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robert

More finishers and more athletes scratching

Another busy day on the trail and at the checkpoints is coming to an end. More 100 milers were able to reach the finish line. These are Richard Charles (New Zealand), followed by Steve Jones (England) and Gerald Zechner (Austria). As I write this the father/son team Joel and Hans-Jörg Hegner (Switzerland) have only a couple of miles left to go. A bit further behind are 100 milers Terry Gilmartin (England), Mark St. Pierre (Canada) and Donald Smith (Canada).

A few athletes in the 100 mile distance also had to stop their race: Julian Coulter (Canada), Sam Jeremy (Canada) and Alex de Sain (The Netherlands). Julian had frostbite on his fingers was brought out to get into an ambulance at the Overland Parking Lot. He received treatment at the hospital but did not have to stay there. However, he will get further treatment and should fully recover. His friend Sam was fine but did not want to continue alone. Alex de Sain quit at Dog Grave Lake. He is fine just a bit slow and I am assuming it was a pretty heavy sled that slowed him down too much. Logistics did not allow for Alex to come out today. So, I will spend another night in the Yukon wilderness with our crew.

Quick update also on Chad and Virginia. Chad believes it was not lack of drinking but he was not eating enough sugars and got too low on energy. Virginia’s frostbite is getting treatment. Like Julian she did not have to stay in hospital and emailed today that she is fine.

On to the 300 miles.

Still in the lead and going very strong is Fabian Imfeld (Switzerland). Followed be a very determined Tiberiu Useriu (Romania). Both of them had to withdraw last year due to frostbite. In Fabian’s case it was only minor. Tibi’s problems were more severe. Due to the right treatment decisions, quick evacuation and state of the art treatment at Whitehorse hospital he fully recovered. So, to see these doing so well feels really good. Now they just must not forget that things can change any minute here. Hot on their heels is Swiss runner Victor Hugo. The Ken Lake checkpoint crew is looking forward to receiving them.

Unfortunately, also some 300 milers had to stop today. Kike (Spain) made the right decision last night to bivvy due to bronchitis. Other athletes who scratched are Maciej Zyto (Poland) and Konrad Jedraszwski (Poland). They are still out on the course in a cabin and waiting to be brought out tomorrow. Crew has seen them and they are fine. It’s a bit unusual that we leave athletes waiting over night but seeing there is no emergency it’s better the guides get some rest. It is safer than travelling at night. They have all the food the need, gear and a cabin. Other athletes who could not continue are Dirk Heller (Germany) due to small frostbite on nose and Vincent Turgeon (Canada) because of exhaustion. All other 300 milers are still going. Fingers crossed those south of Braeburn will be able to continue.

Lot’s of people at Braeburn Lodge tonight! A big thank you to Steve and Lee for hosting us once more.

Later on we should hopefully see the first photos by Mark Kelly in our gallery. Tomorrow we will open Carmacks checkpoint and possibly also McCabe Creek. Braeburn will close.

It will be a cold night. With temps down to – 35° Celsius possibly the coldest of this race. At Race HQ we will be glued and organise the logistics for tomorrow.

Trails north of Braeburn continue to challenge the athletes. Wind and fresh snow, especially on the long lakes, mean that footing is soft participants need to be careful not to lose the way.

John Berryman wins 100 mile race

Yesterday at 16:22 local athlete John Berryman arrived at Braeburn Lodge with his fatbike and won the 100 mile race. Next up was Kevin Leahy from Northern Ireland who won the foot category after impressing everyone with his super strong performance.

Local runner Virginia Sarrazin arrived third overall and won the women’s foot category. Unfortunately, she had to be diagnosed with frostbite on her feet and was brought to Whitehorse Hospital by friends.

As Virginia was approaching the final miles to Braeburn our crew attended an SOS message from Chad Barber who at that time was 6.7 miles south of us. He was developing hypothermia. To my knowledge he had no frostbite but could not get warm and was starting to get disorientated. Of course the right thing would have been avoiding to get into this situation but it looks like it was a good idea to initiate the SOS. I will know more when I talk to him and our crew member who brought him in. Chad is now resting.

