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Alaska News

Saturday triathlon, Kenai fishing will make Seward Highway busier than usual

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: July 20, 2018
  • Published July 20, 2018

An Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon competitor bikes along the Seward Highway as a motorhome passes by south of Girdwood on July 15, 2017. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

Travelers hitting the Seward Highway on Saturday should expect plenty of bicycle traffic between Girdwood and Seward and some lane closures near Girdwood.

Heavier than usual traffic is expected because of the second annual Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon, a 143-mile race that starts in Seward at 4 a.m. and goes all the way to Girdwood.

More than 300 people are competing and most will have support crews driving from Seward to Girdwood.

Additionally, the Alaska Department of Safety reminded the public that this is the second weekend of Kenai dipnetting — historically "the busiest weekend for the fishery," according to a news release.

The increased traffic prompted the Anchorage Fire Department and Girdwood Fire Department to issue an advisory Friday afternoon.

"There will be lane closures in the area and a whole lot of people and traffic. Give yourself extra time whether you plan on participating, spectating, or driving through to get further south," the advisory said.

Anchorage police will help direct and control traffic around Girdwood, the advisory said. Alaska State Troopers will also increase patrols on roadways and waterways to ensure safety, the Department of Public Safety said.

People planning to hike or bike in the Girdwood area in the afternoon or evening should expect race traffic on the Bird to Gird bike path, the Alyeska Highway bike path and Mount Alyeska's North Face.

The race begins in Seward with a 2.6-mile swim in Resurrection Bay. After that comes a 113-mile bike from Seward to the Bird Creek campground, which will put a lot of cyclists on the highway.

The race ends with a 27.5-mile run from Bird to Mount Alyeska, where racers will make two ascents of the steep North Face slope before their day is done.

A full field of 320 racers are signed up for the race, including 50 from Alaska.

It's a grueling event that features a total elevation gain of 4,635 feet on the bike and 7,000 feet on the run.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done, hands down," Anchorage racer Daniel Folmar said after finishing third in the inaugural race.

Neither Folmar nor last year's winner, Andrew Fast of Salt Lake City, is among this year's entrants. The top woman from last year, Morgan Chaffin of Nebraska, is entered.

Fast won in 11 hours, 18 minutes, 29 seconds. Chaffin placed sixth overall in 12:47:50.

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