Not much longer now! If you had a look at the recent temperatures you probably thought this is pretty crazy. First – 40° C and now + 4° C. The good news is that the forecast says it will get colder again. In any case, winter temperature have been a lot less steady in recent years and there is nothing we can do about it. Whatever the temperatures will be, we will deal with it. At least all athletes now have seen that it really can get that cold and if it actually will get too warm it is not good news, either. Soft trails, lack of snow, less ice and overflow may be the consequences. As we get closer we will post an update regarding expected temperatures and we will talk about it again during our briefing.
Once again I have to say I am privileged to work with such a great team. There are some new faces in the volunteer crew who I am sure will enjoy the experience and many of the crew will be the same we have had for many years now.
Diane Patrick co-ordinates the medical team and volunteers. Jo Stirling will be our Race Headquarter. Gary Rusnak will co-ordinate the guides on ski-doo. Amongst them Glenn and Spencer Toovey, Robert Siefke, Ross Knox, Josh Smith, Tony Gaw and Gary Vantell. Joe Bishop will be guiding and taking great pictures again. Stewart Stirling, Pam Brown, Anja Svet and Gary Young will organize the Dog Grave Lake checkpoint. Bernard Stehelin (owner of Wilderness Fishing Yukon), Hector Leos Mendoza and Gillian Smith are at Ken Lake. Volunteers Julie Pritchard, Tania Charles, Branka Nerlovic, Martine Wolff and Medina Pedersen complement the team. Last but not least, we have the 100 mile athletes Peter Mild, Richard Charles and Gavin Clark who will join in after their race is over.
As you know from a previous update, the big news this year is our change from Rivendell Farm to Muktuk Adventures for our marathon finish. Any locals and tourists who would like to go see the finish are more than welcome to visit. Should you come with a dog, please do leave your dog in the car. You can then check with someone from Muktuk to see if it is okay to bring your pet to the start line. For the athletes the new location means they can actually eat inside. Which due to lack of space previously at Rivendell was not possible. But that’s also it. There is no place to rest inside or to hang up and dry things inside.
We have had some discussions about drying clothing and kit at remote checkpoints over the last couple of weeks. It’s a challenging topic. Obviously, we don’t want an athlete to experience a DNF due to wet gloves or similar. At the same time it is impossible to guarantee proper drying of clothes at a remote checkpoint. There is simply not enough space. Other issues are that things may get left behind, get mixed up or burned if too many people try to dry things in a wood stove heated wall tent. So, the number one thing all athletes need to keep in mind and work towards is to avoid sweating. I do realize this requires frequent stops to change layers. That’s a pain. However, dry clothes are essential for avoiding frostbite and possibly even essential for survival. Also, having to stop to take off a layer is time consuming but drying a layer in a wall tent takes time, too. In order to support participants with this challenge it is our plan at Dog Grave Lake to provide a wall tent that can be used for drying. However, this may involve time penalties. That way, athletes who end up with wet clothes can get these dry again and have less risk for getting frost bite or not finishing for being too cold. At the same time we have an incentive to react to changing temperatures. I would also like to advise that all athletes should have back-up gloves, hats, socks, etc. at all times on the trail. Regardless of upcoming checkpoints – remote or not remote.
All other checkpoints are confirmed and there are no changes.
Updates during the race
For friends and family at home there are several ways to follow an athlete. There will be updates in this news section, there is a link to the SPOT map and our results table that shows in and out times at checkpoints. In addition we will have news in our facebook group and also on Instagram.
Especially the SPOT map is great as several times per hour it will update the position of each ultra athlete. However, I do need to “warn” you that technical failure of a SPOT is possible. That is why we have our checkpoints and crew out there to make sure everyone is fine.