Tips for Excelling in the Yukon 1000
In 2009, the inaugural running of the Yukon 1000, Ardie Olson and I trained for eight months and won the canoe division in a time of 6 days, 8 hours and 54 minutes. Both Ardie and I had a history of doing multi-day, paddling events, but at the time it was our longest event by far. Since then, I have done two other epic paddling events that compare to the Yukon 1000, the 1,200-mile Ultimate Florida Challenge and the 750-mile Race to Alaska. I will share a few tips that I have learned over the years.
Being Comfortable in your Canoe / Kayak
Assuming that the same rules are in place as in 2009, you will be spending up to 18 hours a day seated in your canoe or kayak. A seat that is comfortable after one or two hours may not be after ten or twelve hours. Bring an assortment of pads and be prepared to make modifications to your seat.
Ardie and I ran our race like it was a military operation. We limited our “down time” to 6 hours, 2 minutes each day. We allowed 2 minutes at the top and bottom of each hour to take care of eating, pill popping (electrolytes, aspirin) and bodily functions. When we were confident that we had a comfortable lead, Ardie and I took 10 minute shore breaks in the second half of the race. The Yukon River has a nice current – let it work for you as much as possible.
Race Day to Day
In the midst of a weeklong or longer race, it can be depressing thinking about how much longer you will be suffering on the water. Focus on your objectives for each day and try to exceed them.
Take Care of Yourself
Blisters, sunburn, rashes, cramps are all preventable. Take care of minor problems before they become major ones. Make sure you are hydrating and eating something every hour. Because you will lose weight during this race, try to gain 5 to 10 pounds before the race.
Communicate with Your Partner
Because you are very dependent on your partner, it is a good idea to keep the communication flowing. It is also nice to share your food. After a few days – you may be getting tired of what you brought for the race.
Enjoy the Yukon
Find a recess in your brain to place your discomfort and enjoy the scenery around you. The Yukon is one magical place. Just by overcoming all of the logistical problems of making it to the starting line – you are already a winner. Read some of the history of the settlers who first arrived in the region and imagine what they went through in their efforts to survive as you paddle down the Yukon River. Always scan the riverbanks – you will most likely see a few bears. Hopefully all of your wildlife encounters will be from a safe distance. Good luck and I hope to see you at some of the other ultra-distance, paddling events.
‘Racing to Yukon’ – signed copies available at http://www.roadpriceadventures.com