Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea recap: Bagelry repeats in '09 on full-length, reworked course

Kayakers Jeff Hilburn of team Bagelry, left, and Robert Clegg of team Barron Heating shake hands at the end of the 2009 Ski to Sea, on May 24, 2009.
Kayakers Jeff Hilburn of team Bagelry, left, and Robert Clegg of team Barron Heating shake hands at the end of the 2009 Ski to Sea, on May 24, 2009. MARK MALIJAN | FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

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.

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 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 won the Whatcom County Open title in 6:04:54.

Division Team Time
Open Bagelry 5:45:43
Competitive Female Boundary Bay Brewery 6:32:29
Competitive Mixed SSC You Call, We Haul 7:18:16
Whatcom County Open 6:04:48
Whatcom County Female Kulshan Cycles 6:53:20
Whatcom County Mixed RE/MAX Whatcom County, Inc. 6:47:08
Recreational Open Unorthodocs 6:47:45
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
Masters Samuel's Furniture 6:13:19
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 (6th)
2008 Bagelry 5:29:26+ Barron Heating Beavers Tree Service (4th)
2007 5:43:08 Barron Heating (4th)
2006 Barron Heating Open 5:46:05 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.
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