As of now we can offer a special edition fatbike to anybody who wants to participate in the MYAU and needs wheels for it. This fatbike is also available to non-participants. Just before Christmas I got the first one and took it out for a test drive. It was fun!
Since I am not an expert myself, I was really lucky to get the support of Kevin Turek and MAXX-Bikes. Kevin is a very ambitious rider and has been working in a bike shop for years. He will also be the main contact for anybody interested in purchasing. MAXX-Bike is a market leader in custom bike production. CEO Uwe Matthies himself has been leading the project.
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 1-867-668-2777. 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. In case you have not told me already that you bring your own SPOT, please do so by December 25th at the latest.
Because we do have a sufficient number of rental SPOTs available, the SPOT will also be mandatory for the 100 miles!
Anyone using a SPOT – both own or rented – please keep in mind that you will need 4x AAA Energizer Lithium Ultimate (model # L-92) to power your device. The batteries are NOT included. Therefore, please bring these to the Yukon with you. Every year there are at least a few athletes who bring the wrong batteries, or partially used batteries. In the extremes of the Yukon, you are certain to experience tracker down time if you gamble on batteries. And the device may not work when you most need it.
If you have a DeLorme inReach you do not have to rent a SPOT. Trackleaders.com can include it on our race tracking map. However, what I can’t tell you is how it works regarding distress messages. If you can set a profile it’s best if you use the same type of settings described above with SPOT. And make sure you have our contact details for getting in touch with text messages. Should you bring your inReach and not need a SPOT please let me know by December 25th.
For our 2016 MYAU we have a new local sponsor. Fraserway RV will support us with a winterized RV for our crew. And also friends and family from athletes can rent an RV at a special rate. A 23-foot Motorhome with built-in generator for up to 5 nights costs only CAD 699 + tax (additional nights possible at regular winter rates). This amazing offer includes: Preparation Fee, CDR Insurance ($750 deductible), Convenience Kits (bedding, dishes…) and 1000 free kilometers.
In 2016 we will work with SPOT satellite tracking devices again. As with any technology, there are pros and cons. But overall the positive aspects are more than the negative ones. The main reason we have SPOTs is for their 911 function. And thankfully, so far it has only been used a couple of 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 the athlete or his/her 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 botton. 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 organisation 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.
The third function that is great for us and all those following you at home, is the tracking function. If your SPOT has got good exposure to the sky it will send your position to us several times per hour. This will then be updated to a MYAU section on Trackleaders.com.
The cons are that of course sometimes people 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. 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. Anyway, over all I would say the safety that SPOT brings to the race make it worth its while.
For 2016 the rental fee (tracking service, shipment and set-up included) is EUR 50/unit. If you bring your own SPOT, the set-up fee is EUR 20/unit. All those of you who bring their own SPOT and did not tell me that already, please email me by December 10th. If I have not heard from you I will assume you need a rental unit and I will order one for you.
Above I already talked a bit about SPOT and rescue. Now I just want to make sure everyone understands that no matter if it’s a „Help“ or a „911“ message, rescues in the winter wilderness of the Yukon will likely not be as quick as you would think. If a „Help“ message is sent or a checkpoint calls us and asks for transportation of an injured athleted from a remote checkpoint, it depends on various factors as to how fast we can be. If for example an athlete is in relative saftey at that checkpoint and the weather is extremely cold and it would be a risk to send a ski-doo guide, then it will take as long as there is no more risk.
In places like Dog Grave Lake or Ken Lake there may also be the need for air evacuation rather than ski-doo. Depending on the circumstances it can be safer and quicker for a plane to do the rescue there. PLEASE note that air rescue to 100% has to be paid by the athlete! Also, we try to avoid ski-doo rescue at night. So, if you push the help button in the middle of the night it is very likely that only in the morning you will see us arrive.
Even a 911 mission can take hours. And again, if the weather does not permit, there is no air rescue at all. That is also, why it is so important to have basic survival skills, enough food, warm clothes and the right sleeping system. I will not talk about survival skills or what to do or not to do in serious or dangerous situations. There is a lot of interesting literature on the market and pretty likely you have read at least one of these books already. Or you may even have had survival training. In any case, it's good to be prepared and think about certain scenarios and what you will do.
The Montane Extreme Smock is one of the first pieces of clothing that our title sponsor put into the market more than 20 years ago. Since then it has proven in countless expeditions that it is perfect kit for extreme challenges in the cold. Over the years it of course has been improved and gotten even better. After the premiere for this year's race, we are now offering it again to MYAU athletes.
We also have great looking logo patches. There are these rectangular ones with different backgrounds selling for EUR 5.95/patch:
I also still have some of the "Wolf Logo Patches" left. These sell for EUR 2.95.