Saturday was the 19th annual and my second riding of the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay (KCIBR). It's a 240km road bike race from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska.
It's quite funny to see how google maps deals with this route, which runs along the Haines Highway. Google maps, when you ask for directions between the two towns, routes you via Vancouver and the Alaska Marine ferry system. According to Google maps, this trip will take you 3 days and 8 hours by car or 8 days and 3 hours if you bike. Ahhh Google. You clearly don't know everything.
Anyhow, we entered the race with the same team members and we all rode the same legs as last year. This time, however, we were 2 hours faster. I guess that's what it means to have good (ie: calm) wind conditions!
Paul had another great ride on legs 1 and 2. Even with a leg cramp and a brief stop to take in some liquid and try to make his calf go back to normal he finished his 58.5km in 1:39 which was 8th position for the 4 person teams.
This group went by us on legs 3 and 4 so quickly that I couldn't get a photo of them from the front! The men's solo riders are at the front of this pack and the guy in red is part of a 4 person team. He's wearing jean cutoffs and is riding with flat pedals. Awesome!
Ben was also faster this year. So fast that I am also lacking in good photos of him riding legs 3 and 4. Maybe this one can be called "artsy"?
I confess that I am a bit disappointed with my own time. It was faster than last year (by 10 minutes) but I really struggled through the last 20km and just could not go faster than about 28km/hour on a consistent basis. And based on the speed improvements made by my team members, I think I should have come in 20 or 25 minutes faster than in 2010. But no big deal - the whole event is still, strangely, a lot of fun.
I was starving by the time I got to the finish line. Paul very kindly had half a watermelon to offer me. That and a beer!
The day ended in the usual fashion: drinking yummy Alaska beer, camping on the Fort Seward Parade Grounds, and generally having a good time with our friends. We are already talking about next year, too. We want to be Team Vuelta de...? (to go along with being Tour de Pants last year and Giro de Beer-o this year). And we might split up into teams of 2 to try longer legs. Carrie and I could ride 1-4 together and then Ben and Paul could ride the second half. Anyhow, lots of options, lots of fun. It's summer in the Yukon after all.
Oh - and more photos on flickr for those of you who might be inclined to see them.