FAIRBANKS - Fairbanks cyclist Jay Cable got his wish.
After being forced to push his bike for 60 of the first 90 miles of last year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational because of deep snow, which led him to bail out of the race, Cable, who was one of three local cyclists competing in this year’s invititational, said he was hoping to do more riding than pushing this year.
On Thursday, Cable finished in a tie for 12th place in the 350-mile human-powered race on the Iditarod Trail.
Cable and Eric Warkentin, a cyclist from California, reached the finish line in McGrath at 10:20 a.m. to finish with a time of 3 days, 20 hours and 20 minutes for an average speed of 3.8 mph.
“There wasn’t much walking,” Cable, a 37-year-old research programmer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said by phone from McGrath. “The trail’s in really good shape. We only had to walk maybe 15 miles total.
“I had a great time,” he said. “It was fantastic.”
It was the first time Cable finished the race while Warkentin has several Invitational finishes under his belt. The two riders traveled together for much of the race.
Their time was more than a full day slower than winner Jay Petervary of Idaho, who finished at 9:16 a.m. Wednesday and set a new course record in the process.
Petervary’s time was 2:19:16, which was more than 10 hours faster than the previous record of 3:05:40 set by seven-time champ Peter Basinger.
In fact, the top seven racers in this year’s race broke the old record, including Fairbanks cyclists Kevin Breitenbach and Jeff Oatley, who finished in a tie for third place on Wednesday, just 51 minutes behind Petervary.
Colorado cyclist Eszter Horanyi, an Invitational rookie, set a women’s record for cyclists enroute to becoming the first female finisher in this year’s race. Horanyi’s time of 3 days 16 hours and 20 minutes was six hours faster than the previous record set by Louise Kobin in 2011 and good for 10th place overall.
Basinger, the three-time defending champ, finished in ninth place this year with a time of 3 days, 15 hours.
In addition to a good trail, the weather also cooperated, Cable said.
“It wasn’t all that cold and there wasn’t a lot of wind,” he said.
Cable said he slept a total of about 12 hours during the race and the only ache or pain he had was swollen knees.
“The only thing aching is my knees,” he said. “They don’t hurt when I’m biking, they just hurt when I’m not biking.”
All 48 racers who started the race on Sunday were still going as of Thursday. Fourteen racers, all cyclists, had finished the race as of Thursday afternoon.
Cable said he had a good enough time that he’s thinking about doing the race again next year.
“I definitely want to do it again,” he said. “I might try skiing next year. This year would have been fantastic skiing.”
Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.