With this update I just want to remind you of a few things, inform you re. SPOT and one other important subject. Also, I will now start sending out the final invoices.
Let me begin with the reminders:
- If you can’t come to the MYAU but still are on the race roster, please tell me asap. Cancellation fees apply soon – and this is regardless of you having paid the final invoice or not. The only way you can avoid cancellation fees is if you email me.
- Between now and January 15th you can get your Medical Certificate and Medical Information organized and send the originals to the mailing address below. If you have not done so already, please also send along the information on your insurance cover for the race and the originals of your Entry Form (pages 3 to 6 of your Application & Waiver) and your Standard Release Form Actor/Model (page 11):Robert Pollhammer
Remember, please take copies of any originals you send and take these copies with you to the Yukon!The only exception to this are entrants from North America or other countries outside the EU where there is a chance the mail is too slow. For those of you where this applies, please scan the forms and email these to me. Then please take the originals to the Yukon and hand these in there (January 28th, 2020 between 09:00 – 12:00, in the library of the Coast High Country Inn).
- On the insurance cover you get, I want to repeat that I won’t be looking into the detailed and small print info of it. Be sure whatever insurance you get, that it covers your participation in an event like the MYAU.
- Remember to have your Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for Canada
- If there is important gear you are planning on buying in Whitehorse, please make sure to get in touch with Corina from Coast Mountain Sports to reserve what you need. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make sure you check customs information about the type of food you are taking along. There are a number of types of food that you will not be able to bring into Canada.
- Especially for the veterans: please make sure you read the rules again as certain things since your last MYAU may have changed.
- You will get free fuel at Coast Mountain Sports to get you started (just go there with your empty fuel bottle before the race) and we will re-supply fuel at Braeburn, Carmacks and Pelly Crossing. So, there should not be any need for having fuel in your drop bag.
- No trail checks at night and no response to SPOT “Help” messages at night.
So much for some important reminders.
SPOT and how we use it:
SPOT satellite tracking devices are mandatory for all ultra-distances, i.e. 100 and 300 miles. As with any technology, there are pros and cons. But overall the positive aspects are more than the negative ones.
If the tracking function is active a SPOT regularly sends its position via satellite. Thus we know where you are and so do friends and family back home. During the race a link to the map will be placed in a prominent position on our website.
In addition, the SPOT allows you to send a “Help”, “911”, “OK” and a “Custom” message. The main reason we have SPOTs is for their 911 function. And thankfully, so far it has only been used a few times. The 911 button to us means there is an absolutely life threatening situation. This also means if there is no life threatening situation, IT CAN’T BE PUSHED! Please keep in mind that the cost for a 911 rescue operation can be enormous and it has to be paid by you or your insurance. Obviously, if life is at risk it just has to be done. But if you are lost, tired, exhausted or have any other problem that a good rest and common sense can solve, do not push that button.
If a good rest is of no help, there is a button on the SPOT that is called exactly that: “Help”. It is a signal to the race organization that you do have a problem and want to end your race then and there. But otherwise you are fine and will wait for us to come.
If the “OK” button is pushed, it means exactly that, too. You show us that you are fine and are having a good time. There is no limit to how often you can push this button.
Last but not least, the “Custom” message. It MUST BE PUSHED if you have a longer rest between checkpoints. It shows us that you are not moving but there is nothing wrong.
The cons of the SPOT are that of course sometimes athletes use the “Help”-button when they really could have solved the problem themselves. Or they decided to use that button rather than going back to a checkpoint. Mind you, if you can’t walk anymore, that’s fine. Push it. But being tired is no reason. Please just take a good rest and decide then. Because if we have to “rescue” someone who is actually perfectly fine and at the same time something serious happens, it is bad to have resources bound.
Another con is that it’s technology and it does not always work. Usually this is due to not operating the SPOT correctly and/or using wrong batteries. But it also may be technical failure. It means we don’t get a signal and people back home start to worry. In most cases, race headquarter knows what’s going on, e.g. because we got in-/out times of a checkpoint or just recently had contact with the athlete.
To sum it up, the safety that SPOT brings to the race make it worth the while. The rental fee (tracking service, shipment and set-up included) is EUR 50.00/CAD 70.00 per unit. And in order to solve the problem with the wrong batteries, since 2019 each rental SPOT will be delivered with batteries. One set of 4 AAA Energizer Lithium Ultimate (model # L-92) for the 100 miles and two sets for the 300 miles. The charge per set of batteries is EUR 8.95/CAD 12.95. This will be invoiced, together with the rental SPOT fee, before the race.