We also already know that James Binks, who currently is at Dog Grave Lake, will not continue beyond. The entire team would have loved to see race veteran James finish but I am sure that, as always, he did the right thing.

Before all this, i.e. yesterday morning Dirk Groth (Australia) and Lana Rogzinsky (Canada) had to end their adventure. Along with Darren Hardy (UK), Vincent Turgeon (Canada), Frederik Strange (Denmark) and Walter Hösch (Germany). Dirk had problems with a knee, Lana had issues with one foot, with Vincent and Frederik it seems to have been exhaustion and Walter suffered from frostnip on his fingers. They are all safe and back in Whitehorse.

Fabian Imfeld (Switzerland) who is in our 300 mile race has reached Braeburn and is looking very strong.

All other athletes, with the exception of Alex de Sain (The Netherlands), have reached or passed Dog Grave Lake checkpoint.

Congratulations to the winners/finishers! All who could not achieve their goal this year and need recovery time I wish you all the best and that you get well soon.

We currently still have crew at Dog Grave Lake, Braeburn and Ken Lake. The latter is struggling with a totally different challenge. It seems some squirrels enjoyed the comfort of the cabin there and caused damage. Some years ago Bernard and crew had to deal with bear damage.

All this is a reminder that we are in the middle of the wilderness here. It is beautiful but if making mistakes it can also be merciless. In addition, it is also a strong reminder that cold weather injuries do not only happen at – 40 degrees Celsius.

I am very proud of our crew! All oft hem are working hard and through the night to make sure the MYAU is a safe as it can be.

Now is a new day and we will see what it has got in store for us.

For frequent news and many great photos and stories I recommend our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/40662499911/. On our official website we will hopefully get the first photo uploads in the gallery later today.

Brian Stuart from Whitehorse wins MYAU 2020 marathon

Almost in time, at 10:32 this morning, the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra started at Shipyard’s Park in Whitehorse. Before everybody left, I had some good news. The amount of really soft trail was less than expected. The athletes still had to face soft trails but not to the extent we anticipated. Also, the trails that Gary Rusnak from our crew put in to avoid large sections of overflow, were still passable. At about – 10 degrees C temperatures were also rather mild. So, it’s no big surprise that all participants were eager to get going and had big smiles on their faces. The good mood continued on down the trail.

Our marathoners normally have to do an “out and back” at the end of their race of 5 km, i.e. 10 km total. However, after about 3 km of this stretch of trail new overflow had appeared over night. The decision was made to turn the runners around at that point. That means that it was not quite the marathon distance today but I would say almost all runners were rather happy with the change. Congratulations to all finishers!

The fastest runner today was local Brian Stuart. It took him 03:49 to reach Muktuk Adventures. With a time of 03:56 Josh Kramer from Guelph/Canada took 2nd place. The 3rd rank went to Andrew Miller from Pembroke/Canada. For the full results please see our results table.

Currently in the lead for the 100 miles is biker John Berryman from Whitehorse. Not much longer and he will reach our remote checkpoint Dog Grave Lake. Next up is Kevin Leahy from Ireland who is in the foot category.

Since Tiberiu’s SPOT tracker has not updated for a little while it is hard to say if he still is the leading 300 miler. Fabian Imfeld from Switzerland may have overtaken him.

Unfortunately, two athletes have had to end their races. Lucile Barbaudy from France was not feeling 100% confident. Her body created more heat than it should have. At first sight this may seem like a good thing but it can of course also be an indicator that something is wrong. She is already back in Whitehorse. Just like Andy Gregory who has had mechanical issues with his bike.

Everybody else has been in a good mood and looking forward to first night out in the Yukon wilderness.

Often that first night results in numerous “help” messages. With slightly milder temperatures maybe we are lucky and they will all continue. I keep my fingers crossed.

