Year leg added to the race: 1973 (one of the original three legs).
Where: From the Shuksan Department of Transportation shed to Riverside Park in Everson.
Course length: About 411/2 miles.
Approximate time to complete: 80 to 90 minutes for 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 race down Mount Baker Highway to Silver Lake Road and then head north to South Pass Road, which they follow into Everson to the exchange point at 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 downhill 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.
2014 top finishers
Men: Ian Baldwin (Beavers Tree Service) 1:25:01
Women: Rosalyn Rombaur (Boundary Bay Women’s Team) 1:37:28
WHAT’S NEW IN 2015
Riding in the peloton: Riders are more likely to feel like they’re in an actual race, rather than just out for a pedal on back-country roads. With only two legs ahead of them this year, and neither involving skis, chances are the field is going to be more tightly packed than usual. Bikers must always be aware of who is around them.
Ready to race: Road bikers have always had the longest wait for their turn, but that is likely to change with only two, relatively quick legs in front of them this year. The top teams could arrive as early as 8:30 a.m., and the slowest teams shouldn’t be more than 30 to 45 minutes behind — much better than the four-hour wait they’ve had in years past.
Mount Baker Highway will be closed at 7:30 a.m. at Canyon Creek Road in 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. The road also will be closed westbound at 7:30 a.m. at Mt. Baker Ski Area’s Heather Meadows Day Lodge. No vehicles will be allowed to travel down the mountain before it reopens, which is expected to be around 9:30 a.m. this year with one fewer leg.
Suggested departure time: 4:45 a.m.
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 also is 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
• 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.