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Sluice Box 100: Flaharty breaks 11-hour barrier in arduous dome-hopping bicycle race

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Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 12:04 am | Updated: 10:37 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Tyson Flaharty of Fairbanks broke the 11-hour barrier in winning the bike division of the inaugural Sluice Box 100 human powered endurance race Saturday.

Flaharty covered the 100+ mile course across four domes from the Alaska Dog Mushers Hall on Farmers Loop to Chatanika Lodge in 10 hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds to edge rival Kevin Breitenbach of Fairbanks by about 20 minutes.

Breitenbach finished the arduous course in 11:17:33.

Flaharty helps run the bike shop at Goldstream Sports and Breitenbach holds a similar position at Beaver Sports. Both companies sponsor the Sluice Box 100.

After leaving the Mushers Hall at 7 a.m. Saturday participants in the race followed trails about 18 miles to Ester where they began dome hopping.

After climbing Ester Dome, they negotiated their way up Murphy Dome and Moose Mountain before making the climb over Pedro Dome and Cleary Summit to the finish line at the Old FE Gold Camp near Chatanika.

Racers have 36 hours to complete the course.

Heather Best of Fairbanks was the only woman to have finished the race by 9:30 p.m. Saturday as she posted a winning bike time of 13:56:02. Best was the seventh overall finisher

Joel Homan of Fairbanks took third in 12:12:58, followed by Joel Buth of Fairbanks in 12:45:48, Christopher Wrobel of Anchorage in 12:52:28, Trystan Herriott of Fairbanks in 13:30:47 and Sean Grady of Anchorage in 14:02:32.

Race timer John Estle said weather wasn’t a factor Saturday as there was no rain and little direct sunshine on the course.

“The conditions were just about perfect,” Estle said when calling in the early results of Cleary Summit.

Estle said Flaharty averaged about 9-10 mph on the first 65 miles of the course.

Speeds dropped dramatically for the next 25 miles to the top of Cleary Summit, as Flaharty’s pace slowed to about 6 mph on the most rugged portion of the course.

Flaharty covered the last 11 or 12 miles from Cleary Summit to the finish line at a 15 mph clip.

The lead runner — Drew Harrington of Fairbanks passed through the Ken Kunkle checkpoint (Mile 65) at 7:06 p.m., followed by Eric Schmidgall of Fairbanks at 7:37 p.m.

Laura McDonough of Anchorage was the first woman through Ken Kunkle at 8:41 p.m.

The lead runners were expected to finish sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

The only two participants still in the race who hadn’t reached Ken Kunkle as of 10:15 p.m. Saturday were Bob Gillis of Fairbanks and Anne Ver Hoef of Anchorage.

Morris Palter of Fairbanks, Jay Cable of Fairbanks and John Schnok of Fairbanks went through the Skiland checkpoint on their bicycles about 10 p.m. and were expected to reach the finish line close to midnight to complete the men’s top 10.

The team of Tom Moran, Kevin Brinegar, Ted Wu, John Scherzer and Patrik Sartz was leading the relay race.

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