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Haines to Haines bike relay returns to pavement for first time in 3 years

There were 1,227 riders in the 27th annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay on June 17

The notorious Haines to Haines headwind took it easy on riders for the first Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay (KCIBR) since 2019.

“[The winds] were not bad compared to what we know they can be,” said Mia Lee, race coordinator for the KCIBR. “We only saw smiles on people’s faces. And the weather was 50 per cent of that.”

The other 50 per cent might have been excitement over the return of the race. The pandemic and associated border restrictions meant the KCIBR was cancelled or modified to a virtual event for the last three years.

In its 27th annual incarnation, there were a total of 1,227 riders across 294 teams. Teams consisted of anywhere from one to eight riders, with the 238 kilometres between Haines Junction and Haines, Alaska, split among team members.

This year, for the first time, ebikes were allowed.

Lee said she hasn’t heard any complaints about the new category. In fact, she spoke to a woman at one of the checkpoints who said she has historically ridden the race every year but wouldn’t have been able to participate in 2023 if not for the ebike allowance.

That’s why the category was introduced, Lee said — to increase inclusivity. The category is restricted to eight-person teams of recreational riders. It wasn’t introduced to facilitate any sort of record-breaking.

That said, the first ebike team to cross the finish line, Room for Cream, did so in 9:05:08. That was good enough for second place among the mixed five-to-eight-person teams. Third place in that category was also an ebike team. Both were three hours behind the top three finishing teams.

The overall podium was made up of solo men’s teams who finished within 15 seconds of each other.

Tyson Flaharty of Fairbanks, Alaska, finished in 6:59:32. Three seconds behind him, at 6:59:35, was Bryce Molder of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Molder came north to ride with his friend and third-place finisher Kevin Ahl, who finished in 6:59:47.

Ahl told the News he and Molder ride a lot in the mountains in B.C., but neither of them trained specifically for the KCIBR. Molder said the main difference he noticed is that the hills in the Yukon and Alaska are much more spread out than in B.C.

“The ones around Revelstoke are a very just sudden rise from the valleys,” Molder said between mouthfuls of potato chips at the finish line. “Since the valleys are so steep, you kind of end up staying in the valley, and it ends up being pretty flat riding. Whereas out here, you can really, I think, get a little more elevation.”

Ahl agreed. “[There,] you do a 10-minute climb that’s like 15 per cent [grade]. Here, you do a 40-minute climb,” he said.

The other difference they noticed was the views.

“I think I was more busy gawking than riding,” said Molder.

“At one point, I was like, ‘Look at that peak,’ and Bryce was like, ‘Ugh, I want to get off my bike and climb it,’” said Ahl.

For them, all of that made the race feel faster than seven hours.

Lee said everything went smoothly, from race timing, to the weather, to a freshly paved highway on the American side, to the fact that no one reported any injuries.

“It was phenomenal,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with how it went.”

Solo men

Tyson Flaharty (Fairbanks, Alaska) 6:59:32

Bryce Molder (Revelstoke, B.C.) 6:59:35

Kevin Ahl (Nelson, B.C.) 6:59:47

Solo women

Heather Clarke (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:24:03

Lindsay Knezevich (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:42:22

Pam Booth (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:26:43

Two-person men

Celery Generals (Whitehorse, Yukon) 7:41:53

Red Banjo (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:06:53

Gr8Archbolds (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:24:39

Two-person women

Gr8Artists (Whitehorse, Yukon) 7:51:12

Pedal to the Metal (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:20:58

Just a Long Commute to the FogCutter (Brackendale, B.C.) 8:22:05

Two-person mixed

PaterBall (Whitehorse, Yukon) 7:42:55

Relative-ly Fast (Juneau, Alaska) 7:43:04

Get to LaPointe (Whitehorse, Yukon) 7:51:19

Three- or four-person team men

Ride the Lightning (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:28:55

Cowabunga (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:29:13

Fat Bob (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:29:37

Three- or four-person team women

Cirque de Sore Buns (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:22:27

The Smithers Silvertips (Smithers, B.C.) 9:44:03

The Chill Kats (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:55:46

Three- or four-person team mixed

Baby Blue Squad (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:04:30

Sweaty Yetis (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:05:32

Ride My Leg (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:12:43

Five-to-eight-person team men

Whitehorse Firefighters (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:38:58

Gears of War (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:49:42

Rolling Blackout 9:20:04

Five-to-eight-person team women

The Things (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:09:44

Therabaes (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:33:35

The Wheelie good nurses (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:36:24

Five-to-eight-person team mixed

Ibex Riders (Whitehorse, Yukon) 8:42:38

Room for Cream (ebike) (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:05:08

Team U Kon Echelon (ebike) (Whitehorse, Yukon) 9:09:09

To see a full list of winners, visit

Contact Amy Kenny at