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Thread: Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race

    I just found out about an event some of you might be interested in. It's a race down the Yukon River for 1,000 miles from Whitehorse to the Dalton Highway. Their site says it should take from "7 to 12 18-hour days of solid paddling". Okay, tough guy- it starts on Monday, July 16th. HERE'S THE LINK.

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    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    We competed in this race in 2009. Its an experience! We signed up for this year, but had to withdraw since I tore my ACL a few months ago. I am bummed about it.
    If anyone is interested, let me know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cristancanoe View Post
    We competed in this race in 2009. Its an experience! We signed up for this year, but had to withdraw since I tore my ACL a few months ago. I am bummed about it.
    If anyone is interested, let me know.
    Hey Cristan, I saw you had entered earlier, sorry about the injury. I was bow paddler in the voyager in 2009 and again in 2011. What a fantastic trip (although it went by too fast) from Whitehorse to the Dalton Highway. My crew decided to take a break in 2012, and unfortunately Peter decided to only run the Y1K in alternate years. So our next chance won't be until 2014, but we expect to be there - maybe I'll see you then.

    After one of our clean fresh water stream stops, one crew member noticed a flake of gold drifting around in her water bottle. I've marked that stream and will be back! Then, down in the flats near a fish wheel, a First Nation's fisherman motored over to us and offered for free two huge king salmon. It really hurt to turn him down, as we had no way to prepare nor the time to enjoy them during the race.

    i would much like to return for a more leisurely trip so that I could take side trips along the way, but I suspect I have another Y1K in me first. The vastness of the country, the power of the river, and the variety of the terrain and weather are too much to take in even over several trips.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    The gent who had placed second place (Matt) in the 2009 race, is finishing a race canoe as we speak. He and I are talking about becoming race partners for next year's race. We've been brainstorming all fall and winter about canoe design, technique, and most importantly........judging the right channels of the river. The boat is just about finished, and will meet all dimensional requirements. We have hopes of destroying the competition if the canoe works well during some testing this summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    We've been brainstorming all fall and winter about canoe design, technique, and most importantly........judging the right channels of the river.
    Yup, it is all important including much brainstorming... and to get plenty of on water seat time before you go. There are many route choices to be made. I had a primary "main route" plan, as well as several preplanned alternates through anticipated short cut channels, to be decided on the spot depending on water level. Sometimes it was a split-second decision depending on many other factors. The water was relatively low in 2009 and we took several chances, some good and others not so good, but overall they saved time. In 2011 the water was higher and the choices were easier, and much valuable prior experience was on our side.

    Note that the Y1K is not scheduled to be run in 2013. After 2012 it is only to be in even years. That other race, known by Y1K'ers as a short "sprint" from Whitehorse to Dawson, has much more participation and is still run every year.

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    If I was going to make this trip, I sure as hell wouldn't want to race to the finish! I would like to take it easy stop and look around, try fishing. Why do we make a competition out of everything??????
    Tim

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    The last two trips on the Yukon, I've spent months combined chillin, eating beaver, grayling, whitefish, kings, burbot, and pike in the region.

    What's the matter with having the aspirations to test yourself, your equipment, and your will power against others?

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    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    The gent who had placed second place (Matt) in the 2009 race, is finishing a race canoe as we speak. He and I are talking about becoming race partners for next year's race. We've been brainstorming all fall and winter about canoe design, technique, and most importantly........judging the right channels of the river. The boat is just about finished, and will meet all dimensional requirements. We have hopes of destroying the competition if the canoe works well during some testing this summer.
    I can certainly show you some of the routes not to take!

  9. #9
    Member cristancanoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yknpdlr View Post
    Hey Cristan, I saw you had entered earlier, sorry about the injury. I was bow paddler in the voyager in 2009 and again in 2011. What a fantastic trip (although it went by too fast) from Whitehorse to the Dalton Highway. My crew decided to take a break in 2012, and unfortunately Peter decided to only run the Y1K in alternate years. So our next chance won't be until 2014, but we expect to be there - maybe I'll see you then.

