Hundreds head north for Kluane

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003

More than 1,000 cyclists - including several hundred from Juneau - will take to the scenic Haines Highway on Saturday for the 11th annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay.

At of Tuesday, race organizers reported that 215 teams - more than 1,150 riders - had registered for this year's race. The eight-stage race covers all 148 miles of the Haines Highway, starting in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory and finishing up at the Old Fort Seward parade grounds in Haines.

From Haines Junction, the race skirts the edge of Kluane National Park, goes along the edge of scenic Dezadeash Lake and passes the Tatshenshini River valley. After climbing up and over Chilkat Pass and passing the U.S. Customs station, riders zip down the valleys of the Klehini and Chilkat Rivers into Haines.

The race features divisions for teams of eight, four or two riders, as well as solo entrants. There are men's, women's and mixed divisions.

Saturday's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and a chance for rain on the course.

Last year's race was run under beautiful conditions, with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70s in Haines. The Bleeding Seabird Flavour four-man team won in a race-record time of 5 hours, 55 minutes, 55 seconds. The team, comprised of Whitehorse riders Paul Christensen and Mike McCann, Henry Irving of Fairbanks and Dan Harrington of Haines finished the course just 20 seconds ahead of solo rider Scott Stevens of Whitehorse.

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