How it works: Road biking leg is built for speed, endurance

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 1, 2012 

THE COURSE

Where: From Shuksan Department of Transportation shed to Riverside Park in Everson.

Course length: Approximately 42 miles.

Approximate time to complete: To be determined, the course is different from past years.

Course description: Though it's one of the fastest legs of the race in terms of speed, the road biking leg is also the longest leg, as the course transitions from the mountain to the back roads of Whatcom County. Riders will race down the Mount Baker Highway to Silver Lake Road and then head north to South Pass Road, which they will follow into Everson to the exchange point in Riverside Park.

Road bike co-race chairs: David and Vicki McLain.

Pre-race meeting: 8 a.m. at the Shuksan Department of Transportation shed.

Timing chip: Receive the chip from the runner, bike to Everson and pass the chip to the canoeists. The canoeists will swipe the chip to record the time for the end of the biking leg. The road biker does not swipe the chip at either end of the leg.

WHAT'S NEW

The course: Rather than heading down Kendall Road to South Pass Road, the course will get off the Mount Baker Highway a little earlier by using Silver Lake Road. The original reason for making the change was to add four miles to the leg to help with reaching the goal of making the overall race 100 miles for the 100th anniversary of the first Mount Baker Marathon, but the race committee sees this as a possible change that racers like so much it will become permanent.

TRAVEL AND VIEWING ADVICE

Mount Baker Highway will be closed at 7:30 a.m. at Canyon Creek Road, Glacier, going east toward the mountain. Any viewers, participants or additional support vehicles that want to go to the top of the mountain must pass Canyon Creek Road before then.

Bikes and bikers will be required to unload at the parking lot three-quarters of a mile past the DOT snow shed exchange area on the north side of the road. There will be a no stopping zone on the Mount Baker Highway two miles in each direction of the Shuksan DOT station to help expedite racers to the ski area. Race officials will disqualify teams that stop on the highway to unload bikes or bikers.

Best place to watch the leg: Maple Falls, where spectators can watch bikers make the turn from Mount Baker Highway to Silver Lake Road. The exchange point at the end of the leg is also a good choice, as bikers whip around the last turn and try to find their teammate for the handoff to start the canoeing leg.

TIPS FOR THE RACE

• Road bikers have the longest wait of the competitors heading up the Mount Baker Highway before the starting leg. Runners on the best teams start arriving about 11 a.m., so the majority of competitors will have a three-hour wait before they actually race.

• A helmet is required. Other than that, clothing varies, but keep it loose. Weather usually changes during the ride as the day progresses.

• 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.

• Bring energy food to eat two or three times during the ride. One or two water bottles should provide enough hydration.

• If there's rain on race day, be cautious of slippery pavement.

• Make sure to follow all traffic rules.

TOP GUNS

Male winners

2008: Richard Feldman (Barron Heating) 1:13:70

2009: Chris Teufel (Bagelry) 1:14.34

2010: Sam Johnson (Boss Construction) 1:13:36

* 2011: Dan Harm (Barron Heating) 1:22:55

Female winners

2008: Robin Secrist (Boundary Bay Brewery) 1:23:46

2009: Adrian Hegyvary (Barron Heating) 1:15:00

2010: Robin Secrist (Boundary Bay Brewery) 1:19:12

* 2011: Jennifer Wheeler (Boundary Bay Brewery) 1:31:51

* Different course was used in 2011

SOURCE: Ski to Sea

Reach KIE RELYEA atkie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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