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KCIBR 2010
By:  Colin Abbott   (2010/06/22)


It is difficult to describe what the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay (KCIBR) is like to someone who's never done it. I'll do my best, but if you ever find yourself thinking about going to the Yukon, you should definitely plan to take in the race yourself.

The relay is a point to point road bike race on two hundred and forty kilometers of the most beautiful highway anywhere. You start in the small town of Haines Junction at the foot of the glacier encrusted Saint Elias Mountains and finish in Haines, Alaska a stones throw away from the Pacific Ocean. On the way you are surrounded by mountains, pass by lakes, rivers, wetlands, high alpine and boreal and coastal rain forest.

This year's race saw a record number of people (over 1250) bike the course in teams of 1, 2, 4 and 8 people. Times ranged from to 13 1/2 hours. As a general rule, it should be noted that as time for a given team increases, so do costume counts, obscenities, gratuitous nudity, and heckling and frothy beverage consumption both before and during the race.

Team "We Should Be Cyclists" consisted of Nansen Murray, Malkolm Boothroyd, Lee Hawkings and myself. Combined, we had done a total of maybe a dozen training rides, and zero races/intensities on a road bike previous to the race. Malkolm started us out fast on legs one and two, cramped up a third of the way through, suffered on his own until a pack picked him up and ground it out to the finish.

I rode legs three and four. After a slow and windy start I upped the pace and started picking my way through packs and small groups of riders in front of us. At the top of a seven kilometer long climb I was caught by a group of two-man and solo riders that started 15 minutes behind us. After biking at my own pace for 40km or so, it was a shock to stay with a faster pack. I cracked about 5km from the finish line. With no trees or people to break the wind, my speed dropped by about 15km/h. The final climb is a steep and painful one. I was so beat that I couldn’t stand up on my pedals, the granny gear wasn’t low enough, and Malcolm had no problem running beside me for the last 100m.

Nansen started with a group of five guys which was fortunate because legs 5 and 6 are almost exclusively in the alpine, and very windy. Thanks to some clif bloks, we managed to keep Nansen from bonking this year and he put down a solid time over the summit.

Lee brought us home to Haines through the windy flats next to the Chilkat River. After riding the last 70km with Mike McCann from team “Floyd Landis Pharmaceuticals” a tie was in order for second place in the four man category.

Afterwards, a tent city appears in a field in Haines, with close to 1 000 people sleeping/celebrating the race until all hours of the morning.

Our final time was 7 hours 33 minutes, a half hour off the winning time. Thanks to Fresh Air Experience for the sweet biking kit that Lee and I rode in and to Clif for the shots and bloks.

Colin starting Leg 3

Biking by the lupins.


Raven Racing out of Fairbanks pulling me along.


Last hill to the finish. So damn steep.


Pretty close to dead.


Nansen riding with the pack. Note the ex-national team cross country ski suit worn by Brent Langbakk at the front of the pack. It has pockets in the back.


Approaching the summit.


Speedy boys.

Grinding out the Three Guardsman.

Nansen, the lone rider.

Finish to leg 6.

Lee riding by the Chilkat River.

Finish line. Lee on the left of the picture.

The Team. From left to right, Nansen, Colin, Malkolm and Lee.

All photos credit to Malkolm Boothroyd.

Interesting Reading. . .
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