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U Kon Echelon cyclists race over two days in Tour de Skagway

U Kon Echelon had another busy weekend of competition during its annual Tour de Skagway
A dense fog did not slow down these U Kon Echelon cyclists during the Tour de Skagway, a set of races over the May long weekend. (Courtesy/William LeBarge)

The U Kon Echelon cyclists don’t need much time to recover.

Only a week after doing three intense races and experiencing four seasons of weather during the two-day Tour de Haines, they were back on their bikes this past long weekend for the Tour de Skagway.

Trena Irving, the coach of U Kon Echelon, said all the riders showed plenty of heart as they dealt with tough weather conditions.

On May 22, the cyclists vied in two races. The first was a 20 kilometre time trial that left from the Canada Customs parking lot, travelled past the Log Cabin and returned to the start.

David Jackson, in the expert men’s category, posted the fastest overall time of 29:31. James McCann and Doon McDowell, two powerful up and coming riders according to Irving, finished 12 seconds apart in the U17 division.

McCann took the mantle with McDowell second and Mack Jenner third.

Alex Lebarge had a strong time trial finishing first in the U15 boys class in 39:51. He was followed by Taiga Buurman and Johna Staley.

Ava Irving-Staley, U19 girls, did the trial in 41:20 while Juliette Crowe, U15 girls, finished in 44:09.

Simon Crowe, eight, was the youngest participant and he completed a shortened 10 kilometre version. He had an “impressive fast start and showed cadence throughout his ride.”

In non-pandemic years, the Tour de Skagway has races on the American side. However, with the border closed, all races happened in Canada this year.

A new race was introduced to replace the hill climb that happens in Alaska. The new race, still a climb, was three attempts of the hill leading to the summit and finishing just before the top. Each attempt was just over one kilometre.

All three attempts counted to the total time.

Jackson, 10:18, had the fastest overall time again. McCann, 11:44, wasn’t far off Jackson’s pace. Staley had the third quickest time and Irving-Staley had the quickest girls’ time of 12:38.

Simon once again impressed doing all three hill climbs on a challenging course.

A road race was held on May 23. Irving said the highlight was having the cyclists ride in groups so they were able to work together.

McCann and LeBarge rode with the expert men, Jackson and Adam Tetzlaff. Irving said they’ve been hammering their pace and she thought it would be good for them to challenge themselves against Jackson and Tetzlaff.

McCann and LeBarge, who finished in that order, raced 48 kilometres. Jackson beat Tetzlaff in a sprint to the finish. The two expert men raced 96 kilometres.

Irving-Staley, McDowell, Jenner and Buurman raced together in a peloton. Irving said they worked together until McDowell and Irving-Staley broke away.

Irving-Staley passed McDowell and finished head of the group.

U Kon Echelon will remain busy throughout June with plenty of races on the schedule.

Contact John Tonin at