Road biking breakdown: What's new, tips for the race, viewing advice

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 16, 2014 

Sk ito Sea Winners

The road bike leg is the longest in the Ski to Sea Race, covering 42 miles from Mount Baker Highway to Everson.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

THE COURSE

Year leg added to the race: 1973 (one of the original three).

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

Course length: About 42 miles.

Approximate time to complete: 80 to 90 minutes for the top competitors, more than two hours for everyone else

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 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 race co-chairs: David and Vicki McLain.

Pre-race meeting: 7:45 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 the beginning or end of the leg.

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 Shuksan DOT shed exchange area on the north side of the road. There will be a no-stopping zone on 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 along the Mount Baker Highway. Runners on the best teams start arriving about 9 a.m., so the majority of competitors will have a long wait before they 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.

2013 TOP FINISHERS

Men: Scott Alexander (Beavers Tree Service) 1:23.30

Women: Rosalyn Zylkowski (Boundary Bay Women's Team) 1:29.44

SOURCE: SKI TO SEA

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