BIG SWING

Aaron Kilburn of the Cardinals connects at the plate in Little League action against the Mariners Tuesday night at the Seventh Pasture ball park. Teams also play on Saturdays. JB

At least 9 Skagway teams in Kluane-Chilkat bike relay

By GREY HUDDLESTON
Many legs will be sore in Skagway June 19 after local cyclists hit the pavement for the annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay. Several teams from Skagway have historically participated in the event, and this year will be no exception.
The race route consists of 148 miles of strenuous pedaling between Haines Junction, Yukon and Haines, Alaska. The length is split up into eight legs.
Entries range from eight-person teams all the way down to solo racers taking on the daunting feat of biking the entire route alone. Skagway racers range from long-time veterans of the event to first-timers. Curt Dodd, of the Skagway team “Blood, Sweat and Gears,” has been participating in the relay for nine years. His team has finished first in the mixed eight-person division for the past two.
Dodd said he and his teammates have been biking around 100 miles a week to train for the race. Still, the competition promises to be tough.
“We’ve lost some strong riders, so I don’t know how we’ll do this year,” Dodd said. The team is still working on confirming a final member.
Sockeye Cycle will have strong representation in the relay, with two teams from the cycle shop entered. Sockeye employee Nash Way will race with seven coworkers on the team “Sockeye Blue Ribbon.”
“I’ve raced mountain bikes before, but this will be my first road bike event,” Way said. Many of her teammates will be racing for the first time as well. “Everyone here wanted to do it because it sounded like so much fun,” she said.
A team of four more experienced riders will race on the other “For Sockeye” team led by owner Thom Ely and local manager Andy Decker.
A group of eight Skagway women led by Kori Goertz will race under the moniker “Ho’s for the Klondike.”
“We were going to dress the part, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” said team member Wendy Anderson.
Her team was created from participants in the rec center’s spin classes, and Anderson said they’re more interested in having a good time than winning. “Training for our team has been a little slack, but we’re okay with that. We’re in it because it’s fun,” she said.
And these teams are only the beginning. Tim Fairbanks, Amber Bethe, Thomas Pickerel, Suwanee Pickerel, and Michelle Calver are captaining teams that will ensure that Skagway is represented in a big way at the relay.

Record field of 51 for Yukon River Quest

A record 51 teams have signed up to participate in the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race, the Yukon River Quest.
The 460-mile (740 kilometers) paddling marathon is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The race begins with a Le Mans style start in the vicinity of First and Main in downtown Whitehorse at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23.
As many as 53 teams actually signed up by the May 26 deadline, but there were two early two pre-race scratches. The 2004 field eclipses the previous record of 36 teams in 2002.
Returning to the race is record holder Steve Landick of Michigan, along with experienced paddlers and novices from seven different nations. Six teams hail from England, one from Scotland, 18 from the USA, 22 from Canada, one from Canada/USA joint, one from Austria, one from Australia, and one from Germany. The BBC will be following a British team for its “Challenge” reality TV series.
Skagway and Juneau will be represented by the brother-sister team of John and Kathy O’Daniel. John, who manages the local hardware store, is entering the race for the third time, while sister Kathy, a Juneau elementary school teacher, will be a first-timer.
The “Skagway Siblings” team will be paddling the Skagway Alpine Club canoe that was purchased two years ago by local businesses so the town will always be able to field a team in the race. The canoe sponsors are Alaska Power & Telephone, Red Onion Saloon, Skagway Hardware, Skagway News Co., Wells Fargo Bank Alaska, and White Pass & Yukon Route.
Nearly $15,000 (Cdn.) in prize money will be up for grabs.
Landick and fellow Michigan paddler Bruce Barton are the pre-race favorites, but there are several other formidable teams. More information about teams can be found on the race Web site, www.yukonriverquest.com. – JB