all my apologies for not updating the website any sooner after the
race. Due to
blizzard like conditions on the drive back to Whitehorse, we got in
Ever since I have been busy trying to catch up on things back home and
the German government happy by handing in my tax declaration. That is
my final report this time will be quite short.
all I want to thank all the athletes who have had the courage to
the YAU 2011. And of course I want to congratulate once more all the
I hope everyone's recovery is going well.
want to thank all volunteers and staff for doing such a great job. All
commented on how well supported they felt and how much the atmosphere
the trail and at the checkpoints makes the YAU such a special
done everyone! The same goes for the checkpoints. Thank you for your
for supporting the race by hosting us!
not least, my thank you to all our sponsors. The race would not have
possible without you!
race so many things have happened that it is of course difficult to sum
in a short report. So, please for a more detailed overview check the
that were written during the race. Also, I will soon put online the
friendly results table. At the moment, if you want to check results
the table that is linked from our "Welcome" page – lower right.
about the results. There is one change. Due to the fact that David
held at Scroggie Creek for an extensive period of time and Mark Hines
upon reaching that checkpoint was about 12 hours behind him, we changed
the ranking for the 430 mile
race. David Berridge officially ranks second before Mark Hines. Mark
informed and being a great sportsman he did not have a problem with
Of the top
of my head the things that really influenced this race were the cold
guess does not come as a surprise), more snowfall than ever before and
guys out front breaking records. The cold and the snow also meant quite
few problems with frostbite. It is hard to say which cases may have
to avoid. Each case was or is different. There is very experienced
Ghidoni, winner of the 430 miles in 2009, who got his frostbite during
first 100 miles. Then we have had cases where spilling fuel was a big
the problem. Others were doing fine and got their frostbite on the last
Dawson. It seems we will never be able to avoid this hazard 100%.
hope next time we will see less frostbite again.
As far as
breaking records is concerned, local athlete Denise McHale was first in
was faster than any men and also faster than any YAU marathon finisher
before. Very soon it became obvious that other new records would be
mountain biker Alan Sheldon worked very hard to beat fellow countryman
Cracknell who was on bike, too. In doing so he was way faster than in
he won the 430 miles for the first time. I have to admit that I was
surprise. I expected maybe an improvement of about a day but Alan
this was not enough. As a consequence I was left with the choice of
adapt or making the two front bikers rest. I decided not to break their
and let them go. Alan’s smart decision to push hard and make 100% use
nice weather (nice meaning no snow) in combination with his experience
that I had nothing to worry about. With James things were a bit
was caught in the Dome area in deep snow. However, we knew he had his
two doctors and two extremely experienced guides near him. So, in an
situation help would not have been far away.
bit further back things were also rough for Greg McHale, Denise’s
decided not to camp and wait for somebody to break trail for him to
Instead he broke trail himself. Since Greg’s SPOT was working all the
with his knowledge as a local we felt confident that he will be okay.
Obviously, the race continued to be difficult for him as only when he
the Dome our guides managed to catch up to him coming in from the
Greg was slower than what he had hoped but still way faster than any
foot ever before.
I jumped ahead
a little bit now … Not only did the marathon see 100% of the athletes
amongst them also Jeffrey Norris who is blind. Also, a very big
the 100 milers did reach the finish. As always, the 300 milers were
more by the cold and snow. The big news there was that for the first
have had Spanish finishers. And not only did they finish. Jorge Aubeso
Marianne Heading became the first European woman ever to reach Pelly
congratulations to all participants!
Photographs by Yann Besrest-Butler
up as a volunteer who is travelling the world and was looking for a
kind of adventure. He did a great job and was all over the place
checkpoints like Ken Lake and Indian River. At Ken Lake he was so busy
Ross that he almost had no chance to take pictures. But somehow in
managed to take the time and show us his talent. If you want to see
please check out his website. For all those interested his photographs
The next Yukon Arctic
point, the plan is to keep our bi-annual rhythm and have the next Yukon
Ultra in 2013 when the Quest starts in Whitehorse again. We have had
races in the past heading towards the Quest when they started in
it had always worked out fine. The challenge for me is that my business
home with Racelite has grown to a size were it is difficult to be away
office for extended periods of time. I would only commit to 2012 if I
sure I can manage the time off. If I change my mind it will be in April
at the latest.
February 19th/13:00 local time (Dawson
Everybody is in and
We had to bring John and
Hubert in on ski-doo and with a car. Unfortunately, the were still too
far out this morning. A full update once I am back in
February 18th/16:45 local time (Dawson
Hubert and John finally on the move
Our snowmobile crew went into
Indian River in order to check on the situation there. We have come up
with all kinds of explications for their delay but in the end the only
way to find out was to go there.
The answer I have
just received is that everything is fine. Both Hubert and John just
wanted to get more rest for the final leg. Now they are moving again
and convinced they will make it before the
The only problem is that it is snowing
again. So, Gary, Spencer and Glenn went to break trail for them again
in the Dome area. Let's hope the winds are not too strong and the trail
does not get blown in again after only a couple of hours.
February 18th/12:50 local time (Dawson
Hubert and John resting at Indian
After both Hubert and John made
camp at the place that used to be our Indian River checkpoint they
moved on to the cabin we are using now. I was worried that they may not
have been told that the checkpoint was moved but they were aware of it.
The only problem now is that they really need to get going. Let's hope
they will do so soon!
Sean Brown back in
After discussing all our
options it was decided that Sean should get air transport from Scroggie
Creek back to Whitehorse rather than bringing him out on ski-doo to
Dawson. Sean's problem on the way to Scroggie was that he could not get
his flask open to drink and he did not stop to eat. Big mistake.
Instead of melting snow with his stove or building a wood fire he just
pushed on and consequently ran into problems.
Gerd from Alpine
Aviation flew in yesterday to bring Sean back. He is now recovering in
Whitehorse and fine.
February 18th/06:25 local time (Dawson
Jerym Brunton arrives in
At 05:30 Jerym Brunton arrived in
Dawson City. He is in great shape and like everybody else he commented
on the very cold temperatures of the last few days. At the moment it is
a nice and warm -28 degrees (and I am not kidding, it really feels warm
compared to what we have had ...). When I offered Jerym hot chocolate,
tea or coffee he said "What? You don't have beer? Again?" Because I
guess when he finished this race in 2009 he must have asked for beer.
Shame on me. But he was lucky and we found him one this time.He is now resting and has
got until February 27th to fully recover when he will start walking
another 1000 miles in Alaska.
February 17th/15:45 local time (Dawson
Bruce Thompson interviewed by US national
Bruce Thompson who in previous
years finished the YAU 100, 300 and 430 mile races just was interviewed
by US national radio (The Story). It was broadcast now and it's a
really nice one. This is the link to it:
At 07:40 David Berridge arrived in
Dawson City. Current temperature is - 45 degrees C. He got a bit lost
there towards the end but instead of complaining he made a joke when we
ran into him and just asked "if he can get a cup of tea when he gets to
the end of this".
February 17th/04:30 local time (Dawson
Mark Hines arrives in Dawson at
got into Dawson at 03:25, temperatures around the - 44 degrees C. He
commented that it's actually quite warm compared to what he had
experienced on the Dome. Mark's arrival time puts im into 4th overall
and 2nd in the foot category.
February 16th/21:35 local time (Dawson
Mark Hines is speeding towards the finish
Mark currently is going very fast.
And I am not sure if it's the fact that he is so close, extremely cold
or because it's going down hill. Whatever it is, it's great to see him
go so strong. Mark already finished the 430 miles in 2009 with the
focus of getting to Dawson before cut-off, enjoying it and collecting
enough content and ideas for the
book he afterwards wrote about the race (which by the way
contains very important and interesting information for all those of
you thinking about signing up in a future year).
This year Mark
clearly came back to compete and his performance is great. He is one
fine athlete and what makes him so special is his attitude towards
nature. This guy just loves nature. He likes the cold and does not
fight against anything but rather considers all challenges as a gift,
something he happily accepts and deals with. In a calm and determined
way. Way to go Mark!
David Berridge not far behind
Another athlete who is doing
really well is David. In 2009 he had to scratch from the 430 miles due
to timing issues with another race. And he had previously finished the
100 and 300 miles. If all goes well in the next hours he should reach
Dawson as the third athlete on foot. Since he was fine at Indian River,
had a good rest there and he demonstrated that he can deal with the -
45 degrees, I am positive that he will make it.
Jerym resting at Indian
Jerym was really fast on his way to Indian
River and is now resting there. No doubt soon we will see his SPOT
Tracker moving again.
Hubert and John are close together
too can keep their current pace and increase a little bit once they
managed the Dome they will get to Dawson within the time limit. We keep
our fingers crossed.
still at Scroggie
Sean is with our crew at Scroggie
and by tomorrow 09:00 we will decide how we will bring him out. The
main concern is to be sure that he can be transported without getting
his hands and feet cold again. In order to make this decision I will
talk to Jessica and/or Mike directly. It's a tough call because
bringing him out on a ski-doo means less extra cost for the athlete but
he would be out in the cold more. Therefore, the question will be if
more clothing and extra warm boots will be sufficient and/or if he
actually prefers a plane as it is faster.
Frostbite - our
number 1 problem
Of course problems like blisters or
simply exhaustion occur more often but it's frostbite that the athletes
fear the most. Scott Gilmour has put together another short video for
you. It deals with the issue of cold injuries. There are many things
the athletes do in order to try and avoid it. However, unexpected
things can happen and little mistakes can have bad consequences.
To be honest with you I was not sure if we
should show this excerpt but the team convinced me that it is actually
important as it may help educate future athletes and to demonstrate
that it can happen to anyone. For all those interested in the YAU
please also note our written
information on the subject.
Mark is about to
head out from Indian River for the final leg to Dawson City. David will
follow shortly aftwards. Both are well rested with their gear dried and
no signs of frostbite. Having shown us they can handle the - 40 degrees
and colder we don't expect them to run into any problems but will have
a close look at their progress none the
still going strong
Jerym has been going
strong all night. He is now about 10 miles from Indian River and should
get there tonight. That's great timing and I am sure he will enjoy the
stay with Kevin and Yann.
Hubert and John still resting at
Both Hubert and John are fine.
