No more team spots available for Kluane Chilkat bike relay

If you haven't registered your team for the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, you are probably out of luck.

If you haven’t registered your team for the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, you are probably out of luck.

Just eight days after registration opened for the 24th annual relay, the cap of 1,200 cyclists was reached and organizers are no longer accepting teams.

“The response has been strong for the last couple of years and then this year it went crazy,” said race coordinator Mike Kramer. “When I looked at it in the first 24 hours, over 800 of the rider positions had been filled. It seems to be a more and more popular event, and some folks in the past haven’t been able to register because it’s filled up so quickly, so they’re registering more quickly now.”

“In the last two years it’s usually April that I have to start monitoring it. We shut things down when it hits 1,200, so this is by far the quickest it’s ever filled up,” he added.

The cap was reached with the registration of 89 eight-person teams, 101 four-person teams and 44 two-person teams for the 238-kilometre race from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska, which is scheduled for June 18.

Relay organizers installed a 1,200 rider limit a few years ago, not because they thought there were too many cyclists, but because they were uncomfortable with the amount of support vehicles sharing the road with racers.

“One year we crept over 1,300 and that year it was a little too busy on the road for our comfort level, in terms of vehicles, so that’s when we started going to 1,200,” said Kramer.

“Off the top of my head, two years ago we were close to 600 reported cars in use by teams to support their riders. Last year that number dropped – in terms of what people declared – to below 500.”

While team registrations are no longer being accepted, race officials will continue to accept solo riders until May 13.

Solo riders tend to be more experienced cyclists, requiring less assistance by organizers, and they often “buddy-up” and share support vehicles, said Kramer.

As of this week, just over 40 solo riders have registered. Last year the race had a record 92 solo cyclists register.

“We had a significant number of solo riders who didn’t start and certainly some who did not finish,” said Kramer.

However, if you’re not up for doing it solo, there is a chance you can join an existing team. Frequently teams have riders drop out for whatever reason and look to recruit replacements. U Kon Echelon Bike Club and VeloNorth Cycling Club, as well as other social media sites like Facebook, can be used to find teams that are looking to recruit, said Kramer.

If you’re lucky – like really lucky – you might even find a team that has decided to completely drop out of the race and is willing to sell their spot.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw something on Kijiji,” said Kramer.

For more information, or to be one of the 200 volunteers needed for the race, visit the Kluane Chilkat website at www.kcibr.org.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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