With rain, chilly temperatures and fog as thick as mayonnaise near the summit, no one seemed to notice that a record had fallen at VeloNorth Cycling Club’s annual Skagway Hill Climb on Sunday.
For the second year in a row, Whitehorse’s Tamara Goeppel won the 19-kilometre time trial race from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, climbing roughly 1,000-metres in altitude, breaking her own expert women record set last year.
“As the race starts, you think, ‘It’s not too hot today, that’s good,’” said Goeppel. “And then there’s some rain, keeping me cool. And then when the fog and all the elements came in, it was like, ‘This is like the Haines-to-Haines (Kluane Chilkat), but only shorter.’
“I don’t think (times) were on our minds. As you got near to the top here, it got worse, so just the idea of finishing was main and only goal today.”
Breaking the one-hour mark, Goeppel crossed the summit finish line in 59 minutes, 11 seconds, shaving 1:54 off her record.
Though as steep as always, this was the third straight year a record was set on the course. In 2009, Juneau’s Janice Sheufelt broke her own 2007 record, coming in with a time of 1:02:35.
Taking second a full 10 minutes behind Goeppel was Kerrie Paterson, followed closely by Laura Salmon in third.
In expert men, former course record holder Ian Parker came in with the fastest time for first. Parker finished the course in 53:38, 1:59 of the time set by Whitehorse’s Troy Henry in 2009. Parker’s previously best time, which was the record before Henry’s run in 2009, was 52:20.
“It almost looked like it was going to get better, but it only got worse,” said Parker of the weather. “Typically around this time, you get warmer and warmer as you go up. This time is was the opposite. It got colder and colder until the point where it was hard to shift gears because your hands get so cold.
“Considering the conditions were pretty craptacular, the times were OK. It’s all just training until the Haines-to-Haines anyway.”
Taking second behind Parker was Karl Blattmann and VeloNorth president Scott Kerby was in third.
The win for Parker was the second in a row, having won VeloNorth’s Hamilton Boulevard Extension Road Race last Wednesday. Parker will be attempting to solo the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, a 238-kilometre race from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska, for the first time next month.
Speaking of long races, Goeppel competed in the Absa Cape Epic Race in South Africa with partner Thomas Tetz in March. In the mixed team of the eight-day, over 700-kilometre race, Goeppel and Tetz finished 13th and would have been first in the masters division had age been factored in.
“It almost feels like racing season is over for me,” said Goeppel. “This is now all just fun – a bonus. Icing on the cake.
“It was fun coming form the Yukon. The last time we rode outside was September, and it was March.”
1st Ian Parker – 53:38
2nd Karl Blattmann – 55:28
3rd Scott Kerby – 59:48
4th Jerome McIntyre – 1:02:01
1st Tamara Goeppel – 59:11
2nd Kerrie Paterson – 1:09:35
3rd Laura Salmon – 1:10:48
4th Nadele Flynn – 1:22:45
1st Spencer Morgan – 1:07:50
1st Olivia Findley – 2:01:11
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