Monthly Archives

January 2014

A challenging but great first day

Day 1 was busy at the Takhini Hotsprings. The crew did a wonderfull job helping everyone at the checkpoint and it was a great location for us to be in. Very friendly help from the staff of the Hot Springs and great support also from the Café balsam. Thank you for that!

After having mentioned some highlights I want to just give you a general overview before I hopefully get a chance to update the results table.

The trail was fast but there was one stretch that was a bit softer. Not easy of course if you know you need to go over it twice … Markings were very good but coming back three marathoners were not paying attention at crucial turn off and went the wrong way. They realised they were wrong as there were no more markers but it did take them a while to get back on track.

All those who did not scratch were in good spirits. Most SPOTs are working with currently 2 exceptions – Peter Mild and Johnny Wulff Andersen. We will try to get the message through to Dog Grave Lake in the morning and hopefully we can get their tracker to work. Both were doing really good. So, no reason to worry.

More news and hopefully some photos later today.

Turbo arrives at the Braeburn finish line at 3:36 AM

Paul Trebilock arrived at 3:36 AM on January 31st at the 100 mile finish. So, he is our overall winner for this distance. Due to hard trails and an incredible effort Turbo was faster than we thought. Now I know why he has got that nick name … I am sure this is a record time for 100 mile bikers which will last for quite some time. And I also think it’s probably one of the best if not the best time for a biker ever to do the 100 miles. But I do need to double check before I confirm.

Anyway, Paul is fine and of course very happy to be here. Since our official checkpoint had not opened yet I brought him over to Scuttlebutt lodge to sleep with the crew.

Not all 100 milers carry a SPOT and I will need to look at some in/out times before I can be sure. But next in the field should be local athlete Karl McEwan. He left Dog Grave Lake and can get here in the morning. For an athlete on foot I expect a very good time from him, too.

Some athletes had to scratch

When we were still at the Hot Springs David Bohn (100 miles) came back. His water bladder was leaking badly and he got soken wet. He had clothes to change into. So, that was not the problem. However, he did not feel safe with only a small thermos as back-up. And of course it’s no fun to stop to melt snow every hour. Needless to say that he is dissapointed. Otherwise, he is in great shape and we all hope to see him back.

For Danile Modolo (300 miles) the SPOT is showing a location in Vancouver. That is not where he is but unfortunately he had to scratch and never left the checkpoint after coming back. That is why the SPOT gives this position. Daniele felt sick. Possibly a cold coming on. Of course with so much ground still to cover it is understandable that he decided to call it a day.

All athletes are fine

This is just a quick message to let you all know that all athletes are fine. We were starting to worry a bit about Martin Parnell. He was late and reports we got indicated he took a wrong turn. Glenn and Spencer headed out to look for him and sure enough, 20 minutes later he reached the finish. Martin did take a wrong turn on his way back. So did two more marathon runners. They were cruising and possibly so confident that they stopped looking for the markers for a while. All of them realised at some point, turned around and finished. Possibly they also just wanted to run an ultra rather than a marathon 🙂

I will have more news later.

Stefano Gregoretti wins marathon

After winning the 100 miles in 2013 Stefano Gregoretti from Italy came back in 2014 to win the marathon. He finished at Takhini Hotsprings after 3 h 35 min. Considering the fact that the trail was softer than expected this is pretty incredible. People who saw him on the trail said he was “flying”. Marek Peterka and Vit Syrovy from Czech Republic came second 25 minutes later. Paul (Turbo) Trebiloc was the first athlete to reach CP1. He is on MTB and came in after 3 h and 32 min. I will update the detailed results table later today.

SPOTS are here!

The SPOTs have arrived in time for us to hand them out at Takhini Hot Springs. Once again, thanks to Matthew Lee from Trackleaders.com to make this happen.

If you want to follow participants who have a SPOT please click on the Trackleaders.com logo on the top right of our website.

Rental SPOT units are en route

Thanks to an incredible effort by Matthew from Trackleaders.com and the services of Air North Cargo all rental SPOT units will arrive in Whitehorse in about 1 hour. This means that we should be able to give out most of the SPOTs at the Hot Springs. The rest we will try to get to athletes on the trail asap. That way everybody can follow their progress. There are some SPOTs active now. These are the one that belong to the respective people. In case you are wondering whey the don’t follow the red line which is the trail we normally use, that is because of the change we had to make on short notice in this section.

Yukon Arctic Ultra 2014 has started

Today’s logistics before the start worked perfectly. Thanks to perfect service at the Coast High Country Inn, great help from Takhini Transports and the best crew in the world we got to Takhini Hot Springs in time.

Arriving here was a bit of a surprise when it comes to temperatures. Whitehorse felt warm but at Takhini Hot Springs it was rather chilly. We made our traditional start photo and the athletes left at 10:30 AM. Reports still are that the trail is rock hard. So, they should be fast. Especially the mountain bikers.