Hubert is reported to be struggling for motivation. Which is only
normal as from his other ultra experiences he must be used to moving a
lot faster. Since he is so close to the finish now and we have a great
crew at Scroggie I hope they can give his determination a boost and
that we see him walk into Dawson within the time limit.
February 16th/00:57 local time (Dawson
Video of German athlete Hubert Beck - after the heavy
Not long ago David and Mark
reached Indian River. There are no reports that they have frostbite or
any other major problem. So, after a good rest they will head out again
and we should see them soon in Dawson City.
Our crew checked on Sean this
morning and when they met him he did ask to be brought to Scroggie on
snowmobile. So, unfortunatly he scratched. Considering the
circumstances he is fine. No immediate evacuation was requested and he
is now resting at Scroggie with our crew. Tomorrow we will hear from
them again and then decide how to get Sean back to civilization. The
challenge we have here is that temperatures at the moment don't allow
for transport on a ski-doo - too cold for too long. We may have a
window of opportunity on Friday. Otherwise it will have to be by small
Hubert and John are motoring to
Glenn and Spencer checked on
Hubert and John today and they were fine. They may bivy down again at
night and hopefully get to Scroggie by tomorrow morning.You can do it
Jerym is flying down the
Jerym has left Scroggie a while
ago and is literally flying down the trail. I should mention that this
crazy guy plans on not only finishing our 430 mile race but basically
right afterwards will head to Alaska for a yet another 1000 miles on
the Iditarod trail. On foot (not snowmachine). Can you imagine?
February 15th/15:27 local time (Dawson
Jerym Brunton reaches
Jerym got into Scroggie and was
fine. Jessica and Mike made a check with him and agreed that he may
continue. Sean was not with Jerym because their pace did not match. So,
Glenn and Spencer went out to check on him. There is a good chance they
will continue on down the trail to check on John and Hubert, too. They
are our guys in the back but moving steady.
Indian River is ready
cabin at Indian River is now ready. Glenn and Kevin are there and
waiting for David and Mark who will hopefully get there this
February 15th/11:42 local time (Dawson
Crew sets up Indian
Since extremely low temperatures
kept making it difficult to set up a Wall Tent at Indian River, Murray
and Kevin asked around in Dawson yesterday if we could use one of the
cabins nearby. And they found a place - Thanks to the kind owner!!!
Makes our life a lot easier now.
Kevin, Gary and Yann
(volunteer, photographer, ski-doo driver and globetrotter, soon to be
Yukoner ;-) have left to get the cabin heated up and to check on David
and Mark who both are making slow but steady progress towards Indian
Yann before heading out to Indian
It is - 43 here
down town Dawson as I write this. Cars are starting to have trouble to
start. It was so cold coming here my windshield kept freezing on me
with the heat cranked up all the way ... So, it is awesome that we have
a crew willing to go out in these temps. The radio keeps saying "No
reason to be out there if you don't have to" ... Don't they know we
have a race here ...
All other athletes are moving,
too. Those who reach Scroggie will get their gear checked again and
will only be let go well rested, fit and with dry clothes and sleeping
bags. We also recommend them to keep moving in teams of 2 and try to
move as much as possible in
February 15th/24:01 local time (Dawson
All remaining 300 mile athlete reach the finish in
Gabriel, Inigo and Eduardo - all from Spain - at the finish
of the 300 miles
also Eduardo Linares and Marianne Heading reached the 300 mile finish
well before the cut-off. Which means all 300 mile athletes who were
still in the competition are now safe and back in
Marianne Heading, YAU super volunteer and first ever
European woman to finish the 300 miles.
Yukoner Greg McHale places 3rd overall in the 430
Greg McHale reached Dawson City
this afternoon. He was obviously very tired and also very hungry but
considering what he had been through he looked really good. It's a
shame our race is so spread out that seldom an athlete gets the crowd
at the finish that he truly deserves. This goes especially for Greg.
Not only is he the first athlete on foot to finish the 430 miles this
year (only two mountain bikers were faster). He also broke Enrico
Ghidoni's record from 2009 by a long time. And that is after really bad
trail conditions from Pelly Farm to Scroggie, snowdrifts in the dome
area and extremely cold temperatures. Well done Greg!
Tough conditions for remaining 430
No more snow in the forecast for
now but temperatures down to - 44 degrees make the going tough for the
430 milers still in the race. Good news is the trail is better
David Berridge teamed up with Mark Hines and
they are approaching Indian River. At the moment they are in an area
where it seems to be difficult to get a SPOT signal. Of course
technical problems are a possibility, too. That is why a crew will
leave first thing in the morning to check on them. On that occasion
they will also get a cabin heated up near Indian River as it was still
impossible to set up a camp.
Jerym Brunton left
Pelly Farm together with Sean Brown. Of course, we don't know if they
managed to stay near each other all the time - as Sean's SPOT does not
seem to be working - but they are likely not far away from each other.
We will try to exchange Sean's SPOT but this may take a
In the back are John Quinn and Hubert Beck.
Both of them are making good progress towards Scroggie at the
February 14th/09:30 local time (Pelly
Our guide Gary went out to
check on Greg McHale this morning. The report is: "He is going slow but
going and he is okay". So, that's great news.
McMahon reached the finish in Pelly Crossing at 08:38 this morning
which means he ranks 5th in the 300 mile race. Not long after Eduardo
game in and just now Marianne has arrived. They are all fine and of
course very happy.
Note on the side: Gabriel is also
(and still) happy because fellow competitor Gary made a special
delivery for him. When Gabriel was at the farm the lasagne was not
ready, yet. So, Sue from the Farm gave Gary some to take away ...
Needless to say it was frozen solid. But we do have a micro wave here
February 14th/03:20 local time (Pelly
Gabriel Santamaria Manso arrrives at the
At 03:00 Gabriel Santamario Manso
reached the finish line in Pelly Crossing and thus places 4th in the
300 miles. Normally people come here very happy but they do need some
time before they commit to coming back. Gabriel is different. He came
in and said he wants to come back and be faster. He loves a good
challenge and the YAU is a pretty good challenge ...
February 13th/22:53 local time (Pelly
Remaining 300 milers on the
Marianne, Gary, Eduardo and Gabriel
have left Pelly Farm. Gabriel will have no problem to make it within
the time limit - that is if he does not rest or slow down. The others
may make it also in time. Again, if they keep up the good
Brunton left for Scroggie
Jerym did not
wait for a long time after he was informed that he can leave. He is
already on the move and his speed shows that he is well
David is fine and at Scroggie waiting for the
sunlight (Marilyn I passed on your message to him). If possible he
plans to team up with another athlete.
Mark Hines is about 10 miles south of
Scroggie and hopefully will get there in about 5
John Quinn made it to Pelly
Farm and Hubert Beck should follow shortly. Both have now a mandatory
stay of 8 hours. Good timing because it means they can leave in the
February 13th/20:58 local time (Pelly
Mike Thomas places third in the 300 mile
For Mike this race was a present
for his 60th birthday and now he made himself another present. He has
done extremely well and placed third arriving in Pelly Crossing at
mile race continues
After talking to the crew at
Scroggie and the crew in Dawson it was decided to continue the 430 mile
race. Mark Hines and Greg McHale have been on the move anyway as they
had been between checkpoints when we started to keep people from
leaving. Now also the athletes who have been held at checkpoint may
As temperatures will be very
cold (- 41 degrees in the Dawson area), the athletes will only be
allowed to continue if they feel fit. It is also recommended they move
as much as possible during daytime. The front runners are all very
experienced and the guys in the back will see temperatures warming up
slightly over the next couple of days. Unfortunately, this also means
it may be snowing again. We will take it step by step.
300 mile athletes running out of
In the meantime, a few 300 mile athletes are
running out of time. Marianne Heading and Gary McMahon are still at
Pelly Farm and if they don't leave soon it will be tough for them to
make it. Let's hopy Andy Heading and Diane who are there with them can
motivate them to give it a try.
February 13th/19:49 local time (Pelly
The crew found Greg this
morning and he was fine. Tired but fine. The situation was evaluated
and since Greg felt good and wanted to continue, they let him move on.
He is slow bu he is making progress.
February 13th/11:49 local time (Pelly
Murray, Kevin and Gary got
through the Dome. They are currently looking for Greg who seems to have
stopped. Once they found him they will call us and we will decide how
David Berridge who sent us a help message
earlier on was encountered by Glenn and Spencer just south of Scroggie
and seems to be moving again by himself.
February 13th/09:42 local time (Pelly
Inigo and Poh Joo Toh
Inigo was very tired when I saw
him on his way to Pelly Crossing but he battled on to reach the
checkpoint at 01:26 last night. I was told that it was a good thing I
was resting in a corner when he came in because he would have told me
some nasty things in Spanish ... He is now sleeping and I did see him
smile already. So, he is fine but will not
Poh Joo Toh (PJ) sent a help message about
11 miles and we came to pick him up last night. When we got to where he
was waiting it was quite bizarre. He was sitting in a chair on a frozen
lake by a fire. First I thought it is somebody ice fishing. But it was
PJ. After a bumpy ride back he got some rest and will now wait with the
others for the bus that leaves for Whitehorse tomorrow.
February 13th/08:48 local time (Pelly
James Cracknell reaches Dawson and places 2nd in the 430
Due to the trail difficulties up
north I stayed in Pelly Crossing as it is the best place for
communication right now. From here we have been watching the athletes
and been in close contact with Pascal, our race
I don't have an exact finishing time but
James made it to Dawson and this means he placed 2nd overall. I have
not talked to him, yet. So, I don't know if he is happy, tired,
frustrated or all this at the same time. I am sure it felt strange for
him to have arrived in Dawson and the only one greeting him likely were
a couple of crows on main street.
Luigi Mazzocchi is our second 300 mile
Italian runner Luigi Mazzocchi
arrived in Pelly Crossing at 03:24 this morning and places 2nd. I was
very happy to see him finish as in 2009 he had to scratch a short
distance before the finish due to kidney problems. He is now resting
and will take the shuttle we have leaving here tomorrow.
Breaking trail to Indian
Gary has re-enforced the crew in
Dawson City. So, together - as I write this - we will venture out for a
second try of breaking trail to Indian River. A first attempt going in
from the north via the Dome yesterday failed.