The crew has done a great job on a very busy day! Thank you all. And thank you Muktuk Adventures for allowing us to be here. This is such a unique place. I am typing these lines in the main building in the living room. All around me are retired sled dogs who I am sure are wondering why on earth there are all these people out there and they pull the pulks themselves.

Message from SPOT Control

We are trying to check all SPOT units are working properly and to enable us to do this before the start tomorrow morning, please could athletes go outside – either still tonight or early tomorrow morning, switch on their SPOT’s and press „track“ mode and stay outside for 10-15 minutes. The following athletes do not need to do this as their SPOTS are already showing as tracking: 101 / 102 / 103 / 113 / 116 / 302 / 313 / 315 / 319 / 320. We will be looking out for you … Thanks!

Race Start at Shipyard’s Park

Not far from Whitehorse there is a large area of overflow. That is why today crew member Gary Rusnak spent many hours trying to find a route that allows us to avoid these dangerous spots. I then went and checked the area myself. The decision has been made that we will gather for our start at Shipyards’s Park tomorrow (Jan. 30th) and hopefully get going at 10:30 AM. Gary will check the trail one more time before we start. Should he encounter new overflow or other dangers we will transfer the athletes to Takhini and start there. Start time would be whenever all people and gear are there. hopefully no later than noon. Fingers crossed we can take off from Whitehorse.

The bad news is that the trails we had to put in to avoid the overflow are very soft. Impossible to ride with a fat bike and really tough on runner’s feet. It will not be fun … But that’s nature and a challenge that will be the same for everyone.

Our pre-race dinner was great. We kicked it of with a very interesting presentation by Dr. Poole on Frostbite and Hypothermia. We dealt with some admin and of  course enjoyed some very good food (thank you Coast High Country Inn!).

Athletes are getting their drop bags ready and can drop these off until 10 PM. Crew is packing and getting ready, too.

Everybody is eager to get going 🙂

MYAU 2020 Briefing

This is just a short new post. I promised the athletes I would create a pdf-file of my briefing notes and make these available for download. It’s a lot of information and does of course not include everything else that was talked about. For those of you not competing it may be an interesting to read, too. It gives you an idea what topics we covered.

Briefing MYAU 2020

Almost there!

The last days here in the Yukon have been very busy. Many athletes have arrived early to participate in the training courses, offered by Shelley Gellatly and Stewart and Jo Stirling. The feedback from the athletes has been really good. As athletes Maciej Zyto said to me today: „It’s almost as great as a race in itself!“

Parallel to the courses more and more crew have arrived and we have been busy preparing checkpoint material, finalising logistics, doing volunteer briefings, checking the trails, preparing markers, buying supplies and a lot more. Thank you all for the effort you have already put into making this another successful Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra.

All athletes who had not participated in a course are here now, too. Of course they are now anxious to get going. I am sure many sleds are being pack and re-packed as I write these lines. One more day and we all finally head north.

After a really long cold spell temperatures have warmed up considerably. In and around Whitehorse we have had – 15 to – 20 degrees C and tomorrow it may even be + 1 degree C. The warmer weather was accompanied by a lot of fresh snow and more possibly on the way before it will get colder again.

The marathoners may be lucky and actually run one of the warmest races we have ever had with temperatures between – 5 and – 15 degrees C. However, the warm weather comes with a price. Trails will be soft and there will be more overflow. Right now the first half of the marathon distance is soft and there is a good chance everybody will get their feet wet. So, all athletes please be prepared! At the trail briefing tomorrow we will have a final report and our crew will also go on the trail again immediately before the start for a last update. Possibly a lot of the overflow will be frozen again. The trail for the second half of the marathon looks very good.

The 100 milers and certainly the 300 milers may get it all – a tropical start going down to lows of – 40 a few days later.

One good news is that for the first time after many years the Pelly River trail is good enough for us to use it.

A big thank you to the Quest and the Canadian Rangers for the many hours of trail breaking!

Our SPOTs have arrived with quite a delay, i.e. today instead of last week. That is why the units were not handed out today. We will distribute the SPOTs after the briefing tomorrow instead.

