Harris Hill Hustle
Fourth Annual Running Scheduled For Next Sunday
A week from today, the fourth edition of the Harris Hill Hustle mountain bike race will take place just outside of Gerry at the Harris Hill State Forest.
Action will kick off at 10 a.m. and there are scheduled to be three classes of racers: beginners/novice bikers will ride for eight miles, sport bikers will ride for 14 miles and expert bikers will ride for 20 miles.
“Our numbers of participants continue to grow,” event organizer Thom Wright said. “We had 60 the first (year), 70 in the second (year), 82 in the third (year) and we hope to hit 100 racers this year. The race came about after several people from the Buffalo area came down to (the Harris Hill Extension trail) to ride. (Since then) the Single Track Racing promoters saw interest, approached us and we decided to give it a go.”
Interestingly enough, the trail system at Harris Hill was developed and is maintained by volunteers.
“Our local volunteers set up the course and plan the post-race party while Single Track Racing takes care of the insurance, registration, timing and prizes,” Wright explained. “It has been good for the Harris Hill Extension trail system as it gets an increase in financial and volunteer support as it draws in riders from other regions. … Harris Hill Extension has been in development over the last 11 years by a small, but dedicated, group of volunteers who also happen to be mountain bikers. We entered a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement, allowing for the development (and maintenance of) natural surface trails, and we now have over 13 miles of single track. Harris Hill Extension is drawing in riders from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and Rochester.”
Wright also emphasized that several local sponsors have helped the Harris Hill Hustle race continue to grow, including Hollyloft Ski & Bike, Jamestown Skate Products, the Jamestown Cycle Shop, Loud Performance, Bike and Bean in Ellicottville, Just Riding Along in Bradford, as well as the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association and the Northern Allegheny Mountain Bike Association based out of Warren.
In addition, Harris Hill has a variety of other elements for the public to enjoy.
“This year we are close to finishing an additional loop that should add (around) another two miles to the system,” Wright said. “Besides mountain biking, you can find hikers, runners and cross country skiers throughout the four seasons. Two years ago we were able to make improvements to the parking area and hope to continue to increase the ease of enjoying the forest and trails by increasing signage and printing up maps. Many evenings and weekends you will find a half a dozen cars with bike racks.”
For those who may be curious and would like to explore the trails at Harris Hill, Wright suggests that they wait until after Sunday (Aug. 20). Anyone interested can download a map or find additional information at www.harrishillext.com.
Interested bikers can register for the Harris Hill Hustle race until 8 a.m. on race day at www.singletrackracing.com/the-hustle/. Bikers can pre-register online for $35. The day-of cost to register will be $40.