At the moment no
athletes are allowed to leave Pelly Farm or Scroggie. That is until we
know if we can get a different trail to Indian River. James and the
crew with him will have broken trail by now but the problem is that new
snow may be coming in a couple of days and snowdrifts are a constant
problem. Not to mention the soft snow. Seeing that the temperatures are
going down as well, the alternative route seems the better
David Berridge right now should be at
Scroggie. I will get an update at 09:00 local time. Mark Hines is on
his way to Scroggie and after a break is making good
Thomas Muhler sent a help message and
called in from his sat phone about 17 km north of Pelly Farm. Since he
was "only" very tired but otherwise fine, I asked him to rest and then
try to go back to the Farm by himself. Which is what he did. It is
understandable that he did not continue as the now soft trail is
difficult for running but impossible for mountain
February 12th/15:26 local time (Pelly
Facing the Dome
of the last two days has completely changed the race. Lucky Alan. At
this very moment our guides Murray and Kevin are north of King Solomon
Dome trying to break trail for Greg and James. Unfortunately, they got
to a point where it is impossible to continue. Too much fresh snow and
snowdrifts are covering the trail on what is the only mountain athletes
have to cross. The situation is so difficult that one of our
snowmachines got stuck and they are now working hard to get it going
James is caught in
snow south of the Dome. We have had no help message from him and the
crew that is with him has not called in. So, at this point we assume
things are fine. They just can't move forward.
We are now trying
to find out if there is a safe way to get around the dome - e.g. via
our Assistance Point.
The challenge is
communication and I am glad that we are prepared for situations like
this and have Pascal who is doing a great job as our race headquarter.
Once I know if
there is a way around the Dome I have the option to change the trail
and the race can continue. If there is no way around the mountain. The
race comes to an end and we need to decide how to get everybody
When we have communication
with Scroggie and once guides Spencer and Glenn arrived there and had a
rest, the crew will venture out to meet James further north. If we get
communication to the crew from Discovery Channel that is with James we
will ask them to make their way to Scroggie and wait.
athletes are currently on their way to Scroggie, i.e. David Berridge
and Thomas Muhler. Should the race be stopped they will be informed by
our crew and they will likely return south to Pelly Farm. Should they
make it to Scroggie before a final decision, they will be asked to stay
until we do know how to proceed.
back who arrive at Pelly Farm will have to stay there until we know
what will happen.
So much for now.
February 11th/23:45 local time (Pelly
Jorge Aubeso from Spain wins 300 mile
Jorge arrived back in Pelly
Crossing some mintues ago which makes him the 300 mile winner and first
Spanish finisher of this distance! He looks so fresh, I was wondering
if I should ask him if he wants to continue to go to
While he was on the final leg to Pelly, we
attended a help message from the river. It came from Luigi Mazzocchi.
The GPS co-ordinates were taken and because the position was close to
the river I took the car. About 1 hour later we were there. The Italian
had looked for shelter in a fishing camp. Bad weather and a hardly
visible trail made him decide to stop. He was quite surprised to see us
as he had not intentionally pushed the button. After some instructions
he kept on going - as the trail was broken and waiting too long would
cover it in snow again.
The ski-doo guides are
working extremely hard to make the conditions more bearable for the
athletes. As I write this Glenn and Spencer are heading out again to
make sure everyone at the back end is fine. Gary just went to bed now
after helping to find Luigi. Murray and Kevin went to Dawson despite
the bad weather and Dale from Pelly Farm and Pete, a good friend of
Dale's and the family is breaking trail towards Scroggie. Thank you
Volunteer Simone Ghidoni - Enrico's son - has
given me some photos to put on the website. If you check our gallery you will find them. Thanks
February 11th/16:15 local time (Pelly
Heavy snowfalls slow things
Tonight the snowfall had started.
Little at first and then it has picked up. Depending on the area 5 to
15 cm. Gary who rode his ski-doo this morning from McCabe to Pelly
Crossing said on the lakes it is particularly difficult. The trail had
disappeared. So, our guides were busy breaking trail again for
However, it is
still snowing and looking at the speed they are going at you can
imagine what they are facing. Our guides Glenn and Spencer are covering
the back end and there speeds seem to be okay. Gary is checking in
between and is heading back to McCabe to later base himself in Pelly
Crossing. Murray and Kevin took their machines up to Dawson to set up
Indian River assistance point tomorrow and to help James if need be.
Luckily James' SPOT is now operated correctly. So, we know where he is
and that he is moving. Again, by the speed and considering the weather
conditions he currently needs to fight for every meter.
Greg was forced to slow down but he is
moving and approaching Scroggie
Jorge should be our first 300 mile
finisher. If he continues his current pace we expect him here in about
10 to 12 hours.
The Highway is pretty
crazy and those who don't have to travel stay at home. We came up this
morning from Carmacks and travelling speed was about 50 km/h. Thanks to
whoever it was who invented 4-wheel drive!
meantime one more athlete had to scratch. Pat Cooke-Rogers had to give
in to her back pain. On her way to recovery she decided to join the
volunteer crew and she is now at McCabe helping Diane.
Marco Gandini is with us in Pelly Crossing
and like Pat he is helping at the checkpoint and doing a great job
supporting us and the other athletes.
Carlos and Toni are still in Pelly, too. I
am currently trying to re-arrange transfers in order for them to get a
ride to Whitehorse tomorrow.
Everybody else still in
the race was in great spirits when I saw them today. Blisters here and
there. Pain of course. But smiles and in the mood for jokes. And no
doubt at the moment they all are cursing me pulling their sleds through
fresh snow ...
February 10th/20:40 local
Alan Sheldon wins 430
I do not have the exact time of his arrival but Alan is in
Dawson City and broke all records. He was greeted by fellow racers Andy
Heading and Frank Janssen. I look forward to catching up to
them tomorrow morning. Congratulations Alan!
We now also seem to get SPOT signals from James again.
Somebody must have switched it on for him ... For a "rookie" James has
done exceptionally well and should arrive in Dawson tomorrow.
Everybody was in Carmacks a long time before cut-off. Good
Unfortunately, Spanish athlete Carlos Garcia
Gutierrez had do scratch due to shin splints. He is not
sleeping in the gym where everybody else is resting, too.
Some of the Spanish have had problems with their SPOT. In
Inigo's case the solution was simple. New batteries did the trick
... By the time they leave here, we hopefully will
get every SPOT sending again.
local time (Pelly Crossing)
Eyerybody is fine and moving. This also goes for those people
who don't have their SPOT on or working. We know this because we are
checking on them in regular intervalls with our ski-doos. So, everybody
back home please don't worry too much. We have done this for 8 years
and I think I can say I have the world's best crew of ski-doo guides
and volunteers. All working hard to make it as safe as possible under
the conditions we have here. Also, at the moment and for the next few
days temperatures should not considerably drop below - 20 degress C.
That helps a lot!
Toni arrived in Pelly
Obviously Toni is feeling pain in his fingers but he is
otherwise fine and likely just happy that he can commence recovery. He
will stay here now until the shuttle takes him back to Whithorse in a
couple of days.
Toni Contesti in Pelly
Mark Gillett our race photographer has spent hours every
single day on the ski-doo to get the best possible pictures. I have
hardly seen him. Now it seems to be catching up to him. He walked into
Pelly Crossing this morning with hypothermia and is now resting.
When we were talking about logistics near him he woke up and
said "I have got to get to Dawson now" ... But for now we told him to
rest and get warm again.
Mark recovering in Pelly
Race against the clock
Tonight by 22:30 all athletes have to arrive in Carmacks. That
is the official cut-off for this checkpoint. Right now it looks like
they will all make it. They just can't slow down very
local time (Pelly Crossing)
Andy Heading and Frank Janssen came by here in Pelly Crossing
at about 05:00 this morning. They were in a car. So, in other words
they scratched. They said the trail was so hard, it was almost running
on pavement - something they were not prepared for and made them
suffer. In the end I think it was because they realised they can't
catch up with Alan and as friends they wanted to be in Dawson to see
him finish ;-) Because that is where they were
Toni Contesti arrived in Carmacks last night and had to stop
his race there due to frostbite on his fingers. Like Sam Taylor he was
brought to the local nursing station to be evaluated and treated. Diane
is with him and in Carmacks they are very experienced with frostbite.
He does not have to go to the hospital and later it will be decided if
he wants to come north or if he prefers to get a lift back to
Greg McHale made it to Pelly and he does look tired. However,
considering the pace he set for himself and the fact that he now only
rested for 2 hours, I would say he looks surprisingly good. I simply
don't know how these guys do it!? I expect him to leave
The distance between Greg and David Berridge is quite big but
of course many things still can happen. And Jorge who is a really
strong Spanish ultra runner is now getting faster and faster. Behind
him is Luigi Mazzocchi who had to scratch only about 45 miles before
the finish as his kidneys did not do their job anymore. This time he is
better hydrated and I keep my fingers crossed.
local time (Pelly Crossing)
I am in Pelly Crossing as I write this and finally I have some
time to write a bit more of an update.
I always return to the Yukon thinking by now nothing can
surprise me anymore and every time I get proof that I am wrong. This
year it is the fact that Alan Sheldon managed to be about 2 days faster
than he was in 2009. And I thought he was already doing really well
then. I could have stopped him at some point and given him time credit
for it but I figured it would mess up his rhythm. So I kept on trying
to catch up to him and make sure he gets his drop bags and everything
is okay. At the same time I had to cover the back end and be sure
everyone is safe. As you can imagine this has meant a lot of time on
the highway and unfortunately hardly any time at all to update the
website. From now on things will calm down and you will see more
frequent updates and more photos.
Of course the 100 miles are over by now. The last athlete had
made it in safely and a long time before the cut-off which is 3 days.
The overall ranking is as follows:
Hubert Gantioler, Austria (xc-ski) 19 h 26 min
Doublas Girling, England (foot) 28 h 30
Markus Fischer, Germany (foot)
29 h 26 min
Hubert Gantioler in
Only Pierre-Louis Besson from France and Shelley Gellatly from
Canada had to scratch. So, the rate of finishers is very high.
Considering the cold temperatures of -35 degrees and colder everyone
did really well. Congratulations!
Now we are down to the 300 and 430 miles. Here a number of
athletes had to scratch for various reasons. Marco Gandini from Italy
lost his footing on some ice and fell right on his knee. Consequently,
the pain grew and he had to stop. Peter Mild from Sweden was really
enjoing the 100 miles but not happy with his overall speed and the fact
that he was very tired made him decide to end his race in Braeburn.
