The Breakingstrain, Lee and Garry, completed their first Yukon Arctic , here they run down how it went.
Race Day – Sunday 6th February – Whitehorse River Start line
1030hrs, minus 17C and zero wind.
Perfect racing conditions for the 75 competitors that lined up for the start of the race.
We were at the start of the trail where less than 24 hours before 50 teams of dogs and mushers headed off for 1000 miles of Yukon Quest race. As such, we expected good solid compacted snow conditions under foot, regular and well-maintained trail markers along the route and more frozen husky crap than you can shake a stick at. Should be interesting.
As we headed off for the first leg of the race, Lee and I were pleased with our position within the pack; roughly mid-group with only the experienced, fast competitors ahead of us and the marathon runners (no pulks) right at the head of the field. Just as we were celebrating and patting ourselves on the back for this great result both pulks break within about 25 minutes of each other. This was frustrating as it caused us to drop out of the procession to effect temporary repairs (due to transportation problems there were no metal connectors to attach the harnesses to the rental pulks).Lesson learned: Cable ties (even heavy-duty ones) shatter in the cold. We nursed the pulks through to Rivendell Farm (CP1 – 24-25 Miles) by 1600hrs.
It had been a relatively easy and fast leg as 95% of it was on the frozen river with only a very gradual climb and no real ups and downs. The hard part was finding any points to pass people as we caught them up again as the trail is very narrow with deep, soft snow and overflow (areas of water lying on the surface of frozen lakes/streams etc but insulated and hidden by the snow lying above it) lurking either side of the main trail. We are back out of CP1 at 1635hrs complete with properly fixed pulks, two bowls of soup in our stomachs and 5 litres each of fresh, warm water in our various containers. This refill and repair session took about twenty minutes longer than we would have liked but we reminded ourselves there were still about 80 miles to go; therefore, getting our knickers in a twist about 20 minutes was a bit irrelevant.
continue reading the full report over at Breakingstrain
and here for a review on the Hunka XL