#3 Update for MYAU 2020 participants

I hope you had a great Christmas and wish you all the best for 2020!

Thanks to everyone who sent in their paperwork already. I am getting more on a daily basis. In a couple of weeks I will send out an overview that will show you what I have and what still is missing. That hopefully helps making the dealings with paperwork in Whitehorse as efficient as possible. I am still missing quite a few BICO certificates. If you have not done the online course, please do not forget it. Email me your certificates once you have it.

Now on to some more reminders and other little bits and pieces:

The trail

It’s of course way too early to say what trail conditions will be like. We have seen great winters with very cold temperatures and then all of a sudden it warmed up the week before the race which meant trail conditions became challenging. The Canadian Rangers have not decided which route they will take when approaching Whitehorse. If it is safe for us, we will stick to the trail we always use, i.e. even if the Quest goes via Lake Laberge, it is likely we stick to the traditional trail.

In general, be prepared for anything from hard packed snow, to icy surfaces, soft snow, fresh snow and areas with overflow. Think about how each surface will influence your feet/footwear. And of course also have the right solution for your feet if temperatures go down to the extremes.

Gear check

The official gear check is January 29th from 11:30 to 14:00 at the Coast High Country Inn (Library). If you are doing one of the 4-day survival courses you do not need to come because your gear check is part of the course. All other ultra-athletes not doing a course please bring your full sleeping system, your expedition down jacket and your stove. Stove lighting will of course be outside – MYAU crew will show you where. Also, please no stove repairs or handling of fuel etc. inside the hotel!

Fuel

Once again Primus is sponsoring your fuel and Coast Mountain Sports is helping with the distribution. So, to get fuel before the race, please take your fuel bottles to Coast Mountain Sports, tell them you are a MYAU athlete and they will then fill up your bottles. During the race we offer to refill your fuel bottles free of charge at Braeburn, Carmacks and Pelly Crossing.

Travelling drop bag

The 300 mile athletes please remember that we have a travelling drop bag, i.e. you will have access to one and the same drop bag at Braeburn, Carmacks and Pelly Crossing. This drop bag can have max. weight of 23 kg.

It is very important that you mark/label your bag with the words “Drop Bag” and your name and bib number. That way it can’t be mistaken for a crew member’s bag and accidentally taken to a place it should not be. The marking needs to be resistant to frequent handling and cold temperatures. I also recommend to not pack anything that breaks when it’s cold or weight gets put on (as we do pile the drop bags and store these outside in a trailer) and that you do not leave technical items like a camera or valuable things like wallet or passport in there.

Insurance

I have received a lot of insurance paperwork and will get more in Whitehorse I am sure. I just want to remind you that I won’t be able to read all the small print. I get your insurance certificates and that means I can tick the box. It remains your job to make sure that your respective insurance is the right one for the participation in an event like the MYAU.

Please also remember to have your insurance information with you when you need to go to the hospital in Whitehorse. Also, you will need your credit card upon arrival at the hospital!

Labelling your food

Please remember to label all your food items with you race number.

Transfers for local marathon runners

Could all local marathon runners please send me a quick email to let me know if they need a transfer from the finish line back to Whitehorse?

Visiting Muktuk

As you all know, Muktuk is the finish line for our marathon. Locals are more than welcome to visit. To local athletes, please tell your friends and family who want to greet you at Muktuk the following:

  • Dog trails cross the road down to the kennel. Drive slowly!
  • When they arrive down at the kennel and it’s not obvious where to park, they should please approach Muktuk staff to ask where parking is possible. The road around the dog yard always needs to remain open.
  • Visitors with dogs please check with Muktuk staff if it’s okay to take your dog out of the car. Under no circumstances may visitors leave their dog off the leash.
  • Visitors who want to pet the Muktuk dogs may only do so after checking in with Muktuk staff.

