Local Lad Free Wheels into Town

by Lucy Tanner - Volunteer Support Crew

Diane, Jo and Lucy set off on a trip up the trail late last night in search of the elusive Northern Lights. Departing Dawson to the James Bond theme tune they ventured along the Bonanza Creek Road feeling invincible in their SUV as opposed to out on foot, skis or on a bike where they would have felt a tad more vulnerable. Got to hand it to those athletes once more.

Stopping briefly to take a few moody shots of empty buildings and the dredger the team of Support Crew Angels looked longingly skyward for a hint of the beauty that is the Aurora Borealis. It never happened before it was time to head back to Dawson to prepare for the imminent arrival of Derek Crowe, the local lad, on his bike.

At 0150, with Lucy struck down by a cold, Diane, Jo and a member of the Japanese film crew greeted Derek across the line. It was a fairly muted celebration for fear of upsetting the town folk with too much rowdiness at that time of night.

Derek has performed consistently throughout the race and arrived in good shape having awaited the coldness of the night to harden the ground before whizzing his way down from the top of the dome. Brilliant effort and his reward…a warm bed for the night at the Downtown Hotel. Disappointingly he was just a bit too late to make it to the bar for a beer.

This morning at breakfast Enrico looked great as he planned his tour of the town and Derek looked fresh and ready to go again. Gary and Josh are heading back to Indian River to await the arrival of our first foot racer Hanno. Gerard is in town and will be going out shortly to relieve Gary and Josh as the rest of the athletes come through.

It is with sadness, as always, when we have to announce the retirement of another racer. Marianne Heading scratched at Pelly Farm and will be transported back to Pelly Crossing by Robert for onward passage back to Whitehorse later today. Everyone else is trudging onwards and ever northwards with our full support! Dawson awaits those who conquer the dome. 

Winner of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2015

15th February 2015 16:50 Enrico Ghidoni crosses the finish line to become the winner of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2015. He has achieved a hatrick having won this event in all three disciplines. Congratulations Enrico, you have proved to be an awesome athlete. Multi complimenti signore Ghidoni!

Day 8 from Race HQ

Day 8  - Race HQ reporting

So having established our new office in a room at the Downtown Hotel, we have been watching Enrico’s progress with bated breath. We are all rooting for him…. did you know….Enrico Ghidoni will the first competitor to win all three disciplines…

2009 he was the first person to complete the 430 miles and won the foot race

2013 he was the first athlete to complete the 430 miles on skis and won the race

2015…. well lets not jinx him just hours before he comes in. J

In other news….

We have the winner of the 300 mile foot race – Neil Thubron the UK, completed in 6 days, 19 hours. Congratulations Neil, hats off to you. You have earned a pint or two!

We are expecting Hanno Heiss of Germany to win the foot race; he is going strong, powering his way along the trail. He is also taking part in Mateus’s scientific study into the affects of the race on the human body so has been wearing a sleep monitor and heart monitor, should produce some interesting results. We are cheering Hanno on as he approaches Scroggie Creek today.

We have sad news on the people who have scratched – Mal Smith, Ollie Lutte and Tim Sommers have all made very sensible decisions that to carry on would cause further injury to some already strained and abused parts of the body. But no disrespect to these brave soldiers who have had an amazing race and am sure they will back me up by saying that their experience of the race has been fantastic.

The weather continues to remain mild and easy, what a contrast to the -45 degrees C we were experiencing only 8 days ago! It just goes to show how mad the environment can be and how we can never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. As an ocean rower and sailor I have an enormous respect for Her and this respect is being constantly reinforced by experiences like this up here in the frozen North.

Speaking of ocean rowing I was pleasantly surprised to discover that at least two other of our competitors this year are fellow ocean rowers – Tim Wilks has rowed across the Atlantic and also Mathieu Bonnier has not only rowed the Atlantic but has also rowed the Northwest Passage – what a fantastic achievement – I believe he is the only person to have rowed to the North Pole solo. 

Meanwhile, the support team here in Dawson have been investigating the delights of one the of the furthest outreaches of civilization, last night we experienced Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall. We would recommend to anyone planning to visit this wonderful gamblers den to acquire a degree in the use of modern slot machines before entering. No longer the simple matching up of a line strawberries, oranges and cherries, nowadays its all touch screen and far too complicated to even bother with $5 worth of bets! Our visit was shortlived due to confusion and general ineptitude!

All for now, we’ll keep you all posted as soon as we have news of our winner!

The MYAU – from a physiological perspective

by Dr. Mathas Steinach, Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments Berlin, Germany

Humans are homeothermic mammals, which means that a stable internal temperature (the body core) is maintained regardless of fluctuations in external temperature. This evolutionary step was an advantage to animals which relied on external heat sources to warm up, e.g. reptiles. However, a constant body core temperature necessitates adequate heat production and thus may lead to high energy demands.

Exposure to environments, such as the deep cold of this year’s Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) with temperatures as low as -40°C or °F (and even lower), present a very enormous physiological challenge to the organism, as the maintenance of a stable internal temperature may become increasingly difficult during exposure to cold ambient temperatures without proper counter-measures.

As the MYAU participants exercise continuously along the trail, a great amount of heat is being produced this way. It should be noted that only about 20 to 30 per cent of the internal energy can be transformed into mechanical work – hence walking, hiking, bicycling etc. This “inefficiency” is an obvious advantage during the MYAU as the released heat supports the body to maintain its body-core-temperature of around 37°C (98°F). At the same time of course the participant’s energy demand increases manifold – due to the exercise itself and in order to maintain body-core-temperature in the deep-cold environment. The energy demands may even exceed the energy supply through food intake, which eventually leads to loss in body mass. That is why studying the changes in body mass, body composition, energy expenditure as well as hormones associated with energy metabolism are of such great interest regarding the MYAU.

Problems regarding thermoregulation during events such as the MYAU can arise when more heat is lost as it is being produced, the risk for which increases of course the lower the ambient temperatures become. The time-frame for tolerances become much smaller when the temperatures approach -40 or even -50 and below. Even more so when a participant has over-exerted himself and has sweat through several layers of clothing. Wrong decisions, such as taking of a glove at the wrong time, may quickly lead to frostbite – local hypothermia to the degree of frozen tissue that starts at the fingers, toes and nose which may result in the loss of these body parts when they become necrotic – as well as general hypothermia where the body core temperature decreases leading to heavy shivering (as a countermeasure to produce heat), confusion and irrational behavior, and finally decreased respiration, blood pressure and eventually fatal heart failure. Even when a hypothermic person has been rescued, arrhythmic events of the heart may still occur as an electrolyte-dysbalance might develop due to blood and lyphatic fluid flowing back from re-heated body parts towards the center of the body. So great care has to be taken when handling such a patient.

MYAU news on Al Jazeera English channel

Amongst other media we have with us a Canadian production team from Al Jazeera's worldwide English channel. Below you will find two very nice features that were already broadcast:

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    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...

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