MYAU and space travel

Dr. Mathias Steinach will be back to conduct a study among MYAU athletes for the third time. He will study the effects the race has got on 430 mile runners and he is looking for participants. He already came for research in 2013 and 2105. In 2017 he will be back to get more data.

Mathias works for the renown Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments Berlin which is part of the University there. Athletes who participate not only help understand better what extreme environments do to us humans in general. They will of course also gain very interesting insight on how our race affects their body. The study so far has gone really well. Mathias found a way to get all the data necessary without interfering with the race rhythm of the participants.

Mathias will once again co-operate with Robert H. Coker from the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Robert H. Coker, PhD is an Associate Professor at UAF and has over 17 years of experience studying the regulation of metabolism during exercise under a variety of different physiological scenarios.

They are looking for 8 to 10 athletes who would like to be part of this. So, if you are interested, please send me a quick email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and I will get you in touch with Mathias. He can then provide you with a full outline of the study and answer any questions you may have.

Helping Little Footprints, Big Steps

Our world can be a strange place. The current US election results, climate change, wars, refugee crisis, ... Anybody in their right mind sometimes has to wonder. So, it’s great to see that there are people who care about others and help. Despite all difficulties.

Many athletes dedicate their participation in the MYAU to a good cause. In 2017 and hopefully beyond I would like to help with the MYAU as well. Obviously, there are many causes worth supporting. However, one charity has really inspired me and even has a connection with the Yukon. It is called Little Footprints, Big Steps.

Little Footprints

Morgan Wienberg left the Yukon at age 18 to help people in Haiti after the devastating earth quake in 2010. What was meant to be a short trip changed her life and that of countless others. In 2011 she co-founded Little Footprints, Big Steps and has been part of it ever since. At a time in life when most people think about studies, career and all kinds of other things, Morgan decided to help rescuing children from situations of abuse, slavery, homelessness or severe neglect. Little Footprints, Big Steps do this by reuniting families, supporting education and opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity through their programs and services and collaborations.

A big advantage of Little Footprints, Big Steps is that it is a small charity with limited bureaucracy. So any support really ends up where it should. As you will know from the news Haiti this year once again has been hit by natural disaster. The funds we can generate will be used for agricultural restoration for families who live in more rural communities. Which is where the hurricane completely wiped out all agriculture crops. Little Footprints, Big Steps will buy gardening materials, compost, seeds/plants/baby trees and hire a local agronomist to guide the families. Also Morgen and her team will have the kids in their safehouses involved in doing reforestation projects. What MYAU will do is to pay CAD 1 per every kilometer run by our marathon participants. And we will think about other ways to generate more contributions. Ideas welcome! Of course any ultra-athlete who wants to join in the effort is more than welcome to do so.

More news on this project will follow.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Almost everybody travelling to Canada now needs to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before the actual journey starts. I recommend going to the eTA Application to apply for your eTA. You will find all information there and the application process is pretty simple. Also, if you go through that website it is only CAD 7.00. If you go through an agency that deals with these kind of services you likely will have to pay a higher fee.

SPOTs at MYAU 2017

In 2017 we will work with SPOT satellite tracking devices again. Because we do have a sufficient number of rental SPOTs available, the SPOT will also be mandatory for the 100 miles!

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 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 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 2017 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 end of November.If I have not heard from you I will assume you need a rental unit and I 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 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.

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.

Last but not least, if you would like people to see what you look like when they go to the Trackleaders.com page and klick on your bib number, please send Matthew (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) a 150 x 150 pixels very tightly cropped headshot.

DeLorme inReach

If you have a DeLorme inReach you do not have to rent a SPOT. Trackleaders.com can include it on our race tracking map. In order to do so, we need the URL of your shared map. Please email as soon as possible. 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 end of November.

Rescue Missions

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 athlete from a remote checkpoint, it depends on various factors as to how fast we can be. If for example an athlete is in relative safety 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 have had or will get survival training. In any case, it's good to be prepared and think about certain scenarios and what you will do.