Our Up North Wall tent is set up, ready and heated and we are now finalising checkpoint work. We will be here until certainly late this afternoon. If any locals want to join us welcoming the marathon finishers or seeing 100 and 300 milers, please feel free to do so. The Hot Springs are open and Café Balzam will be open from about 2 PM.

All set for a great first day

As already announced yesterday, we will have our race start at Takhini Hot Springs. Athletes were informed today at the pre-race dinner that there is only one change to yesterday’s plans. And that is concerning the distance for the 100 and 300 milers on the “out and back”. Instead of 12 km, they actually do need to run about 20 km out, back and then out again to make up for distance lost through due to our new start location.

Other than that the timing as such remains as planned. Loading of the sleds at 09:00 AM in front of the Coast High Country Inn. Transfer buses for the people are ready from 09:15 AM and scheduled to leave at 09:30 AM. Arrival at Hot Springs about 10:00 AM. There may be minor delays and it’s hard to tell with all the loading and unloading if we will make our 10:30 AM start. It may a bit later but at 11:00 AM at the latest we want to get going.

The Hot Springs will be open from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM! So, anybody who watches us start can enjoy this unique experience right afterwards.

Pre-Race Dinner is over

We had a great dinner tonight at the Coast High Country Inn. Most important information had been past on during training course and trail briefing. So, there were not too many things that still needed taken care of. Food was excellent and everybody seemed in a great mood and anxious to finally get going tomorrow.

Now Nic, one of our volunteers, is waiting in the library until 11:00 PM for athletes to bring their drop bags. I am writing some more news updates and finalise some paper work. Then that’s it. It’s race time!

Due to the hard trails we do expect a fast race. It will be beautifully sunny and not too cold.

Latest on the SPOTs

Trackleaders.com is having difficulty getting the SPOTs to us in time. I had mentioned it already previously. Timing was too tight anyway but deteriorating weather conditions meant that courier companies could not guarantee over night delivery to Whitehorse. Matthew from Trackleaders.com then bought a ticket with the intention of bringing the SPOTs himself (from North Carolina!). But of course regular flights were also facing bad weather. After a long nightmare he did end up in Seattle and will now fly on to Vancouver. However, he won’t make tonights flight. There were too many delays. The earlist – if all goes well – I will have the SPOTs will be tomorrow at 3:00 PM. We will see.

All this does mean that the rental SPOTs can’t be given out in time for the start. Due to “out and back” this is not a big problem as it would have looked “funny” anyway. All the going back and forth off our original route. However, we do of course want everybody to head north with the SPOTs on their sleds. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

The athletes using their own SPOT should be visible already tomorrow as soon as the link goes live.

YAU 2014 will start at Takhini Hot Springs

Our original plan was a start of the race at Rivendell Farm since the owner, Rolland and Mary Girouard, once again have prepared the checkpoint for us and we already put in the land trail on the farm property. However, due to the bad conditions on the Takhini River, we had to come up with something else.

Takhini Hotsprings came to the rescue. They immediately offered their support and are happy to have us there for the start of our race and also as a finish location for the marathon. We are still working out some minor details but the decision is final.

If you would like to find out more about the Takhini Hotsprings, please check out their website.

We will load all the sleds in front of the High Country Inn on January 30th at 09:00 AM. When the sleds are loaded, athletes will get on a school bus and be brought to the start. With all the loading, unloading and transfers, it is likely we will not be able to start at 10:30 AM. That’s not a problem, though. We will start when everyone and everything is ready. In order for the transportation to work, it is crucial that everyone is on time. Once the truck and the bus have left, taking a taxi is the only option. And that would be quite costly.

Now that we have a new start location, what does this mean as far as the trail is concerned? Well, we tried hard to prevent it but unfortunately, it does involve an “out and back”. The marathon athletes will run 20 km north and then come back to the finish line at the Hot Springs. The good news is from 4 PM the hot pools are open. So, anybody who feels like it can take a well deserved and relaxing bath.

For the 100 and 300 mile participants it will be a bit different and tougher. Mainly mentally. As they need to go out, come back and go out again – about 12 km each way – to have their total distances when they finish. And no relaxing bath … Checkpoint rules for ultra distances are the same as at Rivendell. They are not allowed inside.

Changed start location for YAU 2014

Due to more open water on the Yukon River, overflow and ice without snow (which makes marking pretty impossilbe) and generally bad trail conditions we have decided NOT to start at Shipyard’s Park. We are currently evaluating our options.

Since the start location will be out of town we will organise transportation for the gear and the athletes. The timing is yet to be confirmed but at this point we plan to load all sleds into trailers in front of the Coast High Country Inn at 09:30 in the morning on January 30th. Athletes please be advised not to pack anything that may break if another sled is but on top of yours, e.g. maybe stoves. But these items in a separate bag and take these with you on the bus. When you get to the start location you can finalise the packing.

Also, all athletes please be advised that it will be very important to be on time. If you are late for a start in Whitehorse, it’s not too big a deal. But if you are late this Thursday, it will be difficult and/or stressfull to catch up.

The new start location will be confirmed hopefully later today. Then I will also confirm the timing.