If you bring your own SPOT, there is a set-up fee of EUR 20.00/CAD 29.00 per unit and you can pre-order batteries or bring your own. All athletes who bring their own SPOT were asked let us know. If we have not heard from you we will assume you need a rental unit and we will order one for you.
All athletes who bring their own SPOT please note that you should create and save a separate “Message Contact Profile” for MYAU. Under that contact profile, we recommend you do not include family at home on either type of distress message (Help & SOS) as they may worry when there is nothing to worry about. Inclusion of family on the Check-in/OK message is fine. Within the contact profile you need to define and include recipients for the Check-in/OK message, which in the past has been, “Still smiling” (this is best programmed to send only to email); Custom Message, which has been used for, “I’m taking a bivy” (email only as well); “Help” should be both email and text. SOS has no email option. You program a phone number only. IMPORTANT: There is a notes section for SOS, and it should read like this: “User is part of a human-powered race on the Yukon Quest Trail. If SOS is being transmitted, please phone the primary SOS contact directly, as for the purpose of the race, use of SOS is defined to mean life or death. Race central # (contact = Jo Davies) at tbc. phone number. Race director, who will at times be out of cell phone range on trail cell phone = tbc. NOTE: tbc. = Cell for primary Jo Davies.” You do not want GEOS emergency response center to waste time calling family. You want race central to be the first call.
If you are bringing your own SPOT we will need to get your ESN-Number which is in the battery compartment and the URL to your shared link page.
Since 2019 we are not able to accept a private Garmin inReach as an alternative to a SPOT. The inReach is a great product but it’s battery was not made for extensive use in extremely cold temperatures and we have had too many issues with it. You are of course more than welcome to bring it along as a back-up means of communicating, e.g. instead of a sat-phone.
Now I want to focus on one important safety aspect of the race. And that is:
Avoid sweating as much as possible!
This is a lot easier said than done. It takes an enormous amount of discipline to continuously remind yourself of that and then also act accordingly. You may feel that you have found a great rhythm and, sure, you feel a bit of sweat but things are going great. So, why stop? Well, you may feel great for the moment but when temperatures drop you could get into serious trouble. In a worst case scenario it could mean you will suffer from hypothermia and die. And don’t forget, you may not have to stop but maybe you run into someone with a problem and you are forced to stop. Or something on your sled breaks and you are forced to stop.
None of you should wear your heavy expedition down jacket while you are on the move! If you are wearing it, it’s a first sign something is not right. Obviously, if you have to wear it in order to avoid cold stress and hypothermia, you have no choice. But you then really, really have to be careful not to sweat in it. Ask yourself why it is that you need your expedition down jacket while moving. Have you been drinking and eating enough? Should you get some rest?
The reason why you need to keep your expedition down jacket dry is for those times when you stop and your body immediately generates less heat. You may need it while handling your gear before you sleep and/or you may need it inside your sleeping bag to get some more insulation.
However, it’s not only important to keep your expedition down jacket dry. You also need to keep your sleeping bag and other insulated jackets/pants and mid-layers as dry as possible. Breathability and ventilation are key. If even great breathability and ventilation don’t help and you get hot, it’s time to change layers.
Be sure to have enough dry back-up clothing to get you safely from one checkpoint to the next. When you get to a checkpoint that has got the capability to dry things, please approach our crew to help you.
About drying clothing at Dog Grave Lake, like in 2019 there will not be a “drying tent”. There are several reasons for this:
- The quality of the heat to efficiently dry a lot of gear is just not there. Some people who get their gear close to the stove may get okay drying times but everyone else will have to wait very long.
- If gear is too close to the stove or falls onto the stove it may burn – and depending on what item this is, it may mean “end of race”.
- There is also a scenario where gear could catch fire and then eventually the entire tent with all the gear in it burns down. Again, “end of race” and a lot of anger for many athletes.
- Risk of athletes confusing someone else’s gear for their own (has happened several times).
So, your number one goal needs to be to keep your stuff as dry as possible at all times and even more so when approaching the remote checkpoints Dog Grave Lake and Ken Lake. If you get to these places and essential clothing (that you have no dry back-up for) or your sleeping bag is wet, do not hide it. Approach our crew as we can’t let you continue. We will then try to dry your gear but you may get a time penalty and have to wait for a long time. That’s at Dog Grave Lake and Ken Lake.
At checkpoints that are not remote it’s easier to dry things. Again, please approach the respective checkpoint crew and we will help.
If you have any doubts feel free to ask any time.