Dominik Luksch from Germany had to realise that for a newcomer the 300
miles are quite a big challenge. He also was struggeling with his speed
and scratched after 100 miles. All other 300 mile racers, except for
the Spanish who did not show up in the first place, are still in the
race. Of course most are suffering by now but some are doing really
well. Jorge Aubeso Martinez one Spanish athlete who did come is doing
really well and currently is in the lead. Luigi Mazzocchi from Italy is
a bit more than 4 hours behind. Toni Contesti, also Spain, is already
quite a distance behind, closely followed by Mike Thomas from the UK.
Gary MacMahon and Marianne Heading, both UK, have the same pace at the
moment and are next. All other athletes should also be able to make it
to Carmacks within the time limit which is tomorrow night at 22:30.
On to the 430 milers.
Here we were faced with some very early and unexpected
scratches. First was former Austrian national xc-ski team member Anton
Hierschlaeger from Austria. He had problems with his wax and eventually
had to give up because of it. The second surprise was Enrico Ghidoni
who had won the 430 miles on foot in 2009 and was back to win it on
xc-skis. Frostbite on his toes the first night made this impossible.
Mario Oehme from Germany had stomach problems and Peter Jansen from
Germany, once more looking really strong had to drop out due to a knee
injury. Scott Gilmour who is the most cold resistant person I have ever
seen (walks around with no gloves or hat in -20 degrees no problem ...)
had to accept defeat due to blisters. His shoes were too warm. And
there is Sam Taylor who had to deal with lung congestion and after a
check-up at the Carmacks nursing station decided to call it a day.
Everybody else is still in the race and doing fine - some suffering
more and some less.
local time (Whitehorse)
Douglas Girling fastest
athlete on foot
Douglas Girling reached Braeburn at 15:00 which makes him the
winner in the 100 mile foot category. Second place goes to German
Markus Fischer who arrived at 15:56. The third rank goes to Patti
Clune. She came in at 17:23 and looked great. I should also add that I
got Patti's age on the race roster wrong. She is 28 ;-)
A number of athletes
had to scratch
Peter Jansen had to stop racing due to an old knee injury.
Anton Hierschläger had massive problems with his xc-skis and wax and
was brought back to Whitehorse today. Other athletes to scratch are
Shelley Gellatly and Enrico. The Italian 430 mile winner from 2009 was
brought to the hospital in Whitehorse by myself. That is also, why
there were no earlier updates. Enrico is fine but had frostbite
problems on his toes. He would have loved to continue because he strong
but the docotor's recommendation was clear. No more running in the cold
Problems with results
table hopefully resolved soon
For some reason we have managed to make part of the results
table disappear. We are working on fixing it.
local time (Braeburn)
Hubert Gantioler wins
100 mile race
At 03:56 xc-skier Hubert Gantioler reached the 100 mile
finishi line. He was totally iced up but really happy. "Awesome day,
awesome race", he said. I was glad to see him succeed as in his first
attempt in 2009 he had to scratch due to frostbite.
local time (Braeburn)
The race is
At 10:30 this morning the 8th
edition of the Yukon Arctic Ultra has started. Conditions could not
have been better. Temperatures of about - 17 degrees C, sunshine and a
rock hard trail. No wonder everybody was in a great mood and really
happy to finally get going.
At the start - photo taken by Yann
Due to 3 Spanish athletes not starting and a last
minute entry for the marathon the final count of athletes at the start
line was 74.
Local Denise McHale wins overall marathon
No man could beat strong local athlete Denise McHale today.
She finished our marathon distance in 3 hours and 14 minutes. That
means she also set a new record! Well done Denise. Second came Austrian
xc-skier Friedrich Gantioler 4 mintues later. Chad Ulansky who signed
up for the race last night, did really well, too. He made it to
Braeburn after 3 hours and 24 minutes. For all marathon results please
check the table that is linked right from our welcome page lower right
Marathon finish - photo taken by Yann
Mountain Bikers are
I have to admit that I expected the mountain bikers to be
fast. But James Cracknell and Alan Sheldon seem to have decided that
they want to set new records. At a time when I normally am back in
Whitehorse enjoying a hot bath and writing my updates at the High
Country Inn am now in Braeburn expecting James to show up with in the
next couple of hours. In other words, on day 1 and maybe even before
midnight! No rest. He will owe me some beers for that.
James Cracknell on his way to Rivendell - photo taken by
At Rivendell Farm everybody was doing fine. Only Jacques Fox
100 miles, had to call it a day. He had problems with very cold finger
tips which likely would have turned into frost bite during this night.
So, he made the right decision better not to risk anything and
Mark Hines taking a rest at Rivendell - photo taken by Yann
Apart from that all other racers are still
Last night finally my missing
Eurobox has showed up. What a relief! Along with it came yet another
group of athletes. By now almost everyone should be here.
As always by this time everybody can't wait to
stand at the start line and finally get going. I think I have pretty
much managed to personally welcome most and they all were in a great
mood, despite the relatively warm temperature. And by the looks of it
we are lucky and temperatures will drop in time for us to have less
problems with soft trails.
Today from 13:30 to 16:00 we had the
indoor part of our training course. As always Shelley and Diane gave
plenty of advise and talked about many important aspects of the race.
Also, the fears of the athletes were adressed and hopefully minimized.
Looking at the faces when Diane showed pictures of frostbite I am not
sure if we succeeded 100% ...
After a break the
group met again to walk with sleds and gear to a nearby lake. There
everybody had to light their stove, build a wood fire and show us their
sleeping system. Shelley afterwards commented that "every year they
seem to be better prepared". And I have to agree. All participants of
the training course were very efficient and organised. Two thumbs up!
First athletes arrive in
The first athletes have
arrived in Whitehorse and are now busy with all kind of last minute
things to do. Talk of town are of course the unusually mild
temperatures - we even have had rain today! However, for Sunday it is
expected to go down to - 20 and by Feb. 10th and further north - 40
degrees Celsius are expected.
Missing luggages is a
concern for some. When I arrived it was worse than usual. A large
percentage of the Air Canada passengers did not get their baggage. The
good news is that all of them seem to have gotten it the next day -
except for me ... which of course is bad news as I need the equipment
in the box for the race. It's a good thing that ultra athletes and
organisers are patient people ...
Zarges sponsors Yukon
Arctic Ultra transport boxes
about boxes ... German Specialist manufacturer Zarges
has sponsered the YAU with two extraodinary transportation boxes this
year. And I am really glad I asked them because as I can tell from the
one box that has arrived, delayed luggages takes more of a beating.
While other boxes may already have fallen apart the Zarges Eurobox only
shows small scratches and little dents. In addition they are still
fairly light because they are made from aluminum.
Handing in of the drop
The drop bags are to be handed in
on Feb. 5th after the pre-race dinner, i.e. approximately from 8 PM
until 10 PM in the same room we have the dinner in.
hour mandatory stop in Pelly Farm for 430 mile
As the last times we will have
a mandatory 8 hour stop for all athletes at Pelly
during the race
The highest priority
for upates is this section here on our website. Updates will NOT be
sent out by newsletter. If there is time, I will put some updates on
Facebook but most news will clearly be found here.
SPOT EU are not sponsoring the YAU
anymore. That is why I have been trying to get a deal with SPOT
Germany. It looked good at first but finally they had to say "no", too.
Thanks to trackleaders.com we are able to offer a fair deal to athletes
anyway. Please note, the following only applies to the 300 and 400 mile
athletes. 100 mile athletes do not need a SPOT. They can of course
still be included in the service with a privatly owned one. If any 100
miler wants to have his/her SPOT linked in, please get in
For all others, here is the
Athletes who have been
provided with a free SPOT in 2009 have been contacted by
me and asked to activate their units, send me the ESN-Number and create
a Public Shared Page and send the information on both to me. I would
say about 70% have done so already. For all others PLEASE SEND THE
All other 300 and 400 mile
athletes who have not registered a private SPOT with us will be
provided with rental units. These have been organised through
trackleaders.com - thank you Matthew and team!!! These SPOTs will be
handed out in Whitehorse right after the trail briefing and then again
from 11:30 to 14:00 at the High Country Inn. The rental fee is CAD 40
and includes the unit, the basic service and tracking fee for the race.
Please pay the fee when you pick your unit up. Units need to be
returned upon reaching the finish.
The rental units come without
batteries. So, all athletes need to provide 2 Energizer Ultimate
Lithium AA batteries. 430 mile athletes should take along
a set of spare batteries. Shutting off the units when sleeping at a
checkpoint is advisable as it will save battery life.
The rental units will be SPOT 1. The advantage is
a longer battery life. The disadvantage is that these are not as easy
to use as the SPOT 2. But two basic steps should help avoid technical
problems. A) Re-Setting once in 24 hours and following basic
instructions (e.g. how exactly this reset is done) which will be given
upon receipt of the units in Whitehorse.
Usage of the help button. Using the help button means
you withdraw from the race. Athletes may only use this button if they find it impossible
to get to the next checkpoint or backtrack to the last checkpoint by
themselves. We assume it is not anything near life
threatening and the athlete needs to bivy and may have to wait for
several hours until we get there.
of the 911
button. Using the 911 button is very serious business.
It may only be used in case of a
life threatening situation. Pushing this button means the
authorities are informed and an official Search & Rescue
mission is started. If you push this button and you are in no real
serious trouble it can cause a lot of problems. Not to mention the fact
that you are using resources that may be needed elsewhere to save a
On the SPOT page set up
for us by trackleaders.com there will be basic information on each
athlete, i.e. name, age, nationality, discipline and distance.
trackleaders.com can also include a picture of yours if you want people
to be able to put a face to the symbol on the map. This is not
mandatory but if you want it please send a jpeg close-up photo of 100 x
100 pixel directly to
questions on SPOT please sing up for our YAU forum on facebook and use
the discussion we have started there. That way others can profit from
you questions and the answers.
Corina from Coast Mountain
Sports was so kind to forward me a very recent report on the trail
conditions. Here it is:
"The Iniitial Trail Breaking
was conducted 07 - 10 Jan between Braeburn and
The lakes north of Coglan had lots of
overflow but the crew broke it out 3x wide and it had pretty much set
up when they came off the trail so you have a good base there although
there is probably still overflow on unbroken parts of
The trail from Eagle Rock to Mandana has been
in place for a while; good base there. Good snow cover in this area and
trail breakers report areas like "pin ball alley" are as good as they
have ever been. The river ice between Eagle Rock and Carmacks is
reported as thin but smooth. This last batch of cold weather should set
it up solid.