Muktuk CP for athletes

We will keep the change implemented for 2019, i.e. athletes in the ultra-distances are not allowed inside any of the buildings. There are several reasons for this. For one, the moisture in clothing and shoes that was not too much of a problem outside, turns everything wet once inside a warm house. Also, as hard as having to stay outside is, it will serve as an early reminder what it means to sweat and then being forced to stop. We will have a very close look at how sweaty/icy the ultra-athletes arrive. If we notice that stopping outside at Muktuk gets you in trouble, we will only let you go again if you have shown us that you can handle the situation. This may include an enforced stay of up to 4 hours; time that will not be credited.

Remember: Try to avoid sweating and have enough spare clothing as drying things during the first 100 miles will be very difficult.

There will of course be a hot meal that you will get served outside. Please have your bowl and cutlery ready. Same for tea, hot water, coffee and hot chocolate. You can get a hot drink upon arrival and give us your flasks to be filled up with hot water. Please be patient if it takes a few minutes. There are times when a lot of people require large amounts of hot water at the same time, which can cause a bit of a delay.

We will have a wood fire outside but this won’t be large enough for more than 6 people to “enjoy” and certainly not sufficient for drying clothes.

Also, for the marathon athletes, please note that you initially will run past the turn-off where the ultra-runners leave the Takhini River to get onto the Muktuk property. To come as close to the marathon distance as possible, you will keep on running on the Takhini until you get to a turn-around spot. You then come back on that same trail and will leave the river when you reach the turn-off point onto the Muktuk property again.

Updates during the race

There are several ways that friends and family back home can follow the race and your progress:

  • -On our website there will be a link to the SPOT Tracking page. Provided your SPOT works, your signal should be updating several times per hour and show on the map, together with some interesting stats.
  • Also on the website there is a “Results” link that leads to a table showing all checkpoints and the “in” and “out” times for all athletes.
  • Once again we are lucky to have the great photographers Mark Kelly and Joe Bishop with us. As images become available to us, these will be uploaded in the gallery on arcticultra.de.
  • The most frequent written news will feature in our facebook group.
  • We will also have a daily news update on arcticultra.de.
  • Last but not least, we will upload images and news on Instagram.

#2 Update for MYAU 2020 participants

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
    Isarstr. 23
    82499 Wallgau
    GermanyRemember, 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 czumer@tsgyukon.com.
  • 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.

#1 Update for MYAU 2020 participants

Athlete updates also go out as emails. If you signed up for the MYAU 2020 and did not receive the email, please check your SPAM-filter and if it’s not there do get in touch. Maybe there is a mistake in the email address I have on file.

So, here is some important information for your preparations:

  1. Over the last few weeks a few athletes have had to cancel their entry. And from a couple more I know they may have to change plans. If you have not been in touch with me but already know that you can’t come, please let me know asap.
  2. Please remember to get/check your eTA.
  3. Many of you are MYAU veterans. If you have not done so already, please have a look at the rules. Some things had changed for this year’s race (e.g. mandatory gear and drop bags) and there still may be minor changes for 2020.
  4. Montane are once again offering a 20% discount for MYAU athletes. If you do not have your discount code already, please let me know via email and I will send it to you.
  5. For the first time in 2019, MYAU participants had to do the BICO video tutorials and get their free online BICO certificate. Feedback has been really good. So, we will keep this measure. All ultra-distance athletes please go to https://bicorescue.com, get your certificate done and email me a copy by mid-January. This is MANDATORY, i.e. without a certificate you can’t participate.
  6. Many of you already made rental gear reservations. If you know you want to rent something and have not told me already, please do so asap. That way I can react if there is a shortage of anything.
  7. If you want to buy anything locally from Coast Mountain Sports in Whitehorse, please make sure you send your email to Corina (czumer@tsgyukon.com). They are happy to reserve anything you need for you. Don’t make it too short notice as they may have to order product.
  8. All MYAU ultra-distance athletes will once again get a SPOT for tracking. More information about this in my next news update. If you take a private SPOT, please let me know by end of next week.
  9. Private inReaches can be taken as a back-up means for communication but will not be accepted anymore as a substitute for a SPOT.
  10. If you need to or want to do one of the two survival courses and have not signed up, please do so asap.