Mud splatters across the face of Alexander Andrews, 7, as he finishes second in the Douglas Dirt Derby Youth Bike Race for 5 to 7-year-olds at Savikko Park and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The event was organized by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Mud splatters across the face of Alexander Andrews, 7, as he finishes second in the Douglas Dirt Derby Youth Bike Race for 5 to 7-year-olds at Savikko Park and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The event was organized by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

It was mind over splatter in Douglas bike race

Dirt Derby draws dozens despite dreary drizzle

Despite the solidly gray sky, there was a rainbow at Savikko Park Saturday afternoon.

The Douglas Dirt Derby, a kids bike race along the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail that started at the park, drew about 50 racers who donned multi-colored helmets and sat atop equally vibrant bikes.

“It’s my second race,” said Nora Fortier, 6, an intense young racer in a pink helmet with cat ears. “I really need to get a medal this time.”

[See photos of the race here]

Fortier said she loves riding her bike and had been doing it for years. The young competitor claimed she’d been riding for “10 or 11 years,” but a parental fact-check revealed she’d actually started the hobby at the still-precocious but mathematically possible age of 3 on a pedal-less strider bike.

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Fostering that sort of early connection to being active in general and the cycling hobby in particular is why the Douglas Dirt Derby was started last year, said race director Marc Wheeler.

“A couple of us got together last year and just kind of wanted to keep kids active and interested in cycling,” Wheeler said.

He said the race’s proceeds will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.

Last year’s race took place in the summer, but Wheeler said it was moved to autumn this year, so kids could find out about the event at school.

Organizers said about 20 more kids participated this year, and Wheeler said there’s likely to be a third Dirt Derby.

“It will take on a life of its own, hopefully,” Wheeler said.

Despite damp conditions, youths said they enjoyed the course after taking a “fun run” lap of the trail.

“I was worried about a wipeout in one place,” said racer Pearson Fagel, 6, who had some mud splatter and a smile on his face. “I just went right into a ditch.”

However, he stayed upright and on top of his bike that time, and he had high hopes for the race.

Pearson Fagel, 6, takes a spill at the finish of the Douglas Dirt Derby Youth Bike Race for 5 to 7-year-olds at Savikko Park and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The event was organized by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Pearson Fagel, 6, takes a spill at the finish of the Douglas Dirt Derby Youth Bike Race for 5 to 7-year-olds at Savikko Park and the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The event was organized by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“I hope to get third place,” he said.

2019 Douglas Dirt Derby Results

5-7 year olds (1 lap)

• Rawley Cox 7:57

• Alexander Andrews 8:07

• Woody Collins 8:30

• Maeson Brown 8:49

• John Jensen 9:20

• Pearson Fagel 9:27

• Isaac LaPlante 10:41

• Teller Buchmiller 10:48

• Nina Hollatz 10:50

• Aaro Eckerson 11:27

• Nora Fortier 12:10

• Parker Lanz 12:21

• Quinton Burick 12:30

• Kael Prince 12:33

• Liam Larson 13:02

• Jack Kellar 13:07

• Owen Hollatz 17:40

• Amelia Krueger 18:02

• Maizee Selvig-Baker 19:28

• Pierce Garcia 21:33

8-9 year olds: (2 laps)

• Caleb Schane 11:40

• Charlie Begenyi 12:32

• Jacob Ivaniszek 13:20

• Maddie Bass 13:43

• Byron Boone 15:10

• Emmalyn LaPlante 15:16

• Beckham Selvig-Baker 15:44

• Tyrell Baylosis 15:55

• Tanzia Swafford 17:33

• Frisco McGuire 19:07

• Kana Swafford 24:52

10-11 year olds (3 laps)

• Angus Andrews 13:51

• Eva Meyer 14:31

• Elias Schane 14:35

• Jeff Ivaniszek 16:14

• Marlin Cox 16:46

• Liam Osterhout 16:57

• Gavin Holt 18:10

• Joshua Edwards 18:16

• Jade Eckeson 19:04

• Logan Fellman 20:23

• Jack Howell 20:39

• Joseph Maddox 20:43

• Genevieve Selvig-Baker 22:17

12-14 year olds (4 laps)

• Reed Maier 16:08

• Emma Fellman 17:15

• Dylan Sowa 17:16

• Finn Lamb 18:05

• Ferguson Wheeler 20:16


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.