Anchorage cyclist Tim Berston has won the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile human powered race between Knik and McGrath. Bernston peddled his fat bike into the Kuskokwim River village Monday afternoon, clocking a time of just under 2 days.
“It was great from the start to Skwentna, other than just being wet and icy,” said Bernston. “But it was fast and it was great and fast from the top of Rainy pass all the way to the finish.”
Bernston says the only tough parts were between Shell Lake and the top of Rainy Pass, where riders were forced off their bikes to push through soft snow. Bernston, an ITI veteran who twice previously finished second in the race, says it was a smooth ride this year, with no injuries or mechanical problems, and minimal sleep.
“…I maybe got actual sleep, probably 20 minutes or something,” Bernston said.
Bernston says the sleep deprivation resulted in one wrong turn between Nikolai and McGrath, that cost his a couple miles, before he realized he was off track. He says he kept himself fueled with plenty of sugar.
“Some chocolate chip cookies with pecans and walnuts and a couple different kinds of chocolate in them, some peanut butter cookies from Fire Island, bread company in Anchorage and then some trail mix that I made.”
Bernston’s time is just a few hours off the ITI McGrath course record set last year. He was pressed throughout the ride by race rookie Tyson Flaharty of Fairbanks, who came in second this afternoon. The top woman in the race, cyclist Heather Best of Fairbanks is expected into McGrath today. Several racers, both cyclists and runners, plan to keep riding all the way to Nome.