The York 38 Special Mountain Bike Race will be held on August 20, 2022 in Helena, Montana. The race is in its 20th year, and is full of spectacular scenery. Helena is considered to be one of the best kept secrets in the country when it comes to the world of mountain biking, and for good reason. Dozens of miles of trails weave through the town and around it, ensuring a diverse variety of options for riders at any skill level. Rated as a silver level destination by the International Mountain Biking Association, Helena is the perfect spot for your next biking excursion.
We asked organizer Joelle Selk about the event.
Cycling West: Tell us about the course. What are some highlights that riders will see? Is it single track, fire road, a mix? What are the distance options?
York 38: The course is a mix of gravel, rough USFS two track roads, and single track. The course climbs 3,000 feet up to Hogback Mountain, then drops rapidly into Trout Creek Canyon for the single-track section.
There are three course options, the traditional Trout Creek route which includes three miles of challenging single track in the stunning Trout Creek Canyon; the Bear Trap route, which adds an additional 2,000 foot climb and descent within the 38-mile course; or the double-loop “Spirit of 76” race.
Cycling West: What type of bike will riders need? Is a mountain bike or a gravel bike best?
York 38: A mountain bike with suspension is best. This course will beat the crap out of you on a gravel bike.
Cycling West: Where can people stay if they travel to the event? Is there camping nearby?
York 38: Dispersed camping is available on USFS lands or Bureau of Reclamation campgrounds around Canyon Ferry Lake. Established campgrounds remain consistently full throughout the summer, and one cannot be guaranteed availability. Participants are otherwise encouraged to get a hotel room well in advance, as the Helena area has a very busy tourist and hunting season which extends into the fall months.
Cycling West: When the event is over, what are some of the other activities nearby? Are there attractions for families too?
York 38: Helena is certainly a vacation destination, with Canyon Ferry Lake and the Missouri River nearby for water sports and fishing. Gates of the Mountain boat tours on the Missouri River offer a historical perspective of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Helena offers many weekend activities, including the Farmer’s Market and music on the Downtown Walking Mall.
Cycling West: Tell us about the history of the area? What are some of the highlights?
York 38: Helena was originally a mining boomtown beginning with a gold strike in 1864. After the gold played out, entrepreneurs established it as a financial center, and in 1874, it was named the Montana territorial capital. By 1888, there were around 50 millionaires living in Helena, which was more per capita compared to any other cities in the world. Over time, Helena became an agricultural center, later expanding to a governmental center, and finally to a more diverse community focused on outdoor recreation. With the surrounding mountains, Helena is located in a great area for fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and skiing.
Cycling West: The ride is a fundraiser for York Fire and Rescue. Tell us about the organization, and what you do.
York 38: York Fire and Rescue is a small community-based volunteer fire department in the Big Belt Mountains, surrounded by Helena National Forest Service land. Currently we have 18 firefighters on our roster, 5 of which are also EMTs. Our service area is approximately 200 sq. miles with approximately 800 year-round residents. Because of the mountainous terrain, lakes, river and streams, this is a heavily utilized recreation area. Our fire crew provides structure and wildland fire protection and rescue services for the residents and recreationists within our service area.
August 20 — York 38 Special, York, MT, Ride 38 or 76 miles on single track, gravel, and Forest Service roads through breathtaking scenery in the Helena National Forest gaining 3,000 vertical feet!, York Fire Rescue , [email protected], york38special.org