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The Juneau Freewheelers will open the local cycling season tonight with the 10-mile False Outer Point Time Trial.
The race, which is actually a little bit longer than 10 miles along the North Douglas Highway, starts at 6:30 p.m. The time trial is an individual race against the clock since cyclists leave the starting line in 30-second intervals.
``We'll run it either way, but just the hard-core riders will show up if it rains,'' race director Becky Fischer said. ``We expect about a dozen to 20 or two dozen riders.''
Because it's the first race of the season, Fischer suggested racers show up at least an early to register and fill out insurance forms. Each individual race this season costs $5 to enter, plus there is an annual dues fee of $10 ($15 for families) for the Juneau Freewheelers. Racers also need to purchase U.S. Cycling Federation licenses for road races or National Off-Road Bicycle Association licenses for mountain bike races (both licenses are $35 for the season, $15 for youth riders and $5 for single-day events). Helmets must be worn for all Juneau Freewheelers races.
Tonight's race kicks off a season that features 14 different events, capped by the four-day Tour of Juneau stage race Aug. 2-5. Included this year are several fun rides, mountain bike races, road races and even two duathlons (run-bike-run events), which are new to the schedule this season.
``There are a lot of new riders in town, and it will be interesting this year because (perennial top Juneau racers) Tony Jacobson and Dan and Julie Graves have all said they'll be more serious this year,'' said Dave Ringle, who produces the club's newsletter. ``We've had a lot of people take Jessica Menendez's spinning class (at the Juneau Racquet Club), and at the end of last year we were starting to get a few of those at our races. The spinning club is a great way to get a (conditioning) base for the road races.''
The schedule also features the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay on June 17, a 154-mile relay from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, to Haines, Alaska. The relay race, which has a registration postmark deadline of May 15, is for teams of two, four and eight riders, and this year solo racers will be allowed on the course for the first time. The race fee is $33 (U.S. funds) and Ringle has more information at 790-7249.
``The Kluane race has more than 1,000 people and it's a good way to get people excited about road racing,'' Ringle said.