Year leg added to the race: 1991.
Where: From Hovander Homestead Park outside Ferndale to Squalicum Harbor.
Course length: About 13 miles.
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Approximate time to complete: About 40-45 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 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 heads to Roeder Avenue and takes 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 to challenge riders on the relatively flat course.
Cross-country bike chair: John Burley.
Course consultant: Jeff Cummings.
Pre-race meeting: 10:30 a.m. at Hovander Homestead Park at the sandbar on the river.
Timing chip: The cross-country biker receives the timing chip from the canoeists, 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.
2014 Top Finishers
Men: Gage Hecht (Team Aeromech) 38:05
Women: Courtenay McFadden (Kulshan Cycles) 44:58
WHAT’S NEW IN 2015
Options: Almost since its inception, mountain bikers have wished there could actually be a mountain in what was formerly known as the mountain biking leg. While the cross-country biking leg will follow the same course as usual, the cancellation of the skiing legs opened opportunities to add an honest-to-goodness mountain biking leg to the race, giving riders a opportunity to pedal uphill to their heart’s delight.
Bye-bye bumps: The old railroad ties that have shaken the fillings of many cross-country bikers the past seven years are gone, as Ski to Sea has smoothed out the course to make a true cross-country course. Also gone is a loop behind Bellingham International Airport, shortening the course by just a bit.
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.
Suggested departure time: 9:30 a.m.
Best place to watch the leg: There are plenty of places to watch along the cross-country 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. Cross-county bikers are responsible for swiping the timing chip to record the finish time for the canoeing leg.
• Cross-country bikers can 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 Saturday, May 23. Use caution, as pre-runs will be unguided and will not have law enforcement at road crossings.
• Helmets are mandatory.
• Ride low on the bike, much like a road biker, to 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.