Alaskan claims victory in Klaune Chilkat bike relay, breaks personal record again

Tyson Flaharty was the fastest KCIBR rider for the second year in a row
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Cyclists ride in the 2024 Klaune Chilkat International Bike Relay. (Submitted)

Tyson Flaharty of Fairbanks, Alaska, riding in the solo men’s Klaune Chilkat International Bike Relay race (KCIBR) event was the fastest solo finisher for the second year in a row. The race took riders over a gruelling course from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska on June 15.

He crossed the finish line with a time of six hours, 17 minutes and 11 seconds. Flaharty achieved a 42-minute-and-21-second improvement over last year’s time, as indicated in the KCIBR race results.

Heather Clarke of Whitehorse, racing under the team name “Femme Fatale,” finished with the fastest time in the solo female category at seven hours and 59 seconds. Similarly, Clarke improved her time from last year’s race by one hour, 23 minutes and four seconds.

The two-person team “Not Tadej Pogacar” consisting of Felix Larose and Emmanuelle Arcand achieved the fastest time among teams with more than one person. Their team crossed the finish line in six hours, 40 minutes and 46 seconds.

The final race results listed registered teams from Canada, United States and Australia, suggesting a “growing popularity and appeal within the cycling community,” as stated in a May 13 release from race organizers about race entrants.

Before the race began, organizers held a moment of silence to remember a cyclist struck in a fatal hit-and-run incident that occurred on the Alaska Highway between downtown Whitehorse and Porter Creek on June 13.

According to a press release issued after the finish, the race proceeded smoothly without any significant incidents or injuries, despite racers encountering a couple of bears.

Cyclists embarked on a journey through mountain valleys and alpine passes, encountering a mix of flat stretches, steep descents and long climbs. The 238.3-kilometre relay is divided into eight legs, starting from Haines Junction and ending across the border in Haines, Alaska.

Organizers claim a record-breaking crowd of spectators gathered at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Haines as the race concluded on June 15. According to the release, the Alaska State Fair achieved one of its biggest-ever turnouts.

“After a couple of challenging years that included snowstorms and (COVID-19), which forced us to shift the relay to a virtual race, we are finally back on track and able to return to our beloved in-person event,” race coordinator Monika Kozlerova said in the release.