Ok, so we share it with Alaska, but it starts in the Yukon. And I hope you’ve already submitted your registration for this year’s June 15 race.
There was a lot of pouting today in my workplace when I mentioned that registration for the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay (KCIBR) was already closed because they’d reached their limit of 1,200 riders just three weeks after registration opened on March 15th.
Whether you are hardcore, like Nadele Flynn, who last year rode 250 km solo and placed first amongst all the women’s teams, or one of the recreational 8-person teams whose goal is simply to see how much fun can be had over the course of a weekend, the KCIBR is the premier fun-and-athletic event of the summer.
The event starts in Haines Junction, Yukon and goes up and over the summit on the Haines Highway, then barrels down to follow the Chilkat River into Haines, Alaska.
Though the difference in elevation between the start of the race and its highest point is only around 460 metres, that doesn’t tell the real story. As the race travels along the highway and up and down through the mountain passes, the total elevation gain over the 250 kilometres is closer to 1,600 metres.
The finish line is right next to the Fort Seward parade ground, which is converted into a communal campground. That’s where the celebration begins.
Whether riders and support crews gather in lawn chairs around their tents and barbecues or visit the local watering holes, the party takes advantage of the extended daylight and the bars that don’t close early.
For everyone to reach this post-race bliss, volunteers work for many weeks. Groups from Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Haines do everything from stuffing entry packages, to staffing checkpoints. Finally, they prepare dinner for over 1,200 people and crunch the numbers to determine results.
The KCIBR organization supports these community groups by providing cash donations of more than $13,000 in return for their work. These groups and the board prove their love of the event by coming back year after year.
The KCIBR may be the biggest local cycling event, but it is not the only one. If you missed the registration give a thought to entering your team in the 6th Annual Southern Lakes Bike Loppet on July 27— a 173 km timed race that starts and ends at the Marsh Lake Community Centre, travelling the loop through Carcross and Tagish.
It is a 5-leg race and has three categories for both men, women and mixed, 1-person, 2-person and 3 to 5-person teams.
After all, any ride is better than no ride.