Tower, Flaharty, Wilcox Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Athlete of the Week co-winners

June 1, 2020

Endurance cyclists Janice Tower, Tyson Flaharty and Lael Wilcox rode to the “Top of the World” over Memorial Day weekend and are the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Athletes of the Week.

Participating in the Giddy Up Challenge, also known as “Everesting”, each cyclist rode the elevation equivalent of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029 feet.

Tower, of Anchorage, completed the 3-mile “Super Potter” climb of Potter Road 23 ½ times in an elapsed time of 17 hours, 40 minutes. Each lap climbed 1,260 feet with an average grade of 7.8 percent. Her vertical gain for the day was 29,638 feet. Tower had various friends keep her company throughout the day.

“One of the best parts of today’s ride were the friends who came out to ride a lap or two with me,” Tower said on Facebook.

The Giddy Up Challenge was a fundraiser for COVID-19 pandemic relief.

Flaharty, of Fairbanks, rode Ester Dome Road, which is mostly unpaved, 17.25 times to gain 29,245 feet of vertical. He rode through the entire night and had a moving time of 14 hours, 36 minutes while covering nearly 140 miles.

“I started last night heading up Ester Dome after work and finished today,” Flaharty wrote on Facebook May 24. “Super hard and glad to be done. Had a bunch of highs and a few low moments. Did not need any lights. I guess it is really full summer now! I found out that 29,029 feet of climbing happens to be a lot.”

Meanwhile, Wilcox, an Anchorage native and one of the world’s best ultra-endurance cyclists, climbed Hatcher Pass Road in Palmer 13 times for 29,541 feet of climbing over 225 miles. She started at 4:45 a.m. and rode for 21 hours straight. Each lap included a nine-mile ascent and descent.

“My favorite part were the laps shared with Christina (Grande) and Rue (Rugile Kaladyte),” Wilcox wrote on Facebook. “The biggest challenge was the final six hours in 37F rain. The best thing I ate were hot instant mashed potatoes after the 11th ascent. What a magnificent place to spend all day climbing.”

The athlete of the week recipient is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.

– By Blog contributor Matias Saari