After a bumpy 2008 Ski to Sea Race that saw the cancellation of the canoeing leg and the shortening of the kayaking leg because of weather-related unsafe conditions, the race committee hoped for a smoother race in 2009.
Mission accomplished - well, for the most part. The canoeing and kayaking legs returned to normal, but the leg wedged in between - the mountain biking leg - got significantly bumpier.
The leg was forced off a dyke along the Nooksack River it had used for part of its traditional route from Hovander Park outside Ferndale to Zuanich Park in Bellingham. The race committee initially toyed with switching the mountain biking and running legs to put the bikes on the mountain and get the runners off the infamous downhill that has made the leg the most notorious of the seven in Ski to Sea disciplines. But when those plans fell through, the mountain biking leg was completely retooled, adding five miles in length and numerous off-road obstacles, including more dirt, mud and jumps.
Rider response, according to the race committee, was almost unanimously positive, and there are no major changes planned for the 2010 mountain biking leg.
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It didn't matter what course was run for the Bagelry, which won the overall Ski to Sea title for the second straight year with a time of five hours, 45 minutes, 51 seconds.
By backing up its title, Bagelry team members believed they removed an asterisk next to their 2008 win left by the race-day changes the race committee was forced to make.
"We didn't just want to win it the year that there was an asterisk by it because they didn't run the canoe leg, " Bagelry mountain biker Adam Schwind said. "We were really motivated by that. This was kind of a statement race for us. I think we're still flying beneath the radar a little bit because Barron (Heating) and Clippercanoes.com are always stacked, but this is a fast team."
It was actually Schwind who overtook Barron Heating, which held a slim lead entering the new mountain biking leg, and team captain team captain Jeff Hilburn was able to hold the lead through the full-length kayaking leg.
The Boundary Bay Brewery team won the Competitive Women's title for the sixth straight year and the ninth time in the past 10 races in 6:32.35, while RunningShoes.com won the Whatcom County Open title in 6:04:54.
|Competitive Female||Boundary Bay Brewery||6:32:29|
|Competitive Mixed||SSC You Call, We Haul||7:18:16|
|Whatcom County Open||RunningShoes.com||6:04:48|
|Whatcom County Female||Kulshan Cycles||6:53:20|
|Whatcom County Mixed||RE/MAX Whatcom County, Inc.||6:47:08|
|Recreational Female||Venus Envy||8:43:23|
|Recreational Mixed||Aunt Janie's Roadtrip||7:53:28|
|High School||Made in the Methow||7:33:08|
|Veterans||Win or Die||6:23:56|
|Family||Moore Heckrodts On the Way||7:42:10|
|Corporate||Washington State Patrol Iron Bears||7:17:11|
|Year||First place||Time||Second place||Third place||Top Whatcom County (overall)|
|2009||Bagelry||5:45:43*||Barron Heating||Clippercanoes.com||RunningShoes.com (6th)|
|2008||Bagelry||5:29:26+||Barron Heating||Clippercanoes.com||Beavers Tree Service (4th)|
|2007||ClipperCanoes.com||5:43:08||Barron Heating||TeamForACause.com||RunningShoes.com (4th)|
|2006||Barron Heating Open||5:46:05||clippercanoes.com||TeamForACause.com||Beaver's Tree Service (4th)|
|2005||Barron Heating Open||5:37:40||Clipper Canoes||Binyon County||Binyon County (3rd)|
|2004||Barron Heating Open||5:32:37||Win's Drive-In||Moving & Storage Solutions||Beaver's Tree Service (5th)|
|2003||Barron Heating Masters||5:35.20||Barron Heating Open||Win's Drive-In||Beaver's Tree Service (4th)|
|2002||Win's Drive-In||5:28:47||Barron Heating Open||Barron Heating Masters||Beaver's Tree Service (4th)|
|2001||Barron Heating Open||5:39:44||Win's Drive-In||Beaver's Tree Service||Beaver's Tree Service (3rd)|
|2000||Barron Heating Open||5:28:13||Team Win's 2000||Clipper Canoes||Beaver's Tree Service (4th)|
|* Revamped, 14-mile mountain biking leg first used.|
|+ Canoeing leg cancelled due to fast river conditions (two hours added to each team's time), and kayaking leg shortened due to high afternoon winds.|