Bryant Gover stretches at the end of his relay leg. Govers team Jans Brothel Boys placed sixth overall in the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay. (Right) Kip Wheeler cradles his head in exhaustion at the race finish, while Ken Graham and Craig The Butcher Jennison cradle beers, and Jeremy Simmons sanely stretches. (See more photos below) Photos courtesy Jans Brothel Boys
Riding the tailwinds to Haines
Skagway teams pick up the pace this year
By JENNIFER COLLINS
When the partial-owner of Skagways Northern Exposures photo lab fractured his hip four months ago, hopes of competing in the Ninth Kluane to Chilkat International Bicycle Relay were dashed or so he thought.
But Mark Lohness body repaired itself, and his team, Jans Brothel Boys, exceeded his expectations, finishing sixth overall in the June 16 race and third in the four-man division.
We brought it home for Skagway, Lohnes said, lauding his team with hands raised. Im so excited about this. Im just a ball of adrenaline and energy.
Jans Brothel Boys kept a pace of 32 miles per hour and crossed the finish line at the Fort Seward Barracks in Haines in six hours 32 minutes nearly two hours faster than last years time. The men smoked last years top finisher, Sitkas Yellow Jersey, by nearly an hour.
Jans Brothel Boys was not the only Skagway team that fared well. Eleven Skagway teams competed and eight placed in the top ten in their divisions.
Of the 185 teams, Road Rage from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory placed first arriving in six hours 10 minutes, an hour and 18 minutes faster than Yellow Jerseys winning time last year.
The race course begins at Haines Junction and the 152.5 mile course is divided into eight legs, each between 12 to 25 miles.
How come there are so many good riders from Skagway? Haines race coordinator, Chip Lende asked, perplexed after the event.
Ralph Gorichanaz of the Skagway eight-person team Family Jewells attributed Skagwayans athleticism to numerous rides up the steep, nearby White Pass.
What makes it so remarkable is that you have this really great hill you can climb, Gorichanaz said. You dont ever see those extreme angles in the race course.
The riders biked so quickly this year, they arrived at the seventh leg before expected and encountered road construction that had not yet been cleared.
The roughly-paved construction area slowed Jans Brothel Boys teammate Joe Razo with two flat tires, Lohnes said. The teams pace car was not there with extra supplies, but another team helped Razo repair his tire. Bryant Gover and Bruce Schindler also rode for Jans Brothel Boys.
Family Jewellss captain, Tim Alderson, said the team finished second in the 104 eight-person teams and placed 15 overall.
Alderson has competed in the relay for the past five years and in the past he enlisted Skagway women to make his team classified as mixed. But this year, Alderson said two female eight-person teams from Skagway narrowed the selection by 16 riders. Beth Kline, however, biked for Family Jewells and rode the third fastest female for the first leg. The team was still classified in the mens division and would have needed three women to be considered a mixed team, Alderson said.
Family Jewells experienced the usual musical bike seats antics before the race when one of his team members contracted shingles the day before the race, Alderson said.
But all was not lost. Jason Neely, who was slated to drive the pace car, filled in. Neely placed eighth in his leg of the race.
Spencer Morgan, Jason Haddock, Thomas Pickerel and Phillip Clark of The Eightfold Path pose after placing fourth in the eight-person mens division. The other four are among the crowd.
In past years, a strong head wind slowed bikers, Thomas Pickerel, team captain for Skagways The Eightfold Path, an eight-person team. This year, the weather was ideal with a tailwind for most of the relay, he said.
His team shaved more than two hours from last years time and finished sixth in the eight-person mens division in seven hours 19 minutes, his best time in nine years competing
The thing is, we usually dont train, Pickerel said. Everyone (in Skagway) likes to ride to Customs, but its like a little race each time.
Pickerel said he doesnt like the competition of the White Pass summit ride so he gets in shape by skiing and hiking, but his bike didnt roll more than a couple miles since last years relay.
As for Lohnes, who competed in the relay for the first time this year, he said he plans to ride more than a couple miles to prepare for next years race.
Lohnes said he will bike south out of Skagway at the end of the summer, down the coast, possibly as far as San Diego.
Hopefully, the Skagwayan teams will continue riding and return to perpetuate the legacy Skagway created at this years relay.
Local bike race results
Team places and times
Two person men: 5. Haul n'Oats 7:48:37
Two person mixed: 1. "?" 7:59:23
Four person men: 3. Jan's Brothel Boys 6:32:36; 8. Sockeye Hotties 7:22:43
Eight person men: 2. Family Jewells 7:04:46; 5. The Eightfold 7:19:12; 7. The Mountain Shop Marmot 8:08:37; 14. Panama Red 8:56:45
Eight person women: 7. Hamilton Construction AssFault 8:47:24; 9. 8 Bitches on a Ride! 8:56:46
Eight person mixed: 7. Sockeye Tarzanellos 7:45:19; 49. For the Love of Dingo 9:06:36; 56. Temsco 9:19:33
Individual top places and times
First leg women: third place, Beth Cline, Family Jewells, 40.30; third leg men: third place, John Briner, The Eightfold Path, 42.18; fourth leg men, Third place.,Tim Alderson, Family Jewells, 48.34; seventh leg men: first place, Skip Elliott, Family Jewells, 58.21; third place, Spencer Morgan, The Eightfold Path, 1:02.30; eighth leg men: second place, Peter Jepson, Family Jewells, 1:01.30; third place, John Thomas, The Eightfold Path, 1:02.40; first and second leg men: Second place, Bryant Gover, Jans Brothel Boys 1:31.02.
Click here for complete results at Bike Relay Site
Bikers relax after a long ride to Haines
Photos courtesy Jan's Brothel Boys