    After one of our clean fresh water stream stops, one crew member noticed a flake of gold drifting around in her water bottle. I've marked that stream and will be back! Then, down in the flats near a fish wheel, a First Nation's fisherman motored over to us and offered for free two huge king salmon. It really hurt to turn him down, as we had no way to prepare nor the time to enjoy them during the race.

    i would much like to return for a more leisurely trip so that I could take side trips along the way, but I suspect I have another Y1K in me first. The vastness of the country, the power of the river, and the variety of the terrain and weather are too much to take in even over several trips.
    I remember you! We will most likely do another race in the future. I had my knee reconstruction this morning and will be sidelined for 6 months. A fun day of skiing in January and now I must pay...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mit View Post
    If I was going to make this trip, I sure as hell wouldn't want to race to the finish! I would like to take it easy stop and look around, try fishing. Why do we make a competition out of everything??????
    I think you might have a misconception of what is involved in planning and executing a marathon canoe race. It is not as simple as traveling to the start, hopping into the canoe, paddle paddle paddle, finish and go home. And such a trip is not necessarily centered around the aspect of the "competition". Not at all. The competition is mostly an excuse to go.

    I live in the Adirondack region of NY, and have been paddling various lakes and rivers with traditional carries between them for a very long time. It doesn't compare to Alaska in scope, but still there are wild and remote places in their own right. I was not a racer for most of my life until some friends invited me to join them on the annual 90 Mile race through the Adirondacks. I was fairly familiar with the route, but not nearly as familiar as I would become. Yes, we do paddle fast and do not stop to explore side passages, not during the race anyway. But since then I have taken many other trips through the same waters at my leisure, including much time spent training of others, Boy Scouts and working outdoor guides included.

    Now, 15 years after my first, I have not missed a 90-Miler race event since, and have enjoyed dozens of other shorter races held in areas I never would have thought of going. Many of them I return to as a recreational paddler to further explore. That brings me to the 460 Mile Yukon River Quest (YRQ), from Whitehorse to Dawson. After another local race, a veteran of the YRQ asked me to join him for the 10th running of the YRQ in 2008. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think of paddling the Yukon. Needless to say it didn't take long for me to agree, along with my wife as pit crew. That race is fast, practically no sleep, and it is over quickly, in about 42 hours for us.

    But the planning and training.... I poured over maps for months, read everything I could about the river, and we trained for just as many months on open water several times a week. During the winter I paddled a machine in front of a Google-Earth video, "flying" my planned waypoint route dozens of times. I was in awe of the whole experience, especially upon actually being in the Yukon. We arrived several days early, did some river training and some hiking, and did some touring and hiking for a few days afterward. Without this race I never would have had that experience.

    At YRQ 2008, the first running of the Yukon 1000 (Y1K) was announced for 2009. No question that we would be in that. Much more intense planning and training to follow over the entire next year. I had planned a route of more than 700 main channel turn points mapped, plus several alternate tracks through the Flats and elsewhere to study and learn. Once actually on the river I felt I personally knew every one of those turns as they approached, and what to expect beyond. The Y1K is a much different experience, requiring more and different skills than needed for the YRQ (the "sprint" as we say). New experiences to be made, built on the previous YRQ experience, but in far more scope and variety, not just distance.

    I practically looked at all the planning and training as cause for me to live. We took a break in 2010, even while other friends raced the Y1K as we watched via SPOT trackers. We "trained" them on what we knew, and we trained on local waters with them. Then my crew returned in 2011, and are planning to go back in 2014 (the next time it will be held) with refined detailed plans based on what we had experienced before.

    I can't (for now) take a whole month or so off from work that it would take to do a leisurely trip down the Yukon. All told, the 6 days of paddling time spent actually on the Y1K expends more than 2 weeks of total trip time away from home as it is.

    So I repeat, were it not for racing and race friends, I would never have experienced the Yukon at all. So far I've been there 3 times, with more to come. When able, after a retirement day that is not so far away, I have a goal of a much slower float trip down that and other rivers in that marvelous country.

    That's what "sure as hell racing to the finish" has done for me.

  11. #11
    Member mit's Avatar
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    I will never understand......sigh........
    Tim

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