When the bike lanes along the Alaska Highway are scrubbed clean of winter’s sand and gravel, the VeloNorth Cycling Club comes out of hiding for another season of road racing.
About 20 riders showed up at the South Access tourist pull-off on Wednesday, paid their $5 membership fee, clipped into their pedals and took off down the highway.
They were plenty of toques under helmets — one rider even sported a pair of what looked like scuba booties — due to the cool wind on Wednesday night during the club’s early bird ride to the Yukon River Bridge and back.
Known for its Wednesday evening time trials and weekend road races — VeloNorth is trying some new things this season.
“We’re going to focus more on club activities,” said VeloNorth president Mike McCann. “The races are already there … we thought we’d work on group training, distance rides.”
With that in mind, the club is offering a series of Sunday rides aimed at preparing cyclists for the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay, with the first one running May 6 at 10 a.m.
Also new this year is Troy’s Mountain Madness — Team Yukon rider Troy Henry has created a seriously challenging off-road race in the Mount Sima area — not for the faint of heart, the race is scheduled for July 14.
The ever-popular Tour de Whitehorse is getting a bit of a re-jigging this year. McCann said the traditional opening event, the hill climb, will be replaced with a downhill race from the South Access to the SS Klondike.
The tour will also add a criterium race on the second day, along with the time trial.
Speculation about the route for the Tour’s road race is ongoing — McCann said the route may head north to Braeburn.
After last year’s Tour, the club toyed with the idea of riding through all the neighbourhoods of Whitehorse.
Stay tuned for the final decision on this issue.
Cycle-nuts can get all the complete and current information on VeloNorth races and rides by checking in at www.velonorth.ca and clicking on the calendar link.