Cross-country biking breakdown: Tips for the race, viewing advice

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 18, 2014 

Ski to Sea MB

Scot Gause of 12 year old moustache navigates the trails and gravel paths at Little Squalicum Park during the mountain bike leg of the 2013 Ski to Sea Race.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

THE COURSE

Year leg added to the race: 1991.

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

Course length: About 12 miles.

Approximate time to complete: About 45 minutes for the top competitors, more than an hour for everybody else.

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 Mo Stewart.

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

Back on track: The railroad tracks are back, so make sure you have any loose dental work fixed before race day. The race plans to put gravel in between the ties to reduce how bumpy the ride is, but Race Director Pete Coy says anybody choosing to ride a Cyclocross bike - this is the second year they are allowed - may wish they hadn't at that point. The course has also been slightly modified to create a safer angle to cross some railroad tracks near Squalicum Harbor.

Losing a loop: A new loop that was added behind Bellingham International Airport has been taken away because many riders found it a little too difficult.

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 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 will be allowed only from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 24.

-- 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.

2013 TOP FINISHERS

Men: Russell Stevenson (Barron Heating) 40:37

Women: Anne Gonzales (A Gift of Dance/Fast and Female) 50:16

SOURCE: SKI TO SEA

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service