by Davya Flaharty
Tyson Flaharty grew up alpine skiing, but he converted to cross country skiing in high school, competing nationally and internationally in the sport until 2010. While skiing remained his dominant winter sport for a few more years, he shifted his off-season focus to Ironman distance triathlons: 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run. Because biking had been a longtime and passionate cross-training staple for Flaharty during his ski career, the biking leg of his triathlons became his strongest.
Fast forward to 2012: Flaharty bought his first fatbike and was hooked. Competing in endurance cycling events, he came on strong with wins at the White Mountain 100 (mile) winter race and the infamous 100-mile Sluice Box, a short-lived, summer mountain bike adventure race in the Fairbanks area. More recently, Flaharty competed in the Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI), a human-powered race following the same course as the world-famous, eponymous sled dog race. During the ITI, endurance athletes travel on foot, bike, or skis self-sufficiently for 350 or 1,000 miles. Thus far, Flaharty has raced the ITI three times, winning the event once, and finishing the 350 in under two days, a feat accomplished by only four other cyclists in the history of the event.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many races have been canceled or gone virtual. Flaharty has focused on his family (a wife and two young kids), started a home business designing and sewing frame bags for bicycles, and kept motivated with physical challenges including “Everesting,” where he climbed 29,029 feet on his gravel bike non-stop for 14 hours and 36 minutes going back and forth on the four-mile-long incline of Ester Dome Road, with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet.
What’s next for Flaharty? The ITI is back on for 2022, and he is registered for the 350-mile February event followed by the White Mountain 100 in March.