over half the 40-mile race goes through the wild and scenic Moose River Recreation Area on gravel roads that give racers traction challenges and plenty of elevation changes. And the mix of bikes in the Black Fly isn't found anywhere else.

It started as a mountain bike race but there is now a large and growing cyclocross category. The race also attracts single-speed bikes, tandem bike teams and in recent years has even had a three-set bike and two unicyclists, which both finished in about 4 hours.

Because the Black Fly attracts everything from casual riders to serious racers the first bikes usually cross the finish line in about 2 hours while the rest of the field may take up to 5 hours. And even though it's a big race it still has that small-town grassroots vibe. It's these characteristics that are the essence of the event.

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