Barron Heating wins Ski to Sea; Beavers Tree Service tops in county

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 26, 2013 

Barron Heating won the 2013 Ski to Sea race Sunday, May 26. Its kayaker finished the seventh and final leg of the relay race well ahead of all other competition.

Barron has won 11 times since 1996, including last year.

Second place had some controversy. Team Aeromech crossed the finish line behind Barron, but the timing results online had not recorded that team's first two leg times. As a result, Aeromech was not listed among the top racers.

That appeared to be one of the timing problems that developed during the race. Some chips did not read properly, throwing off a few results. And there was a huge lag in times posting from the final two legs of the race.

Race Director Pete Coy said the new timing company has multiple backups in place. While some times might not be displaying properly in the live-time results, the systems would correct them by the end of the day, he said.

The battle for Whatcom County bragging rights was a fight to the finish between Beavers Tree Service and Klicks Running and Walking. The two teams were side by side at the end of the mountain bike leg for the handoff to the final leg. Kayaker Brandon Nelson of Beavers edged Kirk Christensen of Klicks to take the victory in the Whatcom County Open division.

The Boundary Bay Women continued their domination of the Competitive Female division. Their team won that category for the 14th straight year.

While the first finishers said the rain was no problem for them, others weren't so happy with Mother Nature. Many skiers struggled through slushy conditions on the mountain. And the rain made the stairs section of the mountain bike course so slippery that organizers rerouted the course and shortened it about half a mile. Mountain bike leg co-chairman John Burley said the stairs section not far from the leg finish at Squalicum Harbor was just too dangerous.

The Nooksack River whirlpool known as Hell's Kitchen was causing its usual trouble, dumping some canoes in the water, according to reports posted on Twitter.

Bellingham Bay was unusually smooth and calm, making it a quick run for the kayakers. Winds are supposed to pick up a bit during the afternoon, so later teams may find it more difficult.

Nearly 500 teams, from Olympic athletes to groups of friends, are competing this year. Those not competing can view along the course or check out the party in Fairhaven known as the Fairhaven Festival.

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