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The Yukon Arctic Ultra: Ultra Marathon Adventure Racing Across Canada's Frozen North Paperback – 30 Jun 2010
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From the Publisher
In keeping with the style and format of the other books in the 'in extremis' series, The Yukon Arctic Ultra includes an in-depth scientific review, this time on exercise in the extreme cold, and a comprehensive appendices which includes recommendations on clothing, food and equipment. The book details an extraordinary volume of training in the build-up to the event, and is permeated by tales of what many consider to be the 'Spirit of the Yukon'. The pace and distance of this event lends itself to far greater insights into the nature of ultra-endurance adventure racing, including the psychology and philosophy, which helps each racer to either succeed or fail in this harshest of environments.
From the Author
I think that it is difficult for many people to understand how it was that I loved the Yukon Arctic Ultra as I did. Often a whole day could pass without seeing another racer, and nights would be spent in a biviouac with outside temperatures below -30C. But the scenery was staggeringly beautiful, and the serene silence was the perfect place to be able to think - outside and apart from the stresses of everyday life. Everything was in the mind, and having the right focus meant that even when things might have been perceived as difficult, I could either laugh about my own limitations or else get stuck into the challenge. Whether under brilliant blue skies during a perfect day, or on a mountain in the middle of the night, at -50C and in a snow blizzard, somehow everything just worked as it should. It would be unfair to say that physical fitness was not a huge part of the event, and I was the fittest I had ever been, but many people who dropped out did so because they put themselves at odds with the environment - their physical fitness was not tested because mentally they lacked the right psychological approach to succeed. In the book I address both the positives and the negatives, sometimes focussing on where others failed, so as to give a counter-point to my own experiences. It comes across as real criticism in some places, but in truth I was just so opposed to allowing myself to entertain the ideas some others did. I did not know them well enough to remark personally, but if someone welcomed an easy exit from the event, then I had to abhor the notion and the thought - not the individual who proposed such things - but I had to know at the deepest level that I could never think such a way myself. Those who made it to the end, and many of those who did not, adored the wilderness out there. They loved just being in the environment, and when such things were put into perspective, then all that was left was to keep putting one foot in front of the other. With that being the case, we all just moved towards our finish lines, and many who were forced out through injury later signed up to have another go. The Yukon Arctic Ultra is an incredible adventure, and one of the best endurance events in the world.
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The authors reputation goes before him across a number of ultra races all over the world, and his knowledge on the Yukon race is borne out by the fact he has completed the gruelling 430 miles from Whitehorse to Dawson on two separate occasions under different circumstances each time. This book covers the first of his races in 2009 and details his preparations and training, the race lead up, how to recover from starting the race facing the wrong way, and dealing with the emotional, psychological and physical ups and downs. For die-hards there is also a chapter on the science behind the physiological aspects of physical exercise, nutrition and hydration at very low temperatures.
I would recommend the book to anyone... and have done on a number of occasions!