The Kruse girls put in the trail
between McCabe and Yukon Crossing. Did not mention
any rough ice. McCabe to Pelly no reports
of any problems. Lots of slashing on overland trails done. Pelly to
Stepping Stone no problems.
Pelly Farm north to
Scroggie: lots of windfall but no problems and good snow base. Trail
between Scroggie Crek forks and Stewart River is narrow in a couple of
places due to erosion but still passable.
to Dawson: no complaints or mention of Stewart River ice.
Less snow in this area but still enough for a good base. There has been
skidoo traffic as far south as Indian River from Dawson. The trail from
upper Black Hills forks halfway to Stewart River has been used by local
trapper and has good base. No drifting at this time on either Black
Hills summit or King Solomon dome.
Next phase of
trail breaking starts Friday 21 Jan. Rebreaking and re-marking of trail
from Braeburn to Dawson to be done again. In addition WHRS to Braeburn
and Dawson to AK border wil been done also. Additional slashing planned
on all areas of exercise. Too early to compare it to last year's super
highway but to date looks promising."
The following is our schedule
for this year's YAU:
Feb. 3rd 17:00 - 18:00 Hand-out of
rental gear, High Country Inn (athletes who can't be there
please contact me via email to arrange a different
Feb. 4th 13:30 -
16:00 Indoor part of the official YAU Training Course, High Country Inn
17:30 - 21:00 Outdoor part of the official YAU Training
Course, trails near Whitehorse
Feb. 5th 08:00 -
09:00 De-brief of the official YAU Training Course, High Country Inn
09:00 - 10:30 Official Trail Briefing for ALL athletes, High
Country Inn from 11:00 Start of the Yukon Quest
11:30 - 14:00 Gear check for athletes who did not participate
in the Training Course and handing in and filling out missing paper
work, High Country Inn from 17:00 Pre-Race Banquet, High
6th 10:30 Start of the Yukon
Arctic Ultra 2011
Kahtoola new Gold Level Sponsor of the
Yukon Arctic Ultra
about 8 years ago since winter ultra mountain bike legend Rocky
Reifenstuhl had brought a pair of Kahtoolas Aluminum Crampons to the
YAU pre-race dinner in Whitehorse. He showed me the product and said
"this is really interesting for all YAU athletes". At the time I had
never used crampons before and could not immediately test them.
Kahtoola KTS aluminum
Back home I started working as
a guide in the Alps and that's when I first realised just how great the
Kahtoolas are. Naturally they were amongst the first products I
included in the portfolio of our store Racelite.com in 2006. Since then
we have sold them to mountaineers and adventurers all over Europe who
went on all kinds of expeditions. And of course many athletes have used
them to give them sure footing on those steep and nasty hills or
By now Kahtoola not only offers the
world's lightest crampons but also very innovative snow shoes and their
So, I am very happy to be
able to announce that Kahtoola has come on board as a new Golld Sponsor
for the Yukon Arctic Ultra - just in time for our 2011
To get an overview of all the products
Kahtoola has to offer, please visit their website www.kahtoola.com.
the frequency of important updates will remain high
now. So, I would like to ask all athletes to continue checking the
website every couple of days because I will not always send out a
newsletter (as this not only goes out to the YAU 2011 participants but
everyone who has ever signed up for the
to the fact that Air Canada does not sponsor my overweight luggage any
more I needed to find another solution regarding the expedition food
for our remote checkpoints (Dog Grave Lake and Ken Lake). Because it
does not make sense to get the food sponsored and then pay a fortune to
get it transported to the Yukon. Not to mention the threat that it may
get stuck in customs. That is too bad because Trek'n Eat have supported
us well the last couple of years and I would like to thank them once
Thomas de Jager from Yukon Wide Adventures
mentioned a Canadian company to me that he had tried and worked really
well. It is called Bauly
Specialty Foods and I contacted them immediately. Turns out
they are more than happy to help and so they will provide the food for
you this time – that is for Dog Grave Lake and Ken Lake.
For those of you who don't know, we changed to
using expedition food at these checkpoints as it is a lot more
convenient for both athletes and volunteers/staff.
IMPORTANT: Bauly Specialty Foods have told me which
their most popular meals are. If you tell me by January 11th what meal
you would prefer, I should be able to provide this accordingly. If I
don't hear from you, I will make the choice …
here is the list to chose from:
dishes are Beef Stew, Curried Rice & Chicken, Chicken Stew,
Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Cacciatore and Chicken Fricassee
Vegetarian dishes are Vegetable Rice Pilaf, Pasta
with Cheese & Broccoli and Cheese Noodle Casserole
At all other checkpoints we will provide meals from
the Deli, a company located in Whitehorse, or the checkpoint owners are
cooking for you, e.g. at McCabe Creek and Pelly Farm.
Rangers will break trail
have received the news that the Canadian Rangers will break trail again
for the Quest. For a couple of years they were not able to do it and
some volunteers stepped in to help out. So, there has always been a
great trail. However, the fact that the Rangers take care of it means
that the trail will definitely be great again as they have got it down
to a science. So, if you ever meet a Canadian Ranger, make sure to give
them a smile as we could never do this on our own.
High Country Inn
I was made aware that I had a mistake
on the website regarding the High Country Inn offer for YAU athletes.
In the related section online the information was correct. However, in
our sponsorship section I had written that the room rate includes
breakfast. That is not correct. There is a reduced room rate but no
free breakfast. Sorry, if this confused anyone.
Please note that
renting a sled only includes the sled and poles. It does not include
harness or sled bag. If you did rent a harness, please tell me asap
what size you need. Small is 82 to 89 cm, Medium is 92 to 104 cm and
Large 107 to 117 cm.
Since new athletes have signed up I
want to once more pass on a message from our official race photographer
"I am a British
photojournalist and will cover the YAU again this year. I am a runner
so understand the race and what you have done or are doing to get
there. I also understand the importance to have your story
I endeavour to capture
as many of the competitors as I can, however, if you wish to guarantee
this and obtain a story of around 30 or so hi res images this can be
commissioned in advance. Your story will include; camp, start line,
race, scenery and finish line images. Depending on your
requirements (local press, national press, Company or sponsor PR, or
just personal use) I will set a price that will give you the relative
rights you need. Commissions start at £280 ...
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more
information and include the intended use of the images.
f you wish you can visit my site at
www.junglemoon.co.uk to find out more about
by Scott Gilmour
not only participate in the 430 mile race. He will also film for TV and
produce our official race DVD. Like Mark, Scott asked me to forward a
message to you:
"Hi everyone! The 2011
Yukon Arctic Ultra is nearly upon us and I hope you have all been
training hard for this year’s race. As you may have been made aware
this year's race will be the subject of a documentary. It's an exciting
project and I am hoping that you will be keen to participate. As I am
competing in the 430 mile event the documentary would benefit from any
video recordings made, or stills from the additional categories to get
a broader overview of the YAU. I will be doing my utmost to capture as
much of the race, preparations and challenges as I possibly
I arrive in Whitehorse on the
morning of the 4th (weather permitting) and am looking to schedule some
interviews with competitors before the race and with any of those still
available when the race has finished. If you're lucky I may catch up
with you (or wait for you) for a chat during the race, or at a
checkpoint if you wish. Please email me via email@example.com if
you are interested or are able to support this exciting project.
Good luck everyone and I shall see you in Whitehorse!
Both athletes and their families,
friends and colleagues may have questions regarding SPOT over the
coming weeks, during and after the race. Since a lot of these questions
will likely repeat themselves, I have started a SPOT Q&A
discussion in our Forum. If you have not signed up yet please just
follow the link (menu on the left, last bullet point) and make sure you
ask your SPOT questions there.
Happy New Year everyone!
This is just a quick update on the status regarding
I am already working with Trackleaders.com on
setting everything up for the YAU 2011. Thanks to their great support
the tracking will be more interactive than ever.
The only thing we still need to work out is how we
can provide all 300 and 430 mile athletes who don't have a SPOT with
the most inexpensive way of getting a unit. I already have solution but
need find out some details before I can announce
In the meantime, I can tell all those
athletes who have their own SPOT what needs to be done in order to make
use of it during the YAU:
The SPOT device needs to be on a Service Plan with an
activated Tracking Service
You need to create a
"Public Shared Page" and send me the link
to email me the ESN number which is in the back of the device, in the
Please do so asap.
Also, please experiment with your SPOT on
how best to attach it as far off the ground as possible, e.g. on the
shoulder straps of your backpack. Unfortunately, it seems the neoprene
pouches for the SPOT 1 are sold out. If you have a SPOT 2 I believe
there are new carry pouches. And in any case you can always improvise.
Of course also 100 mile
athletes who have a private SPOT can give us their information and they
will be included in on the official YAU SPOT tracking page. For the 100
mile athletes who don't have a SPOT I can confirm that we won't be able
to provide rental units. However, I can offer anybody interested in
purchasing a unit attractive discounts. Please just send me a quick
email if you are interested.
It is now official. In 2011 we will
have more athletes at the starting line than ever before. Currently we
have got 61 participants on the race roster for the ultra distances and
6 more for the marathon. As indicated in my last news update I want to
set the limit on the ultra distances at approximately 65 athletes.
Since I already have some more reservations any other athlete wanting
to enter will now be put on a waiting list. If somebody from the race
roster cancels the first one on the waiting list will be contacted,
etc. If in 2011 we see that it was no problem to handle 65 athletes and
everyone was happy, next time we can increase the numbers.
The following athletes have signed up since my last
update: With Michael Dacar and Douglas Girling there are two more
athletes from the US for the 100 miles. Also, we have 3 more
participants on xc-skis – there are the brothers Hubert and Friedrich
Gantioler from Austria and David Wilcox from England. And we have our
first ever entrant with Czech Republik nationality, Jan Francke, who
currently lives in Canada. Gary McMahon from England will try the 300
miles. Together with Marc Perier and Dominique Charton from France and
Marco Gandini from Italy. After only 1 (!) 300 mile finisher in 2009, I
hope we will see a lot more people in Pelly Crossing and Pelly Farm
next year! After 2008 Steve Reifenstuhl from Alaska is back for a
second time to try and set a new record on the 430 miles (foot
category). And he has got plenty of company. There is Andy Heading form
England who already finished this distance in 2009, together with his
friend Alan Sheldon who will stick to his bike again. Also, Poh Joo Toh
is our first entrant from China, Frank Janssen YAU 300 mile finisher
from Canada and Scott Gilmour from England have signed up.
