Thursday, February 15, 2007

Drink water, don't ration it!

If everybody learns something from this event we hope it is the importance of water in the winter. The dry air pulls it out of you much faster than in other seasons.
Lack of it contributes to poor judgement, bonking, impaired memory & eyesight, and hypothermia among many other problems.

The main reason people got in trouble this year was dehydration and being in too much of a hurry to take care of themselves. There are 60 hours alloted to finish, so there is plenty of time to stop and melt snow, eat, sleep and take care of yourself during the event. If you take care of yourself, you don't need the snowmobile crew and you are not at he risk of "dying" as some melodramatic people like to say.

Did anybody use their stove to melt snow during the event? The reason it is required gear is to use it!!!!!

Also skipping the Gateway Store, meant you had to carry or melt extra water, since the store is an easy source of water, soup, food, handwarmers, etc. Next year, you WILL be required to stop at the store.

Did anybody read the handbook on winter camping, hypothermia and frostbite? you WILL before you are allowed in the race, including volunteers.

Also Pierre says he made some stupid beginner mistakes that caused him to get frostbite this year. He wore 3 pairs of socks so his shoes were too tight so his foot warmers did not kick in. When he realized they had not kicked in, he was too lazy to dig in his backpack under his camelback to dig more of them out. Ice built up under his neoprene booties, between them and his shoes which probably cooled his toes further. Sarah's wool socks over her shoes were more breathable, so worked better. She says that is a skier's technique.

Finally, we want to remind you that the snowmobiles are not shuttle buses to checkpoints when you feel a little tired or scared. They are there for emergencies only. Many people jumped on the dropout bandwagon when they saw some key people dropping and got scared. Remember that when the snowmobile is helping you, that is one less machine on the trail watching out for some guy wandering on the edge of hypothermia and who may not even realize it.

Your safety net is your gear (and your brain)! Make sure you know how to use it and actually USE IT!

Remember these tips and plan ahead and make it an even greater event next year.

Don't take these comments as blame; take them and use them as good advice in the future. We all must learn from mistakes. Although this is a self supported event, we have many changes in the works to try to keep the event safer in the future. As it grows there will be more people to help, but no matter how many, no one can be everywhere at all times. Everybody is ultimately responsible for their own safety.

From the Race Directors.


In response to Mike's comment. We will see what we can do to set up a discussion board. We did not think we had enough interest to do so in the past.

Please try out the new message board forums at the following link and let us know what you think:

If you want to email us your specific questions at, we can post it in the blog for everyone to see and comment, Pierre will answer them, or we can put you in contact with past participants who have been emailing each other for the past 6 months.

Also Note: Icebike has a listserver email discussion forum/archive for winter biking topics and so does that covers gear and race issues as well (search or quick jump to Endurance Racing).


Blogger Mike said...

I've followed the race closely for the last two years and am hoping to race myself in the coming years. My biggest fear is having the right gear, since too much weight can really drag one down, and too little gear can put you in danger.

Is there a possibility of opening a discussion board on this site so that people can share what worked and what didn't so that maybe new racers, or even returning racers have an idea of what to go with?

Some of us are new to winter racing, but REALLY want to give it a shot, unfortunately our inexperience either prevents us from trying, or puts us in danger when we do.

2:50 PM  

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