If riding 19 kilometres and climbing roughly 1000 metres in altitude is not enough to bend a cyclist’s will, imagine not being able to see where you’re going.
“The climb was completely socked in (fog), from about the Canadian Customs all the way to the summit,” said Daniel Folmar from Juneau, Alaska. “Visibility was 100 yards at best.
“Several friends were leapfrogging up in their car, and I remember yelling out at one point, ‘Where is that damn bridge?’—meaning the Moore Bridge—because I knew it was close, and I knew that the grade eases up a bit right after the bridge. I was practically right on top of it at the time, but I had no idea because I couldn’t see it.”
At the end of August, the VeloNorth Cycling Club held its second-last event of the year, the Skagway Hill Climb “part deux.” Folmar, who also won July’s Tour de Whitehorse, had the fastest race with a time of 53 minutes and 30 seconds, finishing just 10 seconds ahead of Whitehorse’s Ian Parker.
“I was relieved to have even won the race this time, since it wasn’t until after we had all finished that I realized that Ian Parker was only 10 seconds back,” said Folmar.
Coming in less than four minutes behind Folmar and Parker for third was Whitehorse’s Mike McCann, who, at 62, is years older than the top two finishers combined.
“Some days everything works,” said McCann. “It’s like the one good golf shot that keeps you going for 18 holes more.”
The first of the season’s two Skagway Hill Climbs took place at the end of May, with new records being set in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
Juneau’s Janice Sheufelt – this year’s female winner of the Tour de Whitehorse and the only women racer in the second hill climb – came-up two minutes short of the record she set in May, finishing with a time of 1:04:32.
The men’s record, set in May by Troy Henry (who was absent from the second hill climb), is 51:39, a tough time to beat said Folmar.
“Now that I’ve raced it, I can tell you that his record is an impressive time,” said Folmar. “I should check out my competition more closely before I come down next time!”
The VeloNorth Cycling Club held its final meet of the season, The Last Gasp, Saturday on the North Klondike Highway.
Fastest for the men was John Berryman, finishing the 36.6-kilometre course in 55:53. Leading the women’s field was Trena Irving with a time of 1:06:25.
Although VeloNorth events have drawn to a close for the season, McCann will be racing in the World Senior Games at the start of October in St. George, Utah.
Contact Tom Patrick at