Welcome to you all!
Please remember that you have to
participate in our training
course if you have not got previous cold weather experience.
In case you have not signed up, please do so by the end of December
If you want to rent gear and have
not made your reservation yet, please do so by the end of November. You
can also make up your mind later on but the closer we get to race day
the more likely it is I may not have any more what you
It is one of the
phenomenons with the YAU and probably most other such races that there
always seem to be things we want to add to our kit list last minute. At
least I am led to this conclusion when going into Coast Mountain Sports
two days before the start of your race. It seems half of the
participants are in Whitehorse's biggest outdoor sports store no matter
what time of day.
is where you get everything you may still need – including stoves,
expedition food, etc. They are also a great place to buy your Neo
overboots from or reserve any other gear you don't want to buy already
back home. In the case of the overboots or other more costly items like
down jackets or sleeping bags make sure you contact them asap to give
Coast Mountain Sports staff time to organise this for you and have it
ready for you to pick up upon arrival.
contact at Coast Mountain is Corina Zumer (Email corina[a]cmsyukon.ca).
Corina knows the YAU very well and has got years of experience with the
cold and the right gear.
It looks like we may see a
lot of cameras at the next YAU. We will have someone filming for
Transworld Sports who will also produce our YAU documentary. The ZDF
(German National Television) has confirmed to produce a documentary and
there may be another crew producing a TV documentary.
More information on this as soon as I have got the
Once again we
will have the professional photographer Mark Gillett with us. Apart
from the press work Mark will also offer the service to athletes to be
able to commission images beforehand. He will put together a book of
the race and will make sure he includes images of the athletes who
commissioned in order for the copy to be personalized. Mark has tested
this at the Marathon des Sables and it worked really well. He got less
sleep than anybody else but the outcome was worth it
For more information on Mark's offer please
contact him directly at: Email
images[a]junglemoon.co.uk www.junglemoon.co.uk To
check out Mark's portfolio from the YAU 2009 please click here.
just got confirmation that athletes can use their own SPOTS. I will
send information in time for the race which will explain how it
Montane YAU Special Edition Extreme
Soon we will get our first
Montane YAU Special Edition Extreme Smocks. Unfortunately, it was not
possible to find a good supplier of synthetic fur for the lining on the
hood. The lining on the pictures from my last newsletter is not
synthetic and not available for us. Functionality, the blue coler, YAU
logo and price make it still a great piece of kit to have. As soon as I
have got one of the Smocks here I will take a photograph and make it
available for purchase on www.racelite.com.
Literature on the
Don't forget to read the book Mark
Hines wrote about the YAU if you have signed up or are thinking about
to participate at some point in the future! You can purchase it e.g.
through amazon.com. The title is "The Yukon Arctic Ultra: Ultra
Marathon Adventure Racing Across Canada's Frozen North". Also, if you
want to read about a race in a warmer climate for a change, check out
Mark's new edition of his book on the Marathon des Sables.
And don't forget to read Jessica's book "From Ice
to Ashes", also available from amazon.com. It's gotten great reviews
and is fun to read for anybody who likes the Yukon and adventurous
races like the YAU.
Montane is the new Diamond Sponsor of the
Yukon Arctic Ultra
I am very happy to
be able to officially announce that Montane as of now is our new title
sponsor – what we refer to a Diamond Sponsorship level.
Montane has been producing highly functional and
innovative outdoor clothing since 1993. Making the right products for
cold temperatures has always been of great importance to this British
brand. So, there is of course a perfect strategic fit with the YAU.
However, it is not just that. It is also the spirit that the brand
stands for and the way things are done at Montane that make it a great
thing to have them on board as a partner.
will help us to be more professional in our PR efforts, support our
2011 filming project, provide nice shirts for the athletes (given out
at pre-race dinner), produce great merchandise and provide staff and
volunteers with a nice jacket. Also, participants of the YAU will get a
20% discount on any Montane gear bought through www.racelite.com. Please
note, when you buy online the prices will be the regular ones. Just
make sure to mention you participate in the race and your 20% will be
deducted. If you can't find the product you are looking for, please
send an email and it will be organised for you.
for merchandise, the first item will be a special edition blue Extreme
smock with synthetic fur lining on the hood. The same type of smock
used by the Catlin Arctic Survey staff. Just with YAU badges on it. The
good news is that even though it is a special run with some extras, we
can offer the Smock to you for EUR 99.95 rather than the regular price
of EUR 122.50. To order the smock please get in touch via email
Special edition Smock of the Catlin Arctic
For more information about
Montane and their full range of products please check out www.montane.co.uk.
have taken the opportunity to make an update to our logo, too. I hope
you like it!
Air travel to Whitehorse
have mentioned this previously but it is such an important issue that I
will mention it again. And it won't be the last time, either .... Due
to the smaller Air Canada planes out of Vancouver in the past we have
always had a few athletes who arrived without their luggage. There
simply was not enough storage on the plane for all the sleds and thus
some were left behind. With our race roster being full in 2011 this
problem may increase. Everything has always arrived in time for the
race start but of course it's a big headache and one of these things
you really don't want to have to deal with. There are some things you
can do in order to prevent the problem or at least decrease the chances
of it happening:
I am told that Air North uses bigger aircraft into Whitehorse
and is more reliable than Air Canada when it comes to luggage. So, you
could combine a flight with any airline to Vancouver and a flight with
Air North to Whitehorse.
In any case it makes
sense not to plan for a last minute arrival. If possible at all, give
yourself a couple of days. That way you can acclimatize, buy whatever
you still need, test your gear, all with less stress. And if there are
luggage problems you have more time to deal with it. If budget and time
allow for it, it is also nice to go dog mushing before the race. All
athletes who have tried it, really enjoyed the experience!
Some of the really expensive gear may be safer
with you in the carry-on luggage, e.g. your down jacket. That way, if
your luggage is delayed at least you have some of your expensive and
important gear with you.
I have heard of people
shipping the gear ahead of time to Whitehorse. I am not sure how much
this costs and because it may be stuck in customs it may not be 100%
safe, either. However, it is an option.
Hotel Accommodation in Dawson City and transfer back to
As always athletes have to
make arrangements for accommodation in Dawson City for themselves. One
of the options for you to stay is the famous Downtown Hotel – also
the place where you can drink your Sourtoe
Cocktail if you are brave enough. So far, I have managed to
escape this little adventure …
The Downtown Hotel
has offered YAU athletes the Yukoner rates which
For all the contact details
please check the hotel website. For other accommodation option please
go to http://www.dawsoncity.ca/visitorservices/placestostay/.
Please note that not all of these places are in Dawson City. If you
book make sure it is within easy walking distance of the
Our transfer back from Dawson City to
Whitehorse will be on Feb. 19th, once the last athlete has arrived, had
a shower and something to eat ... Should you be in Dawson several days
before that, there are no extra transfers. There may of course be
somebody going back anyway or we may arrange for an extra transfer if
there are many early arrivals but you can't count on it.
definitely like a record entry
moment we have got 48 athletes on the race roster and about 6 more
confirmed to sign up. This also means that for the first time I have to
seriously think about limiting the number of athletes. Obviously, it
would be easy to just increase space at the checkpoints, have more
staff, volunteers, etc. However, it would change the very soul of this
race. The YAU stands for a great atmosphere, where athletes get to know
each other well and we get to know each athlete pretty well, too. We
are kind of like a big family. A significant increase in numbers may
mean more stress at checkpoints and less time to deal with each
individual. So, an increase needs to be taken step by step in order to
find out at what numbers everything still works well and everybody
enjoys the suffering as much as possible ;-) To make a long story
short, at this point in time I am thinking about a maximum of 60 to 65
athletes overall on the ultra distances. Therefore, if you want to be
sure to be able to participate and have not signed up yet, be
As always I want to welcome the new athletes.
With Wilfried Seehafer and Peter Uekötter two more Germans have signed
up for the marathon. Also, we have our first Canadian marathoner,
Harold Mah. Shelley tells me we will soon see some more Canadian
marathoners, too! Garry Mackay and Lee Peyton, both Scotland, have
signed up for the 100 miles. Christoph Kurth from Germany will give it
a try on xc-ski. 6 more athletes have signed up for the 300
miles! Dominik Luksch is another German xc-skiers. I think we have
never had that many xc-skiers. That’s great! He will be joined by
Frenchman Francis Beauvallet and 4 more Spanish!!! – Gabriel Santamaria
Manso, Jorge Aubeso Martinez, Rodrigo Iturralde Chacon Inigo
Iruretagoyna Plaza. Last but not least the 430 milers. Jerym Brunton
from New Zealand is back to finish the race to Dawson once more. Sean
Brown from the UK is back to give it another go - he already got to
Pelly Farm last time but had to stop due to an infection. You will make
it this time Sean!!! Then there is the German-Australian soon to be
Canadian father and daughter team with Peter and Nicole Muller.
Friedrich Fink from Germany who already finished the 100 miles and
Anton Hierschläger from Austria who is the third xc-skier on this
Welcome to you all!
Mike, Kevin, Murray and Eric – all back to support the
Veterans know them well. Jessica
and Mike have always been there to help with a lot of the organization
up front, setting up remote checkpoint, running Dog Grave Lake, the
race headquarter, guiding on the trail – you name it. They have
confirmed that they will be back in 2011 to support the athletes. This
time a bit different, though. Jessica and Mike will prepare Dog Grave
Lake but will then head straight to Scroggie Creek in order to prepare
and run the checkpoint not only for us but also for the Yukon Quest.
Kevin and Murray are part of our snowmobile crew. Always in a good mood
and very reliably they will be out there to check on the athletes and
also setting up remote checkpoints. It is also confirmed that Kevin and
Murray will run Indian River checkpoint again which is in between
Scroggie and Dawson City.
