This year's Tour of Juneau three-day stage race cycling event has featured some new twists - a new hill-climb course and format, a slightly longer individual time trial and a first-time entrant from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, who is dominating the field.
Scott Stevens won Friday's hill-climb and Saturday's time trial stages to lead the men's Tour overall standings with 120 points - 60 points for each victory - going into today's final stage, a 37.5-mile road race along Glacier Highway.
Tara Jeans of Juneau was the top women's finisher in both stages, also taking 120 points into the final day.
Stevens, 21, won the hill climb - relocated to Blueberry Hills Road due to construction at the old location, the road to Eaglecrest Ski Area - with a time of 5 minutes, 26 seconds, even though he was one of three riders who had to backtrack after making a wrong turn.
On Saturday, Stevens won the 10.2-mile time trial in 23:22. His time was more than a minute ahead of the second-place finisher and five seconds better than the time trial record, set last year by Sitka's Gary Smith on a course that was three-tenths of a mile shorter than this year's stage.
Stevens' performance here comes on the heels of victories in the Tour of Anchorage last weekend and at the Tour de Whitehorse two weeks ago. A win in this event would give him what Tour organizer Dave Ringle labeled the "Triple Crown" of arctic cycling.
Sitka's Brent Peters was in second place in the men's standings with 106 points, followed by Juneau's Julian Deiss with 97 points. Sheila Good was in second in the women's standings with 110 points.
Friday's hill climb followed a grueling course that started at the base of Sitka Street. It traveled up Sitka, turned left on Nowell Avenue, right on Cordova Street and left on Pioneer Avenue. The racers then followed the switchbacks to the end of the pavement on Jackson Road. Racers left the starting line in 30-second intervals.
Whitehorse riders Stevens, Mike McCann and Daniel Sessford missed the last turn from Blueberry Hills Road to Jackson Road and had to backtrack. Stevens still won, followed by Peters in 5:40 and Deiss in 5:42. Jeans finished in 7:11.
"It was a good hill," Stevens said. "Definitely a challenge."
Stevens said the Tour of Juneau hill climb was tougher than the one in the Tour of Anchorage because the streets of West Juneau had many variances in grade, while the Anchorage stage was a steady climb.
Rob Welton of Juneau, who finished 14th in the hill climb and is 15th in the overall standings, said the initial sprint up Sitka Street was not too bad - at first.
"You don't feel it until a block later when your legs begin to tighten," he said. "It's that last (hill) up Pioneer when your legs get tired and it gets steeper and steeper."
Saturday's time trial started at the parking lot at 12 Mile North Douglas Highway, went to the Eaglecrest bus turnaround near the turnoff to the ski area, then returned via the same route. As on Friday, racers left the start at 30-second intervals.
The damp conditions likely slowed the times, but did not prevent Stevens from setting the record. Trailing Stevens were McCann, in 24:40 and Peters in 25:20. Jeans finished the time trial in 28:17.
Cheryl Levitt, who joined the Tour on Saturday and finished third among women in the time trial, said she enjoyed the conditions.
"It was a great day for cycling - not too hot, and the rain stayed off," she said.
Ringle - 16th in the hill climb, 11th in the time trial and 14th overall - said it's tough to combine the desire to finish fast in each stage with the need to conserve energy for the next day.
"In a three-day race you want to go as hard as possible, but you've got to keep your legs for all three days," he said.
The Tour of Juneau will finish today with a 37.5-mile road race that starts at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal, goes out Glacier Highway to 33 Mile, turns around and finishes at Auke Village Recreation Area via Lena Loop Road. The stage includes three special sprints where riders can earn extra points.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
JUNEAU FREEWHEELERS TOUR OF JUNEAU
Results from the first two stages of the three-stage Tour of Juneau cycling stage race sponsored by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. Friday's first stage was a hill climb from the south end of the Douglas Bridge to the top of Jackson Road in the Blueberry Hills subdivision. Saturday's second stage was a 10.2-mile individual time trial on North Douglas Highway from Mile 12 to the Eaglecrest bus turnaround and back. Sunday's final stage is a 37.5-mile road race along Glacier Highway and Lena Loop Road, starting at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal at 10 a.m.
Overall point standings after two of three stages
1. Scott Stevens, 120 points; 2. Brent Peters, 106; 3. Julian Deiss, 97; 4. Mike McCann, 95; 5. Daniel Sessford, 93; 6. Chris Scholes, 88; 7. Chris Chiles, 85; 8. Dave Harju, 84; 9. Joe Sorenson, 82; 10. Jerome McIntyre, 81; 11. Steve Box, 80; 12. Bryan Bollinger, 78; 13. Hans Moser, 77; 14. Dave Ringle, 76; 15. Rob Welton, 72; 16. Terry Ward, 68; 17. Bill Curtis, 66; 18. Evan Twelker, 63; 19. Jan Kriegal, 62; 20. Jeff Donaldson, 57; 21. Ryan Siverly, 55; 22. Karl Twelker, 54; 23. Heath Jabs, 48; 24. Dale McFarlin, 43; 25. Fritz Moser, 40; 26. Greg Pease, 26.
1. Tara Jeans, 120; 2. Sheila Good, 110; 3. Ritchie Sonner, 51; 4. Cheryl Levitt, 48.
False Outer Point Time Trial
1. Scott Stevens, 23 minutes, 22 seconds; 2. Mike McCann, 24:40; 3. Brent Peters, 25:20; 4. Heath Jabs, 25:32; 5. Julian Deiss, 25:57; 6. Dave Harju, 26:33; 7. Daniel Sessford, 26:33; 8. Joe Sorenson, 26:34; 9. Chris Scholes, 26:37; 10. Bryan Bollinger, 26:42; 11. Dave Ringle, 27:05; 12. Fritz Moser, 27:08; 13. Jerome McIntyre, 27:13; 14. Chris Chiles, 27:13; 15. Steve Box, 27:23; 16. Terry Ward, 27:33; 17. Hans Moser, 27:49; 18. Rob Welton, 27:59; 19. Frank Rue, 28:20; 20. Bill Curtis, 29:11; 21. Evan Twelker 29:18; 22. Jeff Donaldson 29:29; 23. Jan Kriegal 29:47; 24. Greg Pease 29:48; 25. Ryan Siverly 29:56; 26. Karl Twelker 30:56.
1. Tara Jeans, 28:17; 2. Ritchie Sonner 30:27; 3. Cheryl Levitt 30:51; 4. Sheila Good 32:53.
Blueberry Hills Climb
1. Scott Stevens, 5:26; 2. Brent Peters, 5:40; 3. Julian Deiss, 5:42; 4. Daniel Sessford 5:49; 5. Chris Chiles, 6:06; 6. Chris Scholes, 6:13; 7. Jerome McIntyre 6:15; 8. Dale McFarlin, 6:18; 9. Steve Box, 6:20; 10. Hans Moser, 6:29; 11. Mike McCann, 6:30; 12. Dave Harju, 6:31; 13. Joe Sorenson, 6:33; 14. Rob Welton, 6:34; 15. Bryan Bollinger; 16. Dave Ringle, 6:48; 17. Bill Curtis, 7:14; 18. Jan Kriegal, 7:15; 19. Evan Twelker, 7:18; 20. Terry Ward, 7:27; 21. Karl Twelker, 7:28; 22. Frank Rue, 7:30; 23. Ryan Siverly, 7:56; 24. Jeff Donaldson, 8:30.
1. Tara Jeans, 7:11; 2. Sheila Good, 8:44