Get your team together for the big bike relay

Registration is now open for Yukon’s largest travelling sport event, the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay.

Registration is now open for Yukon’s largest travelling sport event, the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay.

The race runs Saturday, June 21st, starting at Haines Junction, and finishing in Haines, Alaska.

The Haines to Haines is a Yukon/Alaska summer tradition, as much about goofy costumes and team spirit as it is about cycling.

Thirty-one teams have already signed up for the 16th edition of the relay — organizers are anticipating that more than 250 teams, and 1,200 riders, will pedal the Haines Highway this year.

“The spring weather has been hard on cyclists,” said organizer Mike Gladish. “Some of the tougher ones are on the highway, but the indoor rollers must be humming. Either way, teams are preparing and registrations have been rolling in.”

The early deadline is May 24, and the final chance to register will be June 16.

“It is no longer possible to hold off until the very last minute,” said Gladish.

For a few years now the registration has been done online. Changes and refunds must also be done online. To register or to find out more about the race visit the website at www.kcibr.org.

Teams can enter in one of several categories. There are solo, two-, four-, and eight-person teams for men, women, and mixed. For rules about team makeup, check the website.

Regardless of the number on a team, each cyclist must ride consecutive legs.

The 1,200 riders take over the town of Haines Junction by Friday evening before race day and then swarm onto the highway for the mass starts. This year there will be four start times, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Yukon time.

Four-person teams will start first. Solo, two-person teams and tandem teams will start at 8:45. There will be two starts for eight-person teams at 9 and 9:15 a.m. The fastest riders will arrive in Haines by 3 p.m. and the red lantern winners will pull into town by 9 p.m.

The finish-line hosts provide a great meal, camping area and a great view for relaxing after the race.

Besides the additional start time there will be one other significant change. All riders will have to dismount at checkpoints and walk for about 10 metres.

The purpose for the dismount rule is to slow riders down momentarily so that volunteers can do a better job of timing the legs. It will be easier to get bib numbers and an accurate time for each rider.

Checkpoint layout and rules will be available on the website soon.

There are specific rules for riders who will be doing Leg 7 and passing through US Customs.

It is best for those riders to be citizens of the US or Canada. And they will have to carry the required identification even though they will be on their bikes.

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