Mathieu Bonnier first on xc-ski

Mathieu Bonnier from France reached the Dawson City finish line at 18:55 yesterday. He ranks 1st in the xc-ski division. Overall he is the 7th athlete to finish the 430 miles this year. Congratulations!

We are now waiting for David and Niclas from Sweden. Next is the German Bernhard. But it will be a while before he gets here. Julie Pritchards (UK) and Jessie Thomson-Gladish (Canada) are on the move, too. Julie is unranked as we let her skip one stage (from Pelly Crossing to Pelly Farm). Unfortunately, she had been sick for two days and had to slow down a lot. Otherwise, I am sure she would have been just fine. In any case, she is a lot better now and enjoying her time out there.

Last on the trail is Sean Brown who is English but has been living in the US for some years now. It is Sean's third attempt at the 430 miles. He is suffering from sore feet but if he manages to keep a normal speed he should make it. And that would be really awesome!

Pat Cooke-Rogers reaches Dawson

Pat arrived in Dawson yesterday at 16:30. She now ranks 6th overall and 4th in the overall bike category. She is first in the women's MTB category and the first ever women to finish the 430 on bike. She is also the first woman from Europe to get here. So far only Diane van Deren from the US managed to arrive in the city of the gold rush. And Diane was on foot. The entire team has been very inspired by Pat's achievement. Congratulations! Rumor has it she may come back to do the 100 miles on foot with her husband Mike. Has she told you already, Mike? :-)

Joel Jaile Casademont crosses finish line

At 10:30 this morning Joel crossed the finish line of the 430 mile race in Dawson. He placed 2nd in the foot category and 5th overall. It also makes him the first Spaniard to ever accomplish this.

Joel is fine. He just had lunch with Hanno and Enrico. Now he will enjoy that hot shower and get some rest.

Our ski-doo guides are on the trails checking on the rest of the athletes and they took some of our crew with them to get a bit of time out in this beautiful nature.

Lucy and I are here in Dawson waiting for Pat. She had a long rest as she wanted to get here in daytime. If will be great to see her!

Who's left in the race?

Tonight we saw the arrival of Hanno Heiss winner of the 430 mile foot race who completed the race in 9 days 8 hours and 55 minutes. Congratualtions Hanno, an awesome effort and well deserved. 

We also welcomed in Peter Felten of Germany, third place in the mountain bike discipline who insisted on waiting until Hanno had caught up with him before he crossed the finish line at Dawson City today. Congratulations to all these superb athletes who have been through extreme temperatures, endless miles of tree lined, snow covered trails, long expanses of frozen lake and frightening patches of river with exposed overflow. But they have reached their goal and can go home happy and proud of their amazing achievement.

But what of the others, let us not forget that there is still four and half days to go and 9 athletes still to finish. So who are they? The next one we expect to come cruising into to town is Spaniard Joel Jaile Casademont who may well be in, in the early hours of tomorrow morning or possibly later tomorrow.

Then we have Pat Cooke Rogers who will be the first woman to complete the 430 miles on a bike.

Sean Brown has been here before, completing the 300 miles in 2007, he’s one determined athlete keeping on returning so we are rooting for him to complete the race this year J.

Mathieu Bonnier, awesome Frenchman who is no stranger to epic journeys having rowed the Atlantic and the North West Passage - this is just a walk in the park ...

Our Swedish skiers, David Erixon and Niclas Bentzer who, having skied from the bottom of Norway to the top are taking on one of the most difficult ski trails in the world (I know, I speak from experience, so I will be hugely proud of them when they cross the finish line.).

Bernhard Hasenbalg has also been here before, he had to scratch from the 430 miles at Pelly Farm in 2013 but has come back doubly strong and is still looking good. He’s currently resting up at Scroggie with Sean ready to take on the world again tomorrow morning.

And then we have our ladies … Jessie Thomson-Gladish, local Yukoner, full of determination and drive. We also have Julie Pritchard British resident of Italy who last year completed the Marathon des Sables – talk about extremes – the desert to the arctic in one fell swoop! Go girls!

So lets see what develops over the next couple of days as the race progresses. Once they are through Scroggie its all down hill from there (well actually not really as there is the really fun bit of Titans Dome to climb but don't tell them that! ;-) 

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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