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February 2019

A day full of emotions

It is now 20:30 local time and I finally get a chance to write a first update.

Day 1 of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra was an interesting one. We got started on time at 10:30 at Shipyard’s Park in Whitehorse. It was about – 38° Celsius. Which meant a few athletes decided to skip the group photo at the start. More than understandable at these temps.

Due to the temperatures there has been a real danger of frostbite and hypothermia. So, it was great to see that both at Takhini Bridge and at the marathon finish at Muktuk no athletes had problems with either. Layer management was one of the main challenges and most participants did really well. Those who did sweat had to take a bit more time but managed themselves well and simply put on dry spare layers.

At Takhini Bridge local marathoner Amanda Lieverse had to scratch. Two more athletes called it a day at the marathon finish. Those were Darrah Miskell who had issues with Bronchitis and Palle Andersen who simply was not feeling well. Darrah is back in Whitehorse and Palle is sleeping at Muktuk.

We had a few challenges today, like a generator that did not want to start and some equipment that was late for Dog Grave Lake checkpoint. Nothing we could not deal with but it meant our final preparations at Muktuk were a bit delayed. This led to three marathoners having been misdirected. Normally marathoners run past Muktuk for some kilometres, then turn around and take the turn-off to come to Muktuk. That way they get the marathon distance. It was not their fault and they all went out again to get in the full distance. Needless to say that this was frustrating for them. But it speaks for them that they did it anyway. I apologised and will now have to check a few things before I can do the final marathon ranking. All other marathoners had no problems and they were all smiles.

The mood amongst the ultra athletes was great, too. It usually is on the first day. It was cold but the sun was out. Energy levels are high and even though it was cold, they have not suffered too much, yet. Luckily the weather forecast was right. It is now cloudy and it has “warmed up”. Tonight it should be around – 35° Celsius.

The crew at Dog Grave Lake checkpoint is ready. Diane, Julie and Ellie are already based in Braeburn. Jo at Scuttlebutt is resting while I am on headquarter shift. Sarah and Trish are at the “exit point” at the Dawson Overland Trail parking lot with their Fraserway RV. That is an area that is very cold and often athletes run into problems there during the first night. Now they can knock on a door and have a warm place if they decide to scratch. With them are Jeff Boyd and his friend, who also happens to be a Jeff. They are there to do any early morning missions on ski-doo if need be.

All other crew members are soon getting a well deserved rest before we start into day 2.

I should be able to update the results table with In/Out times tomorrow. Right now you can use the Trackleaders page to see where everyone is at.

We also are aware that a couple of SPOTs are not working the way they should. One is that of Enrico Ghidoni. He arrived at Muktuk at 15:37, was feeling good and left shortly after. Most other SPOT issues we have been able to fix. Just Matt Hosford’s inReach is not sending but he is with David Brabec who is showing on the map.

Tomorrow I will also have photos and and later tonight I will share Yann and Thilo’s video of the days leading up to the start.

If you want to see photos and videos already now please check out our facebook group.

 

Some SPOTs still need activation

This is an important update for all athletes using a SPOT:

It’s getting better. More and more SPOTs are now activated. The ones still not sending are:

426, 430, 103, 417, 439, 437 and 436.

The athletes with the above start numbers should do the following: Please go outside with your SPOT and put it in tracking mode. Then, after about 5 minutes, send an “ok message”. When doing this the first time it may take up to 20 minutes. I will update later today which SPOTs still are not sending.

If you already have done the above, please send an email.

Checking SPOTs

This is an important update for all athletes using a SPOT:

Almost all SPOTs are now handed out. There are quite a few units that have not shown a signal on the system. This concerns the following start numbers:

423, 421, 426, 430, 416, 302, 409, 103, 417, 439, 431, 303, 420, 432, 412, 410, 438, 425, 422

The athletes with the above start numbers should do the following: Please go outside with your SPOT and put it in tracking mode. Then, after about 5 minutes, send an “ok message”. When doing this the first time it may take up to 20 minutes. I will update later today which SPOTs still are not sending.

Almost there …

Another early morning here in Whitehorse. Temperatures are currently at – 24° C. The weather forecast for Feb. 3rd still sees little changes every now and then. Temperatures at the start should be around – 25° C. Right now the forecast is that we will have a cloudy first night and snow. As you all know we had lack of snow leading up to the race. After the last few snowfalls there should be enough of it. If you have snowshoes, take them along.

The participants of the two training courses got back yesterday. Everyone I talked to really enjoyed the experience and was glad to have been part of it. Thank you Stewart, Jo, Pam, Robert, Shelley, Jessie and Gillian for doing such a great job! To anybody thinking about participating in the MYAU 2020 or beyond (or any other winter ultra that can get extreme temperatures), you should check these courses out and consider including these in your travel plans.

A lot of athletes are here now. Some already had a bit of an adventure getting to Whitehorse as bad weather caused delays or re-routing.

Yesterday rental gear was handed out and some athletes already were able to deal with paperwork and got their SPOT. Today’s schedule along with the schedule for all other days is available in the Race Info section.

Thank you Diane and Julie for the great help during the last few days, preparing all the paperwork, shopping for checkpoint necessities and setting everything up for todays schedule!

For today’s gear check option #1 I am only expecting 3 participants, i.e. almost all athletes seem to prefer gear check option #2 tomorrow. Which is absolutely fine. For today’s check there has been a change which is that we will check the gear but not go outside on the trails.

Very important today is dealing with paperwork. All athletes who have not handed everything in, please take care of this today. We will not give out start numbers, maps, etc. if we do not have all the paperwork in order.