How it works: Mountain biking leg longer, muddier

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 1, 2012 

THE COURSE

Where: From Hovander Homestead Park outside Ferndale to Squalicum Harbor.

Course length: Approximately 20 miles

Approximate time to complete: To be determined (first year course has been run).

Course description: Riders take the handoff from the canoeists at Hovander Homestead Park and head into Ferndale and loop behind Haggen. Riders will then take to the back roads and trails to cross Smith and Slater roads, cut through some Bellingham International Airport property and follow Marine Drive to Squalicum Creek Park. The course then will follow old railroad tracks to Roeder Avenue and take riders down to Squalicum Harbor. Along the way, there will be multiple off-road features, including barricades to climb over, bridges to cross and other obstacles for riders.

Mountain bike co-race chairs: John Burley and Pete Rensink.

Pre-race meeting: 11:30 a.m. at Hovander Homestead Park at the sandbar on the river.

Timing chip: The mountain biker receives the timing chip from the canoeist, swipes the chip to record the finish time for the canoe leg, rides to Squalicum Harbor and passes the chip to the kayaker. The kayaker will swipe the chip to record the finish time for the leg.

WHAT'S NEW

The course: The mountain biking leg was completely redesigned for the 2009 race, making it five miles longer and more challenging for everyone. There is less asphalt, more mud, more dirt, more obstacles and a whole lot more fun. With the push to make the entire race 100 miles on the 100th anniversary of the Mount Baker Marathon, five new loops were added to the course in 2011 to make it about five miles longer. Nothing like a little more dirt and mud!

TRAVEL AND VIEWING ADVICE

With some of the course on roads, there are sure to be some roads that cross the race course. Watch for competitors and follow instructions from police and volunteers to maximize safety for everyone.

Best place to watch the leg: There are plenty of places to watch along the new mountain biking course. Perhaps the best place is along the Marine Drive trail system as riders near the end of their leg.

TIPS FOR THE RACE

• Be ready as your teammate approaches. Mountain bikers are responsible for swiping the timing chip to record the finish time for the canoeing leg.

• Mountain bikers may help canoeists carry the canoe from the river to the finish line.

• Riders are responsible for knowing the course, which will be marked and well staffed with volunteers on race day. Much of the course is on private property. Pre-runs only will be allowed from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 26.

• Helmets are mandatory.

• Ride low on the bike, much like a road biker, to help increase speed.

• Bikes should be cleaned, lubed and otherwise readied for the race. Tires should be inflated to the correct pressure. Bike inspections will be available on race day.

TOP GUNS

Male winners

2008: David Fleischhauer (Nitropaced) 28:06*

2009: Ricky Federau (Clippercanoes.com) 42:09

2010: Logan Wetzel (Runningshoes.com) 43:56

2011: Logan Wetzel (Klicks Running & Walking) 59:15*

Female winners

2008: Kristenn Magnusson (Chicks Josh Knows) 34:18*

2009: Joele Guynup (Chicks Josh Knows) 49:36

2010: Nicola Mann (Kulshan Cycles) 56:31

2011: Courtenay McFadden (CrossFit X) 1:13:32*

* Course used in 2008 was five miles shorter than the course that was used in 2009 and 2010. Another five miles was added in 2011.

SOURCE: SKI TO SEA

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