MYAU Special Edition Montane Extreme Smock

 

Jacken Montane 001 001 new

I finally found a company that does high quality prints on functional clothing (as the one I had worked with before went out of business ...) So, now I am getting new MYAU Montane Extreme Smocks with our race logo made. It will sell for EUR 150 (RRP is EUR 189.95). If you are interested, please let me know.

Also, I can send in other Montane jackets to get the logo print on there. So, you can order e.g. a Montane Flux Jacket for RRP less 20% and for a charge of EUR 7.50 I can get the MYAU logo on it if you want. Due to seams not all product would work but I can help you in finding out

I will get logo patches made again soon, too.

Offer from Fraserway RV

Fraserway RV from Whitehorse will help us with one of their great winter ready RVs for the crew again! They also have a special offer for friends & family of athletes who may be there to see you racing and meet up with you at checkpoints. The package includes:

  • Up to 5 nights (additional nights can be added – no problem, for $95/night)
  • C-Medium Motorhome
  • Preparation Fee
  • Convenience Kits
  • CDR (Collision deductible reducer = $750 deductible)
  • 1,000 kilometers

Price for the package is $792 + tax. If you are interested please email me at info[a]thegreatoutdoors.de. I will forward you the contact details.

Changes to timings and locations

It is maybe a bit early and things can still change but if you want to check the pre-race schedule, it was just updated. I made some changes regarding timing and we have had to make changes regarding locations. Not all activities will be in the Coast High Country Inn Hotel this time. On some occasions we will be in the Cold Rush Inn which is a bit closer to the center, about a 5 minute walk from the Coast High Country Inn.

Rental Cars

Driving Force in Whitehorse have confirmed that they are happy to give a 10% discount again to anyone associated with the MYAU. So, if you have friends or family travelling with you who want to rent a car or if you want to rent a car before or after the race, please tell Driving Force you are part of the MYAU adventure and that you would like the 10% discount on your booking.

Driving Force
Driving Force Yukon Headquarter

Montane

Montane will once again be our main sponsor. If you have not checked out their products yet, please have a look at www.montane.co.uk.

This UK company has everything you need for your cold weather challenge. They are really strong in products with synthetic fill but also offer a great range of down jackets all of which use RDS (Responsible Down Standard) down and fleece products, softshells, accessories, etc. And I personally love the Montane Extreme Range which is not very light but perfect for Arctic Conditions – super tough, gets moisture away from the body like nothing else and has got an interesting price point. All MYAU athletes get a 20% discount on Montane product. If you are interested, please let me know.

78 athletes on race roster

Already now we have 78 athletes on the race roster. Which I am pretty sure for this time of year is a record! As always it’s a great mixture of race veterans and participants trying their luck for the first time. If you know for sure you want to participate but you have not signed up, please keep in mind that entry fees will go up again after the end of August. Also, because of the large number of athletes signed up already entry may not be possible until end of November. The race may be sold out before that. I will inform via newsletter, facebook and news on this website if this is about to happen.

Downtown Hotel official partner

Once again, the Downtown Hotel will be our exclusive partner for accommodation in Dawson City. We have a group booking number now which is # 627. If you already booked your room there you may want to let them know you are with the race. Rates are $120.00 per night plus tax, based on single or double occupancy. So, if you share a room it's $ 60.00/person. Triple or quadruple occupancy will add $15.00 more per night per guest. Obviously, it's tough to say for sure when you arrive but if you let them know I am sure they are flexible and do not charge for nights you do not use. It has always worked out fine in the past.

It will be great to be back!

Downtown Hotel
Downtown Hotel in the summertime - copyright: Downtown Hotel

Extended survival training

From 2017 onwards Stewart Stirling will offer a 4 day survival training course leading up to the race, i.e. participants can combine the course with the actual participation in the race. You will find all information on the course and Stewart in the respective section on arcticultra.de.

The training is also available for athletes who plan on doing other races or private adventures. And it certainly is possible to "just" do the training and come back to do the race the next or any other year.

I am very glad that through Stewart there is now such an opportunity. Because not very often participants DNF because of lack of physical fitness. Plenty of times it is the cold or even the "warmth" (talking about wet feet ...), the lack of sleep, not handling gear and clothing right, etc. that make people fail. Problems that with better and very specific training and advice may have been avoided.