Murray (left) and Kevin at Indian River in
Eric Kocher will be back to help
as part of the medical team. You will see him at the checkpoints
looking out for frostbitten noses and toes!
also trying to get Greg Peterson to come back. He helped for the first
time in 2009 as part of the snowmobile crew and did an awesome job.
Problem is that he is in Mexico for the winter. Not exactly a place you
may want to leave to drive thousands of miles on a snowmobile in – 20
degrees and colder … I will keep you up to
Thank you guys for helping us
I can confirm that we
will get 32 SPOT units free of charge through trackleaders.com which
is great news. It means that not only will we have the safety features
of 2009 again but also can everybody follow the athlete’s progress.
Since it is “only” 32 units I will give this out to the 430 and 300
miles with priority. Trackleaders.com is currently checking if we get
more units to also give these to the 100 milers.
will find out what can be done if an athlete wants to use her/his own
Braeburn, Pelly Farm and McCabe Creek
I am happy to say that
Braeburn, Pelly Farm and McCabe Creek have confirmed their involvement
as checkpoints. They are all looking forward to seeing as many athelets
as possible. This goes especially for Pelly Farm. This time they want
more 300 milers to get there!
Fisse made it all the way
All those of you who followed Joachim
Rintsch's (aka Fisse) progress earlier this year will know it already.
The German YAU veteran has made it all the way from Fairbanks to
Whitehorse on foot and on his own. I just thought I'd mention it as I
realized my last news updates on his "journey" ended when he was
Fisse had already
successfully participated in the YAU several times when he decided to
be one of the first – if not THE first – to do the entire Yukon Quest
trail on his own, on foot. Those of you who have already been out there
will know what an amazing achievement this is. And those of you who
will participate in the YAU for the first time next year will wonder
how he did it ;-) So, once again congratulations, Fisse!
Welcome to all athletes who
signed up since my last news update! 32 athletes are on the race roster
already and it's a great mix of veterans and new faces.
We have two German marathon entrants. Jürgen
Heilbock who is new to the YAU and Richard Malz-Heyne. I have lost
count how many times Richard has already done the marathon distance.
And I am quite sure last time he said he won't come back as he has been
to the Yukon so many times he now needs to see other parts of the
world. Well, he seems to have this Yukon virus. Beware!
Three more Germans have signed up for the 100
miles, Jens Fritzsch, Marco Möller and Thomas Werner. Louis May is the
first woman to sign up for the distance to Braeburn. Also, we have
Manfred Steiner from Austria and Gavin McChesney from the USA. For all
of them it will be the first YAU.
Pérez is the seventh athlete from Spain doing the 300 miles. Then there
are Mike Thomas, Pat Cooke-Rogers, Marianne Heading and Jez Kearney
from the UK who all have been to the YAU already. Same goes for Folker
Schulz from Germany who is joined by Mario Oehme who is almost a
neighbor of mine and can't wait to face the challenge.
Last but not least, the 430 miles. Matt Wellbourne
has got quite a bit of company by now. There is Peter Jansen (Germany),
David Berridge (UK), Mark Hines (UK), John Quinn (UK) and Enrico
Ghidoni (Italy). All with previous YAU experience. Enrico is our 2009
winner of the 430 miles in the foot category. 2011 he will give it a
try on xc-skis. He will be challenged by Joe Hogan (UK) and it will be
interesting to see them compete as they represent two different
generations. Paul Liebenberg is the first Australian to sign up for the
race to Dawson.
Out now: "The Yukon Arctic Ultra: Ultra Marathon Adventure
Racing Across Canada's Frozen North", by Mark
As of this week Mark's book about
the Yukon Arctic Ultra is available. Mark finished the YAU 430 mile
race in 2009 and like he did with the Marathon des Sables and Jungle
Marathon he wrote a book about his experience. I have not read it, yet
but I am sure it will be of great help for anybody who signed up for
the first time and fun for those who already participated.
So, thank you Mark for sharing your views with
others and success for this one and all your future books!
Patrick back to volunteer for the medical team
Like many other volunteers Diane
Patrick has become a very important part of the YAU team. Either on her
own and the past couple of editions with Eric Kocher (who hopefully
will be back, too), she has formed the medical team. Therefore, she
knows the YAU and its medical challenges very well.
A race without Diane's support would be very
strange and I am really glad that once more she will be back to help
the athletes in 2011.
It is a good occasion to also
make new athletes aware of the fact that regarding medical support the
YAU is very different from races like the Marathon des Sables or the
Jungle Marathon. There is no crew waiting at the checkpoints to deal
with all sorts of aches and sores. Of course Diane and the rest of the
medical team will help in any way they can. But since the YAU is a
non-stop race rather than a stage race, it is impossible to have
medical support at all checkpoints. We do have wilderness first aid
trained people at the remote checkpoints. And we will of course bring
medical volunteers to a checkpoint if we know there is or will be a
problem. But we can't guarantee to have somebody there always to take
care of blisters, chafing, etc. At the YAU a lot of the responsibility
to deal with minor problems is with the athletes. That is why
prevention is so important! Athletes should research cold injury
prevention and also have a plan what to do if an emergency occurs in
the middle of nowhere. Because depending on weather conditions it can
take hours or days until we get there.
YAU 2011 film project
I am currently investigating options
to help financing our filming project and I am positive we will find a
way to get the support we need in order to a have a crew filming the
entire race. To get support we need to secure TV coverage. Which in
turn will depend on the stories we have to tell. So, if you think your
story is somehow unique or if you know that your local, regional or
national TV will want to feature your adventure, let me know. Send me
an email or give me a call. Then I can talk to the production company
if we can include this in the concept and how we can best provide the
coverage requested, etc.
Gear packages powered
Montane have suggested to
offer YAU athletes special deals on gear. This will either be in the
form of packages with a special price or a discount. If you are about
to buy some clothing for the race it will be worth it to wait a bit
until I can announce what exactly will be available. It won't take long
(hopefully within the next week or so when I have all the information
I am currently
negotiating with SPOT regarding their support for the next YAU. It is
unlikely that I will get free units again to give away. As soon as I
have any more information I will include this in a newsletter and news
update on our website.
Please not that
the early entry fee is valid until 31st of August. After that entry
fees go up. Therefore, if you know for sure you want to participate it
makes sense to send us your Application & Waiver by that date.
Whilst the weather could
probably not be better, Jessica sent me an update that at the beginning
of Fisse's journey the trail conditions were tough. Continuous
overflow, blown in trails and strong winds did not make it easy. By the
looks of it he did not let it bother him.
at Pelly Farm for a short visit with Sue, Dale and family and now he is
on his way to Carmacks. I have not heard about him having any kind of
problems that we mortals normally would suffer by now, e.g. knee
problems or blisters. So, I think he must be alien. The only thing that
seems to make Fisse feel uncomfortable from time to time is his damp
down sleeping bag ...
Fisse you can do
Fisse keeping friends and family up to date via sat
Fisse already past Dawson
Fisse is making really good
progress. February 23rd he had reached Dawson and stayed there for a a
little while. Both Jessica Simon and Josee Bonhomme have sent me short
updates. Thanks for that!
According to them Joachim
is in great spirits. And does he ever have luck with the weather. In
Dawson he was interviewed by the local newspaper and "quite the
celebrity for a few days" I am told. His friends made sure he got lots
to eat and a good rest.
Now he is out on the trail
again and on his way to Scroggie Creek. There's no shortage of wood for
him and Mike Simon added "Fisse 1000" and "Go Fisse" to the YAU
checkpoint sign. That should make him almost feel at home. There is
still a clear track because there hasn't really been any snow to speak
of in the last two weeks. He only has got a 2 metre frozen waterfall to
hurdle between Dawson and Scroggie and then it's "easy going" to
Whitehorse. In the meantime, the local Ultra racers have pledged $200
to Fisse's campaign to raise funds to research into bone marrow disease
Scroggie Creek awaiting Fisse
Once past Scroggie Creek Joachim will head towards Pelly Farm.
I am sure this will be the most dangerous part of his adventure because
Dale, Sue and everybody else there will make him feel so comfortable
that he may not want to leave again :-)
Jessica just sent me an email
with some news about Fisse (see also update from Feb. 5th below). It
almost feels as if I am reporting about an athlete competing in the YAU
Here is what Jessica wrote:
tracking Fisse on SPOT got a quick message from him yesterday. At noon
he was at Mile 101. Mike overlapped his SPOT with the Quest's
trackfinder and he spent last night with veteran mushers Brent Sass,
Ken Anderson, Dave Dalton and many others. Mike was sure the first
mushers who passed him and pulled into Central exclaimed, "There's a
guy out there with no dog team!" No doubt he'll have lots of stories; I
mean, lots more stories! We're taking a YAU CP shingle with
us to Pelly Farm on Wednesday so he'll feel at home when he gets there.
Joachim Rintsch at Scroggie Creek checkpoint during the YAU
09 - Photography: Greg Petersen
Scroggie Creek with an all new checkpoint
Thanks to the effort of
William Kleedehn and his crew there is now a new checkpoint building at
Scroggie Creek. They went out there in the middle of winter and got
everything done within a week.
By the looks of it
William is not only an excellent musher and builder. He is also an
awesome photographer. Jessica Simon forwarded me some photos of the
construction and the finished site - all taken by William. I have put
these impressions into our gallery
and named it after the photographer. You should check it out. It also
gives you an impression of what it's like in the area of our most
The new cabin at Scroggie Creek - Photography: William
On behalf of all future YAU
430 mile athletes, checkpoint crew and myself: Thank you William for
the great new checkpoint cabin and the wonderful
from the Quest and Jessica and Mike
Yukon Arctic Ultra veterans and
fans know Mike and Jessica Simon from their trail work every February
hosting runners, skiers, and mountainbikers from Whitehorse to Dawson.
This year there's no Ultra so they're helping out the Yukon Quest as
hosts at Scroggie Creek for a week. "The Quest asked us, which is quite
an honour," says Jessica.
race starts from Fairbanks on February 6 at 11 a.m. Alaska time. The
roster is filled with an all-star cast of mushers, from the winner of
the first Yukon Quest, Sonny Lindner, to repeat winners Hans Gatt and
Lance Mackey, and last year's second (by seconds) finisher Hugh Neff.
"This is probably the closest I will ever be to the teams on the
trail," Jessica says.
