Months after doctors say career over, Whitehorse cyclist aims for Kluane Chilkat solo title

At the end of last year doctors told Preston Blackie his cycling career was over. In all fairness, it wasn't the first time the Whitehorse cyclist had heard that.

At the end of last year doctors told Preston Blackie his cycling career was over.

In all fairness, it wasn’t the first time the Whitehorse cyclist had heard that.

“It’s actually the third time a doctor had told me cycling has to go,” he said.

Early last December Blackie broke his leg in the innocuous act of stepping out of his vehicle. An early diagnosis was cancer and he was told he could lose his leg.

It turned out that the Blackie’s tibia had been compromised by a bone infection.

“Last April (in 2015) I started noticing symptoms, I had a really bad pain … it felt like tendonitis,” he said. “It got progressively worse over the summer. I couldn’t ride at all, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t walk up and down stairs because I had a really bad limp. I just put up with it.”

Blackie, who is a former professional mountain biker, had a surgery earlier this year in which much of his tibia was replaced with polymethyl methacrylate, commonly called “bone cement.”

“My first meeting with the orthopedic surgeon … he said, ‘Your cycling career is over. We’re going to start with teaching you how to walk again,’” said Blackie.

Not only is Blackie back on the bike, he has already won races this season and hopes to capture the solo men’s division of the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay next month. The 37-year-old placed second in the division of the 240-kilometre race from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska in 2013.

“I’m fitter and stronger this year than I was last year and I’m pretty confident going into it,” said Blackie. “It’s my big A race for this portion of the season, for sure.

“I’m looking forward to battling with Joel (Macht, the defending champ,) and whoever else shows up.”

“I’m highly motivated,” he added. “This year it’s all systems go.”

Blackie won the expert men’s general classification in the Tour de Skagway this past weekend.

He finished the three stages with a combined time of three hours, 44 minutes and 51 seconds. Juneau’s Casey Colten came second at 3:58:38 ahead of fellow Juneau rider Will Coleman at 4:05:43. Whitehorse’s Shea Hoffman took fourth at 4:24:31.

Blackie placed second behind Colten in the 20-kilometre time trial by 1:13; he crushed it in the 84-kilometre road race, taking first by over 10 minutes ahead of Whitehorse’s Sean McCarron in second; he took third in a field of eight expert men in the 19-kilometre hill climb. Former course record holder Ian Parker of Whitehorse came in first in the climb at 44.18, while Colten placed second at 46:27, 41 seconds ahead of Blackie.

Blackie, a two-time Tour de Whitehorse champ, also won the 100-kilometre road race in the Tour de Haines Junction the previous weekend. He produced the fastest time of 30:54 in the 20-kilometre Icycle Sport North Klondike Time Trial, hosted by VeloNorth, on Wednesday.

The two previous times doctors told Blackie his riding career was over came after neck injuries over a decade ago while he was a profession free rider mountain biker. The first one stemmed from a collision with a tree, the other during a training session for a Red Bull festival in Montana.

“When I was training for that I caught my front wheel on the landing of a jump and slid down the landing on my face and scorpioned and had a very bad concussion from that,” said Blackie. “I had to have my nose reconstructed – I destroyed my face and took all the skin off my forehead … and fractured my neck.

“That was number two, this was number three.”

SEE FULL RESULTS HERE.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read