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March 04, 2013

The Yukon Arctic Ultra is over so it's back to work!

YAUpost(Sun rising over a typical trail with deeper snow either side to fall into!)

The race is over, I'm back in one piece and now it's back to the real world. But before I start here's one last post!

My friends all ask 1. How was it and 2. Would I do it again?

1. It was relentless. Pretty much every day I spent between 14 and 18 hours getting to a checkpoint (CP) or at least somewhere to sleep when CP's were 2 or more days apart.

2. Technically, yes because I actually enjoyed it but in reality no because there are other events (longer!) that I would like to do.

The race ended up (according to the GPS devices) as 450 rather than 430 miles but that's to be expected as a new trail has to be broken every year and is dependent on many natural factors as to where the trail goes. The CP's don't move but the route clearly does; hence when we asked how far to the CP the answer was always "approximately...."

The temperatures varied from around 0 to -35 which some people will consider made it easier whilst others would suggest it made it harder due to having to constantly change strategy based on the temperatures. Clothes for example got wetter (sweat) than in previous years and had to be dried out which is not always that easy. Either way, below -30 is a scary experience and you have to be really focused on what you are doing.

YAU2013 011(Around 09:00 looking back over one of the many, many lakes we had to cross)

The race is a solitary affair as even when at CP's others are sleeping so it is get in, eat, sleep, wake, eat, get back out again. Often we leave in the dark (06:00) and arrive in the dark (21:00). Being on the trail during the day is a pleasure(ish) but at night it is monotonous at best but also made worse due to hunger and being tired.

But we paid to do this event and out of 29 who entered the 430 only 12 finished (yes, I was one of them). It was an amazing experience and by far the hardest event I have ever completed yet this one has me wanting more. After other events it has taken me weeks and sometimes months to seriously consider my next event but after the YAU, I am already looking for something longer. I didn't understand the thinking of others who also thought like this after the YAU but now I think I do. 

The event is becoming more and more popular as people such as James Cracknell and Lewis Moody enter so my book should be well timed if nothing else. I will have a blog as well which will include information that I won't include in the book. Although not live yet the URL is www.yukondoit.co.uk if you are interested in knowing a bit more about what goes on in our heads when we're on the trail. 

But right now, back to real work!

 

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