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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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