To win the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay in a solo division is far beyond the capabilities of most riders. To do it two years in a row, after taking a high-speed fall during the race, is nothing short of astounding.
Teslin’s Kerrie Paterson did just that last Saturday.
On the third leg of the race Paterson clipped the wheel of the rider in front of her and took a bad fall, scrapping her elbow, knee and thigh, and even cracking her helmet.
“I went down really hard—my helmet cracked in a few places,” said Paterson. “I wasn’t too sure if I would finish the race or not.
“I’m not sure, but we must have been going about 35-kilometres an hour.
“My handlebars were twisted and my brake levers were twisted, and I was bleeding—I was pretty banged up. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I was working too hard on this just to bail.”
Showing that good sportsmanship is alive and well, two fellow cyclists sacrificed valuable race-minutes to care for Paterson as she laid on the side of the road.
“I lay on the pavement for quite a while and the two fellows who I was riding with at that time, Jean-Paul (Molgat) from Whitehorse and Dan (Lesh) from Juneau, stopped and stayed with me until they thought I was OK,” said Paterson. “I thought that was really nice.”
Also riding solo in the race was Paterson’s husband, Stephen Ball, who finished third in the men’s division, making him the Yukon’s top finisher for the solo men.
Finishing second in the solo women class was Whitehorse’s Tiffany Duncan, coming in almost nine minutes behind Paterson.
“Up the first hill at the start we had a little chat but then I didn’t see her against after that,” said Paterson. “I wasn’t sure that when I fell, if people (in the solo women division) were passing me or not, but I guess not.”
Other residents from Teslin included riders in the eight-person mixed team, Rusty Sprockets, finishing 37th in a field of 71 teams.
“(I’d like to) mention my fantastic support person, Karl Blattmann, without whom the event would have been a great deal more difficult,” said Paterson.
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