Ski to Sea

Aeromech comes across Ski to Sea line, but winner still unclear

The canoe team from Aeromech was the first to pull into Hovander Homestead Park near Ferndale during the 2015 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 24.
The canoe team from Aeromech was the first to pull into Hovander Homestead Park near Ferndale during the 2015 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 24. The Bellingham Herald

Aeromech Sensible Technology crossed the finish line first in the 2015 Ski to Sea race, but a train delay means the winner is not yet clear.

The mountain bike racer for the team in second place, Boundary Bay Brewery men, got stuck at the start of the final leg when a freight train came through Fairhaven, blocking the way to the mountain biking course. Officials have said they will make timing adjustments for any team that gets delayed by a train.

If the Boundary biker made up the difference during the last leg, Boundary would win.

Team Aeromech finished second last year to the Boundary Bay men. Aeromech has never won Ski to Sea. Boundary men won the overall race last year, and the Boundary women won the women's division.

Team Deinonychus won the recreational open division, according to initial, unofficial results. Klicks Running & Walking crossed first in the Whatcom County open division, ending a two-year streak by Beavers Tree Service in the division.

Official results are not in yet. Results online and in the Ski to Sea app had errors. Race officials expect to have all the times and winners worked out by 6 p.m.

While the top teams were finishing the seven-leg relay race, many teams were still on the fourth leg. The slow river is expected to a challenge for the less experienced and less fit canoeists. Race organizers told those in the canoe leg to "paddle hard" all the way because the Nooksack is moving so slowly. The speed is so slow that the normal whirlpools and other trouble spots don't exist this year.

Race organizers want everyone starting on the canoe leg as quickly as possible, given that it could take some teams an extra two hours or more to complete it with the slow river. Also, organizers plan to give new timing chips to some of the cross-country cyclists and send them off before their team's canoe comes in, to keep them moving in the relay. Times would be combined later.

The race, which covers roughly 99 1/2 miles, started at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, May 24, with a new alpine run, one of two new legs to replace the skiing legs canceled by lack of snow. The other new leg is the final one this year - mountain biking.

Kayak has been moved to the sixth leg. While the weather was perfect for other legs - not to hot, not too sunny and no rain - it could be a problem for the kayakers. The water is choppy, with swells at 1.5 feet. The water tends to get worse as the afternoon wears on, so there is concern the course might need to be altered at some point during the race, as has happened in some past years.

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