Race deadlines near as seasons change

With snowbanks still piled high, it may be difficult to think of summer sports.

With snowbanks still piled high, it may be difficult to think of summer sports. But organizers of the 2009 Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay and the 2009 Yukon River Quest are already making preparations for two of the Yukon’s biggest summertime race events.

“We’ve been getting calls for the last month, so there’s definitely people who mark it on their calendars,” said Mike Kramer, Kluane Chilkat race co-ordinator. “Some of them call us long before we have the registration open.”

This year’s Kluane Chilkat is set for June 20, with the registry deadline on June 15. However, organizers are encouraging racers to sing-up online before May 22 in order to reduce fees for racers and to smooth out the preparations for organizers.

There’s also the possibility race organizers may have to turn entries away if numbers grow too big.

“I don’t think the organization has ever had to draw the line,” said Kramer. “But last year we were over 1,200 riders and it’s been well over a 1,000 the last couple of years. I think 1,300 would probably be the maximum.”

This year, border crossings are going to be tougher than ever. All non-American residents will have to show passports while crossing, with few exceptions.

“They will have to carry them if they are the rider on that leg,” said Kramer. “They will have to stop and dismount and show ID and get checked off on the list. There are a few exceptions, but we’re telling people they need passports.”

More information and the online registration for the solo, two-, four-, and eight-person race can be found at www.kcibr.org.

As of Monday, the Yukon River Quest has 80 teams (and solo entries) registered for this year’s race, coming close to last year’s record setting 89 entries. The Quest has a maximum of 100.

Organizers are encouraging voyageur teams to sign up sooner rather than later, because they often wait to the last minute to register, causing grief for the race’s staff.

“In the past voyageur teams are always the last to register,” said Jean-Francois Latour, River Quest race president. “So far we only have six teams, last year I think we had 12.”

The Yukon River Quest is the longest annual river race in the world, but this year the start will be a bit shorter. For the first 10 years of the River Quest the race started on foot on Main Street between First and Second Avenue in downtown Whitehorse. This year paddlers will be starting off from Rotary Park in Whitehorse.

“We’re moving away from that for security reasons,” said Latour. “The downtown core is getting very busy with the First Nations festival and all that … so the running (section) will be a little shorter.”

The entry deadline for the River Quest is April 15.

An online signup and further information can be found at www.yukonriverquest.com.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com