The 2018 Tour de Dungeness is a wrap. This year marked the 21st time the Pacific Northwest’s road bike racing season has kicked off in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The “Tour de Dung” annually brings 400–500 cyclists from all over the region to compete over two successive weekends–March 10th and 17th this year.
The course is a generally flat 12-mile loop that circles clockwise around from Sequim-Dungeness Way to Woodcock Road, on to Kitchen-Dick Road and then back via Lotzgezell, Cays, and Anderson Roads. Dungeness Community Church was the new starting point this year, but the finish line, as in the past, was at the top of a short, steep climb up Lotzgezell. The Tour de Dung course has a well-earned reputation for being fast but posing the major challenge of riding into stiff headwinds as the racers head west on Woodcock. Of course they benefit from the tailwind riding east, and while speeds can hover between 15 and 20 miles per hour on the westward or upwind leg of the race, they can edge beyond 35 or 40 miles per hour riding downwind to the east.
A few details to help understand the event better.
Racers are grouped by category and gender: Pro 1, 2, and 3, Men, Cat 1/2, 3, 4, and 5, Masters Men (35+) 1, 2, Masters Men (40+), Cat 4/5, Women Pro, Cat 1/2/3, and Women Pro Cat 4/5. This also dictates the distance of the race–the number of circuits each group has to make around the course, from 72 miles for Pros in Cat 1/2 to 36 miles for the Cat 5 group.
An individual cyclist’s category is determined by the points that individual has accumulated over their racing “career.” Points are awarded based on finishing position and the number of other people in a given race. And to move up in category ranking will also depend on where a cyclist lives and competes, and how many races he or she can participate in.
The main thing to remember is that when it comes to the sport of road bike racing, it’s extremely competitive! This is not for the weekend, sunshine-only, cycling enthusiast. It takes dedication and commitment, as well as a fair amount of sacrifice and–no getting around it–pain. Still, when 400-500 cyclists show up each year in Sequim to kick off the region’s road racing season, it give you an idea or just how popular the sport is.
Local competitors and supporters
We have some outstanding local racers as well, so if you get a chance, be sure to congratulate Liam Barber, Matt Fleming, and Eric Ellefson on their races!
The Tour de Dung is put on by Audi Cycling and by Mike Van Doren with local support from the Bike Garage and a number of Sequim cyclists who volunteer to help with race logistics.
See you next year!