Cyclist Will Mitchell completes the first leg of the Tour of Juneau bike race on the North Douglas Highway on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Cyclist Will Mitchell completes the first leg of the Tour of Juneau bike race on the North Douglas Highway on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Tech helps cyclists social distance in annual race

The Tour of Juneau bike race used smart devices to track results

Like so many events during the coronavirus, the annual Tour of Juneau bike race went mostly digital this year. Bikers tracked their own times using smart devices on their bikes, according to Will Coleman, member of the Juneau Freewheelers Bike Club.

Last Friday Coleman was out on the North Douglas Highway doing the first leg of this year’s race, a short sprint up the road. Coleman was tracking his time with a Garmin GPS device, but said any device able to record a cyclist’s time and place could be used.

The data was uploaded to the website Strava, Coleman said, and results were posted in real-time. That allowed a larger time window for cyclists to complete each leg of the race, according to Coleman, which allowed for people to compete more or less at their leisure.

Runs still needed to all be completed on the same day, however, to ensure that weather and other conditions are largely the same. Coleman had also secured a permit from the city to use the streets, and last Friday had fluorescent orange road signs on the North Douglas Highway between 5 and 9 p.m., alerting drivers of the bikers.

Saturday had two legs of the race. First, a climb up Fish Creek Road to Eagle Crest Ski Area and then another time trial on North Douglas. Bikers had from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to complete the climb and from 1-8 p.m. for the time trial. Sunday finished with a circuit around the Auke Recreation Area.

A Garmin GPS device attached to Will Coleman’s bike. Coleman and other racers’ data is then uploaded to a website where the results can be shared. Here, Coleman had just finished the first leg of the Tour of Juneau race on the North Douglas Highway on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

A Garmin GPS device attached to Will Coleman’s bike. Coleman and other racers’ data is then uploaded to a website where the results can be shared. Here, Coleman had just finished the first leg of the Tour of Juneau race on the North Douglas Highway on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Coleman, who’s a sponsored rider for FLO Cycling, a cycling wheel company, came in first in every event and the overall race. Only two women competed this year and cyclist Devin Tatro placed first in all events as well in the women’s categories, according to results posted on the Facebook page for the race.

Cycle Alaska bike shop donated prizes, including hats and T-shirts, to the race.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.