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Posts Tagged ‘Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay’

Logan Evans of Sitka competes for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka competes for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

When Sitka cyclist Logan Evans headed to the University of North Dakota, he took his touring bike thinking it would help him get around campus. He soon met up with members of the school’s cycling club, who convinced him to attend a few meetings, train and then compete with them. Now a senior commercial aviation major, Logan is the president of the club and last year represented the team at the U.S. Collegiate Cycling Championships.

“I was not involved in any other sports, so it was a great way to exercise throughout the winter,” said Logan, who ran track and cross country for Sitka High School. “I didn’t plan on racing, but in the spring of 2009 I figured I’d put my skills to the test. I was addicted instantly.”

The college cycling season starts in March and runs through June. But Logan said the University of North Dakota cycling club trains all winter long, usually starting in November. Since North Dakota isn’t the best place to cycle during the winter, the team trains indoors, about 3-4 days a week and 1-1.5 hours a day. As they get closer to the season, they up the practice days to six times a week and the training time to 1.5-3 hours a day.

Logan Evans of Sitka leads cyclists around the corner while competing for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka leads cyclists around the corner while competing for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

“At this point we focus on building specific skills (sprinting, endurance, climbing),” Logan said. “As far as competition, there are four categories to race in — A, B, C and D. Each category has a different level of cyclist with experience and ability. You start out riding in Category D, and as your skills and experience progress you eventually upgrade to C, followed by B and finally A. I started out in Category D and I upgraded to Category A by my junior year.”

Logan got a bittersweet taste of the national championships last year in Madison, Wis., when he qualified as a junior. He was competing in the road race event when his rear derailleur shattered and he couldn’t finish the race. He finished 41st in the criterium event (a short-course event with many laps), finishing just eight seconds behind the winner. His goal is a repeat trip to the 2012 U.S. Collegiate Cycling Championships on May 4-6 in Ogden, Utah, and much better finishes. North Dakota competes as a Division II team in the North Central Collegiate Cycling Conference.

Logan Evans of Sitka, far right, and other members of the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka, far right, and other members of the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Growing up in Sitka with its 15 miles of road from one end of town to the other, Logan never figured he’d compete on a national level as a cyclist. He still remembers being 5-6 years old when his father (photographer Dan Evans) taught him to ride. Logan considers Sitka a Bicycle Friendly Community and a great bike commuting town, but does think there could be improvements. For one, he thinks there are too many cars on the roads and there should be more bikes.

“I love the friendliness of the locals,” Logan said. “I have never had issues with drivers and they always give a wide berth. The scenery is amazing. I think there should be a criterium race series, and eventually some single-track mountainbike trails. Vancouver, B.C., has one of the most extensive mountainbike single tracks in the world, and it is a similar climate to us in Sitka. The more bicycle-centered events the more people we can get out riding.”

Logan Evans rides his unicycle on Mount Edgecumbe on Kruzof Island

Logan Evans rides his unicycle on Mount Edgecumbe on Kruzof Island

When he’s in Sitka, Logan said he likes to go out to Shotgun Alley to do hill repeats on his road bike. But for scenic rides he likes going over to Mud Bay (on Kruzof Island) and riding to Shelikoff. He also likes to ride his unicycle.

“There are a lot of good road opportunities for cycling, especially using all of the old logging roads,” Logan said. “The only race in Southeast I have done was the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay last June. It is a 150-mile race from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory) to Haines (Alaska). It is by far the most beautiful race I’ve ever ridden, but also the hardest. It can be done with a team as large as eight people or as a solo rider.”

Logan is studying to be a commercial airline pilot, and he hopes to one day after school have a job with Alaska or Horizon Airlines, so he can live and bike in Sitka.

“Sitka is a great town to live in and I know I will be coming back,” Logan said. “Once Sitka gets in your blood, it never leaves. I love the nature, the mountains, our oceans; it’s a perfect blend and there is always something to do. I believe the bike community in Sitka is growing, and will continue to do so.”

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Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Bill Hughes demonstrates his climbing technique during the 2007 Sitka Fun Fair.

Sitka cyclist Bill Hughes first started going to Utah several years ago for some recreational mountain biking. Since then, he started competing in the Huntsman World Senior Games in Zion National Park, Utah, and he now holds the overall title in mountain biking for the age 70-74 division.

The owner of Sitka’s Yellow Jersey Bicycle Shop, Bill competed in both the mountain and road bike competitions in October. He won all three events in the mountain biking competition, which gave him the overall title. In the four road cycling events, he added a couple of bronze medals in the hill climb and time trial.

“I won the mountain bike this year, but I didn’t do much road biking,” Bill said. “I’ve won the mountain biking (overall title) before a couple of times.”

In the mountain biking hill climb, Bill posted a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds to beat Rex Farnsworth of Redondo Beach, Calif., by three seconds. In the downhill, Bill posted a time of 7:15 to beat Ron Near of Toronto by five seconds. He also posted a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 46.0 seconds to win the 25-mile cross country event featuring single-track trails through canyon country by nearly four minutes over Farnsworth’s time of 1:24:40.0.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

Bill Hughes adjusts the spokes on a bike tire at his Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

“I started going down there just to mountain bike, and then I started going to race,” Bill said. “Now I go down for recreation and competing.”

In addition to his exploits at the Huntsman World Senior Games, Bill also has competed as a solo racer in the 148-mile Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, to Haines, Alaska. And about 7-8 years ago Bill did a solo bike ride across the United States.

When he trains, Bill said he rides out to Green Lake to climb the hill. He also trains with Dean Orbison and other cyclists on the Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail then to Blue Lake and then Green Lake, a distance of about 30 miles, about 40 of the 52 weeks each year.

“The training’s not so bad on the mountain bike, but with the road bike the boredom sets in,” Bill said, referring to Sitka’s 15 miles of road from one end of town to the other. “But you can go to Juneau for some higher endurance.”

Even though there aren’t a lot of places to train on a road bike in Sitka, Bill said he does feel Sitka is a Bicycle Friendly Community. “I like how compact the community is. You can ride anywhere on the bike and it’s fairly safe.”

 

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