Early registration fills up Kluane bike race
Resident Kate Boor, who has pedaled the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay 18 times, will ride in the 20th race June 16, but other longtime racers were left hoping to fill cancellations after early registration reached the 1,200-participant race capacity May 11.
“I barely got it. We only had seven people (for an eight-person team) but I thought, ‘I’m going to go ahead and register. I’ll ride the last leg if I have to,’” Boor said this week.
Mike Gladish, co-organizer of the event, said he’s already fielded one appeal from a rider disappointed at missing the sign-up and heard a few complaints. “I expect that to grow.”
A limit of 1,200 riders was set 10 years ago, but wasn’t strictly enforced. Last year, organizers also restricted the number of eight-person teams to 95.
The early sell-out this year is a puzzle, he said. “Nobody is really sure why. I guess it’s just a combination of things. The 20th anniversary might have some appeal. Some of the riders from the first few relays maybe wanted to come back.”
The racer limit is aimed at course safety. “The main concern is vehicle traffic, and because of that, rider safety,” Gladish said.
Chip Lende is a member of the race’s board and a longtime member of Haines’ most competitive team. “Because Haines is so much more familiar with the race (participants in Haines) weren’t concerned. It’s never sold out and this is still five weeks before the race. It’s still winter.”
Gladish said it would be up to the race’s board to decide if there were to be any exceptions to the 1,200-participant limit. In the meantime, he advises bicyclists interested in a spot to check the “Forums” tab on the race’s website to see if any registered riders drop out. Another option is for wannabe riders to check with other teams. “We want the teams to sort it out for themselves,” Gladish said.
Special offerings planned for the 20th event include sales of a commemorative jersey, a pasta dinner Friday night in Haines Junction, Y.T. and live music at the state fairgrounds in Haines on the evening after the race. A shuttle bus will run between the Fort Seward Parade Grounds and the fairgrounds.
As in previous years, most entrants this year are from the Panhandle and the Whitehorse area. There are 278 teams registered, including 39 solo riders, 54 two-person teams and 90 four-person squads.
Racers can sign up for the pasta dinner at the race website, http://www.kcibr.org.