Today's logistics before the start worked perfectly. Thanks to perfect service at the Coast High Country Inn, great help from Takhini Transports and the best crew in the world we got to Takhini Hot Springs in time.
Arriving here was a bit of a surprise when it comes to temperatures. Whitehorse felt warm but at Takhini Hot Springs it was rather chilly. We made our traditional start photo and the athletes left at 10:30 AM. Reports still are that the trail is rock hard. So, they should be fast. Especially the mountain bikers.
Our Up North Wall tent is set up, ready and heated and we are now finalising checkpoint work. We will be here until certainly late this afternoon. If any locals want to join us welcoming the marathon finishers or seeing 100 and 300 milers, please feel free to do so. The Hot Springs are open and Café Balzam will be open from about 2 PM.
Many MYAU athletes use multi-fuel stoves. We recommend and rent out the Primus OmniLite Ti. Multi-fuel stoves are efficient and powerful. They get snow/ice melted quickly if need be. These stoves also are reliable when handled correctly and maintained well. However, any stove can have a problem at some point. In that case it is important that you know how to handle the situation. The following is a great video from Primus that shows you the basic trouble shooting procedures for Primus multi-fuel stoves. If you use a different product and don't know how to clean or repair it, please check out the internet for similar instructions.
There are currently many interesting discussions on our facebook group, e.g. regarding the right type of shoes, flights, etc. If you have signed up for the race and are interested in input from others, please join us there. If you already did the YAU and want to share your experience with others, feel free to do so.
You will find the link to the YAU facebook group on our website in the top right corner. If you have signed up and can't access the group please let me know and I will look into it.
This is just a quick reminder to all athletes who signed up for the YAU 2014 that you get a 20% discount on any Montane clothing bought from Racelite.com. If you do not find the product you are looking for contact us and we will organise it for you.
Montane has got a lot of product which is great for the Yukon. That is why we sell it in our store and why we are so happy to have them involved in the race. Their stuff is very high quality, extremely functional and has got a fair price.
For winter 13/14 they have got some exciting new pieces. One of these is the Deep Cold Down Jacket.
Other favorites which have been tried and tested in the Yukon are:
And there are many more. If you need any advise please just let me know.
A large part of the organisational work has been done already. Our checkpoints are confirmed and most of the crew is on board, too. All people with plenty of YAU experience. So, you are in the best possible hands.
Regarding the trail I will update you a bit closer to the race. As always trail conditions will depend on the weather during the trail breaking phase (especially the first 20 miles) and the weather just before race start. I keep my fingers crossed.
Once again we will use SPOT units to track the 300 mile athletes. For this distance the SPOTs are mandatory. We rent the units out and I will soon give some more details on this. 100 milers can also use a SPOT if they want to. Again rental is possible. Just contact me if you want to do that.
You can also use your own SPOT. I will just need the URL of your shared link page and the ESN number in the battery compartment of your unit. Your tracking service needs to be active. There is a small fee to link you to our set-up.
If you have a SPOT we, your family, friends and collegues can follow your progress during the race via a link on our website which leads to Trackleaders.com.
Other advantages are that you can push a "help" button which will make us come out to rescue you. If you are in an absolutely life threatening situation you can also push a "911" button. This will initiate an official search & rescue mission by the local authorties in which we will assist. Beware that such a mission can cause a lot of cost to the athlete if not properly insured.
Here is what our tracking in 2013 looked like: http://trackleaders.com/yukonultra13.
Our original plan was a start of the race at Rivendell Farm since the owner, Rolland and Mary Girouard, once again have prepared the checkpoint for us and we already put in the land trail on the farm property. However, due to the bad conditions on the Takhini River, we had to come up with something else.
Takhini Hotsprings came to the rescue. They immediately offered their support and are happy to have us there for the start of our race and also as a finish location for the marathon. We are still working out some minor details but the decision is final.
If you would like to find out more about the Takhini Hotsprings, please check out their website.
We will load all the sleds in front of the High Country Inn on January 30th at 09:00 AM. When the sleds are loaded, athletes will get on a school bus and be brought to the start. With all the loading, unloading and transfers, it is likely we will not be able to start at 10:30 AM. That's not a problem, though. We will start when everyone and everything is ready. In order for the transportation to work, it is crucial that everyone is on time. Once the truck and the bus have left, taking a taxi is the only option. And that would be quite costly.
Now that we have a new start location, what does this mean as far as the trail is concerned? Well, we tried hard to prevent it but unfortunately, it does involve an "out and back". The marathon athletes will run 20 km north and then come back to the finish line at the Hot Springs. The good news is from 4 PM the hot pools are open. So, anybody who feels like it can take a well deserved and relaxing bath.
For the 100 and 300 mile participants it will be a bit different and tougher. Mainly mentally. As they need to go out, come back and go out again - about 12 km each way - to have their total distances when they finish. And no relaxing bath ... Checkpoint rules for ultra distances are the same as at Rivendell. They are not allowed inside.
As you may have already seen on our "Welcome" page next year's start date has been confirmed. The YAU 2014 will take place from January 30th to February 7th. All those of you keen on signing up please email me and I will send you the Application & Waiver.
There are many things you can do to be up to date.