29 athletes on the race roster already

I am pretty sure that for end of April this is one of the largest numbers we have ever had. And as always the 430 mile race is in the lead. Entry fees will go up after the end of May. So, anyone who made up their mind already please don't forget about that first deadline and sign up before June to save some money. 

MYAU 2017 starts Feb. 5th

The 14th edition of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra will start Feb. 5th, 2017. That is one day after the Yukon Quest starts in Whitehorse. Applications are already possible. Anybody interested, please just send an email to info[a]thegreatoutdoors.de.

Next year will also see the premiere of a 200 mile race with a start in Pelly Crossing and finish in Dawson City. In order to be able to put on this distance and not interfere with the overall logistics, the 200 milers will have the same pre-race schedule as everyone else. However, the start for them is on Feb. 9th, i.e. anybody doing the 200 miles has got the days from Feb. 5th to 8th off. On the 8th the transfer to Pelly Crossing will leave Whitehorse. If you want to do this race, the same rules as for the 430 mile race apply.

There are plenty of things 200 milers can do between 5th and 8th - some other Yukon winter adventures like dog mushing, ice fishing, ski-dooing, etc. and another option is to volunteer for the MYAU until you start your own race. If you need ideas or more details on any of these options, please just let me know (same email as above).

The rules have been updated to include the new race distance and also some other rules have been changed. Race veterans please make sure you carefully read through the rules in order to be up to date.

Maxx Special Edition YAU Fatbike

Just a quick reminder to anyone interested in participating on a fatbike. Maxx has built a special editon YAU fatbike for us which premiered this year. And what a premiere! Florian Reiterberger from Germany actually won the 300 miles on our bike (and I did not have to bend the rules for it :-)

DCMYAU 0426

Flori on his Maxx Special Edition YAU bike - copyright derekcrowe/photo

The great thing, it's a fully customizable bike and will be built to your specs - you can even get your favourite color, logos and flags onto it. Anybody interested in getting this fatbike, please read through our fatbike info section and get in touch.

Final race report

What a great race we have had this year! It was cold the first few nights. So everyone got to feel what it is like. But then it warmed up. The trail was soft in places but still okay. More Northern Lights than we have ever had before and more 300 mile finishers than ever before. A big thank you to all athletes who have been part of it and congratulations to all finishers.

I have always been lucky in having a great crew and this certainly also goes for 2016. What a team effort! Everyone worked really hard, on the trail, at the checkpoints and at race headquarter to make it a successful event. Thank you Diane, Adam, Scott, Gavin and Lydia from the medical team. Thank you Richard, Kim, Ricardo, Bob, Pam, Jason, Kristin, Damaris and Marc! Thank you Stewart for such a great job co-ordinating Dog Grave Lake CP. Thank you Bernard for hosting Ken Lake CP and thanks to all other checkpoint crews and providers – Rolland from Rivendell Farm, Steve, Lee & team from Braeburn Lodge, George and Cindy from Carmacks Rec Centre, the Kruse family at McCabe, Selkirk First Nation at Pelly Crossing and Sue, Dale and the Woofers at Pelly Farm. Last but not least thank you to the trail crew – Gary, Josh, Ross, Tony, Robert, Glenn and Spencer. I hope I did not forget anyone. You all did an amazing job!

Finally I want to thank the sponsors – Montane, Primus, Carinthia and the local businesses Driving Force, Coast High Country Inn, Total North and Fraserway RV. Your help is essential in make this race happen year after year.

Now of course it is time for my final race report. Even though the trail was rather soft leading up to Takhini Bridge we have had a fast marathon. Joel Hegner won the bike division and David Eikelboom finished first in the foot category. The first woman was Kristin Daniel who managed to improve her already excellent time from 2015. For all results please see the results page.

It was really great to see so many local marathon runners! If I may I would just like to ask the local marathoners to try and sign up by end of November in any future races. It would help making the planning easier.

