The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Tony Gorman
For the Star 

Fireweed 400 rolled in under heavy cloud cover

Heavy rains poured Saturday, greeting Alaska's largest bicycle race


Tony Gorman photo

Wet weather, chilly temperatures and plenty of vehicular traffic awaited cyclists participating in last week's Fireweed 400.

It's typical for the weather to act strange in Alaska, especially in the Valdez. During last week's Fireweed 400, it seems as though someone was playing with the switch that controlled the rain and sunshine, as over 650 riders from around the world braved the weird conditions to compete in this year's race.

Despite the crazy weather, some riders enjoyed this year's race.

"It was good", said Brian Hickey of Team Serrano's from Anchorage. His team competed in the 200-mile relay. "The headwinds weren't too bad. They were coming and going. The weather was nice until we got to the Pass and even when we got out of the Pass."

Anchorage's Anne Kessler took on the race by herself. In her fourth time competing in the 200-mile race, she said she felt good after finishing. To her, the final stretch was the toughest part of the race.

"I really wish the city fathers of Valdez would curve that line in because it feels like you're going straight forever," Kessler joked. "It just seems like it's never going to end."

Those who rode in the 400-mile and 2DAY300K events began the races on Friday. Riders competed half of the race from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Valdez in 15 hours.

Over 300 riders participated in the 200-mile races began on Saturday. They were met with rain on and off throughout the day. Last year, most riders arrived in Valdez between 4 and 5 p.m. This year, the fastest riders came in between 5:30 and 7 p.m.

Here are the unofficial results from the race received Saturday night:

Sheryl Loan won the 100-mile time trial solo female division with a time of 4:54:46. In the solo male division of the 100-mile time trial, Eric Flanders took the top spot with a time of 4:27:24.

Tony Gorman photo

The finish line was a welcome sight as racing cyclists poured into the finish line area - as the rain pour down on the race.

The Backcountry Racing team of Leonard Fancher and Matt Tanaka took first place in the 400-mile two-person male division with a time of 26:38:07.

In the 400-mile four-person male division, the Alaska Roadrunners team consisting of David Roes, Troy Baker, Malcom Markwell, and Carl Evans won with a time of 23:20:53.

The Rat Clan featuring Valerie Massie, Katie Krehlik, Adam Martinez, and Dylan Anthony won the 400-mile four-person mixed division with a time of 22:37:08.

Lael Wilcox won the 400-mile time solo female division with a time of 27:00:37. Martin Renner won the 400-mile solo male division with a time of 26:48:15.

Kinsey Loan rose above a large field to with the 50-mile time trial solo female division with a time of 2:11:42. Mark Fairbanks won the male division with a time of 2:13:31.


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