Mike kept the fire burning at
Scroggie for the six 400-milers who challenged the Black Hills last
winter. "The runners are stretched out on the Ultra," he says. "I
expect more mushers at a time in Scroggie and staying longer than the
The main task will be to
keep water liquid for all the teams. William Kleedehn and friends built
a new insulated cabin, "so we should be quite comfortable," says Mike.
YAU veterans will tell you, the old cabin was a bit of a "fixer-upper."
There won't be any trail sweeps either,
Mike notes. "In fact, we'll have to stay off the trail and have our
wood and water in before the first musher arrives. I don't want mushers
throwing their mandatory equipment at me – like an ax – because I
dragged up their trail."
This year some mushers will
be carrying SPOT devices, so YAU fans can follow the teams through the
Quest's website, www.yukonquest.com.
Watch this site for updates from our
Joachim Rintsch (aka Fisse) goes all the
Joachim Rintsch is THE YAU veteran.
Nobody has finished more YAU races than this German athlete. The most
amazing thing about Fisse has always been the way he does things. His
attitude out on the trail, always happy, always doing just
After so many times participating in the YAU
and also finishing our ultimate distance of 430 miles I was not
surprised to hear that Joachim is now trying to go all the way from
Fairbanks to Whitehorse. He plans on taking 5 weeks and if the weather
does not go from worse to bad I am sure he can make it.
Fisse has got his SPOT with him and if you follow
you can check out his progress.
News on Jessica's book From Ice to
Poe's Deadly Daughters did a very
nice interview with Jessica Simon which also features some YAU photos.
If you wan to read it, follow this link.
will take you to an interview which ckua radion network did with
Download CKRW radio interview with
Jessica Simon and YAU athletes
sent me this mp3 file to make it available for download. It's about her
new book "From Ice to Ashes" and the Yukon Arctic Ultra. Local CKRW
radio interviewed her and athletes Shelley Gellatly, Keith Thaxter and
Tammy Reis. You will hear interesting information about the book and
the race. Check it out!
For interview download klick
(mp3 file 6 MB).
winter is definitely close now. I have
already had my first trail run snow adventure … running from
Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Ehrwald (Austria) I unexpectedly ended up
wading through knee deep snow for about 10 km. I can't wait until
everything is covered in white! Especially now that I am training
myself in order to be in good shape for my trip to
I hope you all have a great winter!
Some news for you:
"From Ice to Ashes" in
book stores now!
Jessica Simon did it! "From Ice to Ashes", her first book is
now in book stores everywhere. Congratulations!!! If you participated
in the YAU already you will know Jessica. She is always there at Dog
Grave Lake to take care of the athletes. Many times she has also been
our race headquarter once back from the checkpoint. So, she knows the
YAU perfectly. At the same time she is a writer and journalist. The
result was the idea for an unusual book. At least I don’t think there
is another ultra that became the background for a thriller.
is what it's all about:
"When a terrorist infiltration overtakes the Yukon Arctic
Ultra - the most challenging human-powered race in the world -
Auxiliary RCMP Markus Fanger leads a manhunt for North America's most
imminent threat. With the help of Donjek Stoneman, a young offender
attempting to clean up his life by serving as a race official, Fanger
traces the menace to Arctic civilisation through the frozen northland
of Dawson City, Yukon to Fort Greely, Alaska, where a desperate man
seeks vengeance against the United States government. This is a
fast-paced thriller that transports the mystery genre into an area
seldom explored in North American literature."
Jessica did change the race course but if you read it you will
get an interesting point of view on a lot of things to do with the
race. So, it's definitely one of the books you should read – either to
prepare or to remember!
More athletes to sign
It's incredible but we now have 7 Spanish athletes on the 300
mile race roster! The latest ones to sign up are Eduardo Linares,
Alejandro Izquierdo, Carlos Garcia, Rafael Garcia and Juan Jofré. It
must be the quest to become the first Spanish athlete to finish this
distance that motivates them all.
Just today I received the first 300 mile entry from England.
It is from Mike Thomas who already finished the 100 miles in 2009 and
now wants to take his sled out for a longer trip. With Peter
Jansen from Germany and Matthew Welbourn from England we now have also
the first participants for the 430 miles.
Paul Boyle and Robert Murray, both from Scotland, have entered
the 100 miles.
Welcome to you all!
Good news from Yukon
If you followed the updates during our last race you heard
about a dog that caused all kind of excitement. Some athletes thought
they will surely be eaten by a wolf now. However, the wild creature
turned out to be a dog we later called "Yukon".
clearly enjoyed following athletes on the trail and teamed up with a
few of them. In Carmacks we decided to bring Yukon back to Whitehorse
as we thought the owners may be really worried. Unfortunately, nobody
picked him up at the animal shelter and there was the threat of Yukon
being killed due to lack of space. Therefore, we started looking for a
new place for our friend on four legs. We did not have to look long as
Bruce Thompson, finisher of the 430 miles, decided to take Yukon with
him to the States.
Bruce emailed me a short while ago saying that Yukon is doing
great and continues to amaze everyone. That's what I call Happy Ending.
Fly over the Yukon
By coincidence I just found something interesting on the Yukon
Quest website – a website, by the way, which you should all visit every
now and then. For athletes there is always cool stuff and as we will
share the trail again in 2011 it's great to know what happens with the
mushers and their dog teams.
Try it, it's fun and it gives you an idea of what the terrain
Gear for winter running
If you live in Europe and need gear for winter running or
already in preparation for the next YAU please check out www.racelite.com. We have
increased the range of products a lot and are proud to offer the best
gear out there. Also, feel free to send us emails with questions or of
course call any time you want.
We do also deliver to North America but needless to say that
due to shipment cost and currency it makes more sense to buy gear there
if available. If in doubt ask us for an offer. I guess it all depends
on the product and your adventure.
And if your next trip will take you to a desert or jungle
check out the shop, too. Racelite.com features gear lists with a lot of
it's been a while since my last news update. I hope you are
all having a great summer! For me the last months have been extremely
busy as Racelite.com
our shop for innovative and light gear is becoming more and more
popular. Keeping up with the growing demand, always looking for new and
exciting products and answering the many enquiries regarding gear for
all kinds of adventures have taken up a lot of my time. That's also the
reason why I decided not to start a race in Scandinavia for the coming
winter. It would have been too difficult to fit it into my schedule.
Instead I will use the 2010 break from the YAU to travel to the trails
I have in mind and hopefully convince everyone up north that this kind
of a race is a great project to support. I will keep you up to date!
Thank you for the
donations for the Kruse family
I would like to thank you all for the donations you made for
the Kruse family at McCabe Creek. CAD 1,067.50 in total were gathered
and have by now been forwarded to Kathy and Jerry Kruse. For those of
you who don’t know, their workship burnt down as we were using it as a
check point this winter. The generator caught fire and luckily no one
was harmed. However, everything in the workshop was destroyed and a lot
of damage was caused. Your money will help the Kruses to re-construct.
First athletes to sign
up for YAU 2011
It is of course still some time to go. But interest in the
2011 edition is increasing and we have already the first athletes on
the race roster. Ian Archer was the first to sign up. He will have
another go at the 100 mile distance. New to the race are Germans Mario
Oehme and Gregor Guggemos. We train together here in the area around
Garmisch-Partenkirchen and it did not take me a lot of effort to
convince that the YAU is an adventure they can’t miss. The last ones to
sign up for now are Toni Contesti and Bartolome Calafat. Both are from
Palma de Mallorca, Spain. And they may be the first Spaniards to finish
the 300 miles race. Welcome to you all!
Lestra's Yukon Arctic
Ultra special edition sleeping bag wins Outdoor Industry Award
The Outdoor Industry Award is one of the world's most
prestigious awards of its kind. Lestra won it due to the many
innovative features of the sleeping bag developed for the Yukon Arctic
Ultra. This sleeping bag is now Lestra's top of the range down sleeping
bag and company to many adventurers all over the world.
Film project YAU
We have had a couple of editions where in the end we could
offer competitors a DVD of their YAU adventure. This is not always
possible as it's challenging to get the funds. For 2011 it is on the
top of my list again. It offers also the chance to those of you who can
get access to TV exposure to use this footage. If you are interested,
let me know as soon as you can. Then it's easier to plan accordingly.
The first Adventure
Trophy races are over
As most of you will know we also organise summer races.
However, these race have a different format from the YAU. The races of
Trophy are Adventure Races where teams of two have to master
a number of disciplines in one day. Our competitions in
Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Bayerwald went really well. The last race
will be in Jena from Sept. 18th to 20th. If you have not participated
in an Adventure Race you should try it! It's great endurance training
and helps you test/improve your navigational skills.
The next YAU will take place in 2011
In other words, there will not be a YAU in 2010. The main
reason for this decision is the Olympic Winter Games 2010 in Vancouver.
These would make it difficult for athletes who want to sign up "late"
to get flights as the Game's dates would overlap with ours.
There are other reasons, too. Traditionally, we always have
more athletes when we start from the same end as the Yukon Quest. That
way our participants can catch the excitement of the dog teams heading
out onto the trail. Trail quality and marking usually are better in
those years, too.
Last but not least, it is my intention to start a new winter
ultra race in Scandinavia. I am currently aiming at having the first
edition in 2010. If I am not able to get it done in time for 2010, the
break with the YAU will give me the time I need to host the race at the
next possible opportunity.
There has not been a decision made if the YAU will become a
bi-annual race in general, i.e. both is possible. We may go back to
annual after 2011 or keep the two year rhythm.
YAU 2011 entry limits
We will limit the number of entries for the YAU 2011 to 60
athletes for the distances 100, 300 and 430 miles. In order for
athletes to make sure they get a spot, we suggest early registration
which will soon be possible.
I have already established contact with a number of people in
order to find the right place for the race. At this point I can only
say that there are a few interesting options and it will be another
It will also be different from the YAU. In some ways it will
be easier, e.g. I don't expect the temperatures to be quite as extreme.
In other ways it will be more challenging. For one, there is more
chance of heavy snowfall. Snowshoes will thus become mandatory. The
trails may be softer even without fresh snow. Thus it may mean that it
will make no sense to have a category for Mountain Bikers. Skiers on
the other hand may find it easier as there will be less hills - well,
depending on where we will be in the end.
If the race goes ahead already for 2010 it will be in March.
So, keep that month marked red on your calendar and keep checking the
News Updates or sign up for our newsletter. That's where I will inform
as soon as I have got news.