As always the long stretch of trail from Rivendell Farm to Dog Grave Lake was a challenge for all the ultra athletes. Temperatures down to – 35 degrees C took their toll. Local athlete Virgina Sarrazin had to scratch due to frostbite. She is fine. No permanent damage. But it goes to show that it can happen to anyone. Warmer temperatures during the day cause more sweating and at night wet shoes and socks mean trouble. Not just with frostbite. We have also seen many cases of immersion foot. So, as a learning for future years: if the weather forecast is less extreme, changing socks and keeping up good footcare is just as important as it is when the weather is colder. Other reasons for DNFs at this point in time were chafing (again a problem that occurs more in „warmer“ years) and dehydration. If your water bottles freeze and you still have got a good distance to cover to the next checkpoint, it is very important to deal with it. It may mean time lost for melting snow. But that’s way better than having to end the race due to exhaustion and dehydration.

Michele Graglia finished 1st in the foot category. The Italian did so well, he almost managed to break Justin Wallace’s record from 2012. 2nd athlete to finish was David Hirschfeld from the US and 3rd rank went to Michael Faergegaard from Denmark. 1st in the women’s were local athletes Jennifer King and Gillian Smith. All 100 mile finishers did a great job! Great to see Jean Yves, Carlos Albert and Mal Smith finish unfinished business! And I should mention that James Binks who had originally signed up to do the marathon took Robert Hodges junior’s place in the 100 miles and finished, together with his good friend Robert Hodges senior. What makes this special is that James is 71 years old. Sorry, James, I know you probably would prefer if I would not mention your age but you are an inspiration! And I should add that James previously already finished the 300 miles. Again, teaming up with Robert Hodges. Also, he came very, very close to finish the 430 miles in 2013.

We have had a brave xc-skier, too. Thomas Keller from Switzerland needed 57 hours and 20 minutes and came in well before the 3 day cut-off. I had told Thomas that xc-skiing it is a tough one and I do not recommend it. But I guess to a Swiss guy this just makes it all the more fun to go for it.

The first 300 miler to reach the Pelly Crossing finish line was Bavarian biker Florian Reiterberger. Hardly ever have I seen anybody so relaxed and calm. Only when at the finish line he was told there is no beer he may have come close to a state of nervousness. Rank 2 in the bike category went to German Wolfgang Kulow and third place was taken by Tim Sommers from Australia.

In the 300 mile distance foot category we have seen a race for 1st place which eventually Jan Kriska from the USA was able to win. And he did it in style, setting a new record of 118 hours and 24 minutes. Gavan Hennigan from Ireland came 2nd. 3rd overall rank went to Bernadette Benson from Australia. Which also means that she placed first in the women’s. Julie Pritchard (England) and Jessie Thomson-Gladish (Canada) placed 2nd. And we have seen many more 300 mile finishers. All of them were great and really enjoyed their adventure. There has been so much positive attitude by everyone – Hugo Smith, Jorge Rufat-Latre, Paul Fosh, Joaquin Candel, Jörn Theissig, Mario Villemure, Oliver Lutte, Jerym Brunton, Rick Ferguson, Omar Mohamed Ali, Davide Ugolini – all of them were of course tired but also smiling whenever I met them. My special thank you goes to Canadian 300 mile finisher Daniel Héon who helped fellow racer Davide Lugato on the way to Pelly Crossing. Daniel did not think twice when he found Davide totally exhausted on the trail and made sure he was safe before he continued his journey.

Congratulation also to Team Raven Russia (Jerym and Rick) and the ’J’ Team (Julie and Jessie) who not only finished as individuel athletes but also in the team category. It is very rare that we see teams in the 300 mile race actually finishing together!

I hope everyone’s recovery is going well and wish all of you many great adventures wherever you go! It would be an enormous pleasure to see you come back in 2017 or any other year! To the crew, once more a big thank you! Extremely well done and I am looking forward to welcoming you back – be it a spart of the support team or as athletes out on the trail!

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  • 26 November 2016
    MYAU and space travel
    Dr. Mathias Steinach will be back to conduct a study among MYAU athletes for the third time. He will study the effects the race has got on 430 mile runners and he is looking for participants. He alrea...

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