Skagway pedalers beat the heat in Kluane – Chilkat International Bike Relay

Story and Photos by Grey Huddleston

The "Ho!s for the Klondike" cheer a teammate during the bike relay. GH


Place -- Team Name -- Division -- Time


25 -- Blood, Sweat and Gears -- Mixed 8 -- 7:52:40
3 Curt Dodd 0:37:44
6 Wes Shaw 1:12:42
11 Liz Ruff 0:57:30
1 Greg Russell 0:57:53
25 Nina Woods 1:28:39
8 Cynde Adams 0:46:53
1 Tim Alderson 0:56:51
3 Tim Alderson 0:54:28

39 -- Levi Stubbs' Tears -- Mens 8 -- 8:05:04
3 Skip Elliott 0:38:28
4 Skip Elliott 1:13:00
9 Spencer Morgan 0:59:36
8 Philip Clark 1:06:10
1 Andus Hale 1:09:20
4 Thomas Pickerel 0:48:30
13 Mark Larsen 1:11:52
3 John Briner 0:58:08

43 -- For Sockeye -- Mens 4 -- 8:10:20
18 Jonathon Reed 1:56:45
10 Thom Ely 1:51:43
19 Kathy Simpson 2:10:13
15 Andy Decker 2:11:39

68 -- The Hobos -- Womens 4 -- 8:35:04
3 Vicky Moy 1:58:59
4 Nikki Bunting 2:04:03
6 Cindy Gaddis 2:26:30
3 Amber Bethe 2:05:32

79 -- The Flying Dawgs -- Mixed 4 -- 8:43:20
17 Calvin Roskam 1:59:00
9 Darin Carl 1:54:43
32 Suwanee Pickerel 2:37:53
17 Eric Coufal 2:11:44

106 -- Soft and Supple -- Mens 8 -- 9:03:27
10 Alex King 0:44:48
20 Rod Fairbanks 1:36:00
5 Denny Bousson 0:57:15
2 David Knapp 0:56:39
3 Mike Korsmo 1:14:53
17 Russ Fulmer 1:00:26
17 Josh Coughran 1:21:16
14 Tim Fairbanks 1:12:10

121 -- Jewels of the Mile -- Womens 8 -- 9:13:14
17 Beth Winslow 0:56:17
7 Cindy O'Daniel 1:21:18
4 Teresa Wilson 0:59:22
4 Lara Labesky 1:10:09
7 Michelle Calver 1:24:10
8 Julene Fairbanks 0:50:41
6 Dawn Brown 1:09:58
17 Becky Jensen 1:21:19

122 -- Sockeye Blue Ribbon -- Mixed 8 -- 9:16:36
52 Haley Cloyd 0:54:31
38 Mary Jean Phillips 1:31:30
16 Nash Way 0:59:20
14 Darian McGavin 1:08:02
43 Amy Titus 1:33:48
36 Katie Kowalchuk 0:55:46
10 Christie Catania 1:09:10
16 Kyle Littman 1:04:29

163 -- Ho!s For the Klondike -- Womens 8 -- 9:56:22
7 Lita Lundeen 0:45:15
9 Kori Goertz 1:22:10
14 Teresa Brown 1:09:14
7 Katherine Nelson 1:13:16
18 Marsha Columbo 2:00:01
14 Wendy Anderson 0:56:44
14 Kristin Wilkinson 1:22:55
7 Britny Blomgren 1:06:47

166 -- Montana Gemini -- Womens 2 -- 10:00:12
2 Liz Book 4:24:22
2 Shannon Perkins 5:35:50

Complete results can be found at


“Really hot, relentless and unforgiving.” That’s the way local racer Katherine Nelson described her ride on the brutal fourth leg of the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay, held June 19.
Not a single cloud blemished the sky and temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees along the race’s 148-mile stretch of pavement from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska. Local race veteran Curt Dodd said it was the warmest race he’d seen in a decade of participating in the event.
And the heat was far from the only hardship. Factor in injuries, last-minute team changes, hungry mosquitos and hungrier competition, and the result is a recipe to keep meeker bikers at home watching television.
But Skagway athletes are not so easily deterred. A horde of local teams joined a crowd of more than 1,200 racers in the weekend’s event, and the good times outweighed sunburn and sore muscles.

Tim Alderson watches "Blood, Sweat and Gears" teammate Cynde Adams test out the settings on her bike the evening before the race.

Members of the team "Sockeye Blue Ribbon" enjoy a Pabst Blue Ribbon while waiting for a shuttle to the bar after the race.

Dodd’s team “Blood, Sweat and Gears” took first place in the mixed eight-person division for the third year in a row, an honor that member Tim Alderson said was a result of teamwork.
“The key is not to have one or two superstars, but to have consistency throughout the race,” Alderson said.
Skagway teams ranged across the entire spectrum of size and experience. Sockeye Cycle’s “Montana Gemini” was the only two-female team in the entire event.
Eric Coufal of “The Flying Dawgs” used to race professionally in Europe, while many members of local women’s team “Ho!s for the Klondike” had never raced before.

Katherine Nelson rides past a group of cheering Skagway racers during her run on Leg 4.

The "Jewels of the Mile" pose for a photo after energizing with a barbecue Friday night before the race.

Thomas Pickerel, leader of the team “Levi Stubbs’ Tears,” is another local veteran, participating for the last 12 years and captaining a team for the last eight.
Pickerel said his team enjoys a friendly rivalry with “Blood, Sweat and Gears,” though his team has never actually managed to beat them. “The difference is that they train and we don’t,” he said. “John [Briner] rides to work every day, and that’sat least 8 blocks,” he added with a smile.
Even riders without much experience or a strict training regimen enjoyed the competition. “Ho!s for the Klondike” member Lita Lundeen said “I surprised myself with how much I like competition. In the moment of being neck and neck with someone, it brings out this drive in you that you didn’t know you had,” he said.
Lundeen has never raced before, but has run a marathon and several half-marathons. She finished the first leg of the race only 10 minutes behind veteran Curt Dodd.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Thomas Pickerel (center) and his teammates from "Levi Stubbs' Tears" relaxing with a cold one after the race. The name "Levi Stubbs' Tears" comes from the title of a song by Billy Bragg, an English protest singer.

But results and competition aside, most Skagway racers attend the event for other reasons: to see familiar faces, meet new friends, laugh about years past, and participate in the peculiar brand of revelry that only a massive group of road bikers camping out in Haines can create.
“The bike race is just a vehicle to get to the party,” said “Levi Stubbs’ Tears’” team member John Briner.
Indeed, thoughts of that party kept some bikers pedaling through the heat at the toughest points of the race. “I just kept thinking about a cold beer at the end of the ride,” said Nelson.
Cold beer was aplenty, and Dodd grilled up a feast of salmon, shrimp and halibut that put the seafood chowder served by race officials to shame.
Tents were pitched, frisbees tossed, and by the time twilight fell late that night, Skagway racers hit the sack with full bellies, sore muscles, and heads full of memories of a spectacular sun-filled weekend.

A shady spot on the river provides welcome relief for the "Ho!s for the Klondike" during a hot race. Temperatures neared 90 degrees.

Wes Shaw (right) from "Blood, Sweat and Gears" speeds out of Checkpoint 1 into Leg 2 as teammate Curt Dodd arrives. The team finished first in their division for the thrid year in a row.

Mike Korsmo (left) with his "Soft and Supple" cohorts.