Breaking the Cycle Yukon

Mar 13

Ready to head north

Published at 06:24
Dispatch created from email
Bob and I are setting off tomorrow morning, driving to Dawson City which
is about 500km north of here on the Yukon River. I thought I'd write a
quick blog while it is still easy to communicate.

From Dawson I will start my acclimatisation ride along the Dempster
Highway. We are now going to begin the main journey from Fort MacPherson
rather than Eagle Plains, 190km further north (590km from Dawson). There
is a trail being made at the moment for a dog sledding race from Old
Crow to Fort MacPherson and we hope to meet the teams on our route.

I've been doing some short rides around Whitehorse just to get used to
the new bike and check that everything is working and ready for the main
adventure. There are certainly no bike shops out there! It was fortunate
that I did that because I've found a few small issues. The rear tyre was
rubbing against the chainstay - the 13cm wide tyre was always going to
be a tight fit - and we had to trim the outside nobbles. The head tube
unit also came loose, so now it has been tightened, Loctite was used as
extra insurance.

Temperatures have remained around -15C, but dropping to -30C-ish at
night. This morning I went with local adventurer and professional
photographer, Derek Crowe, for a short ride along Wolf Creek Trail,
overlooking the Yukon River (rather different to the Wolf Creek I cycled
through a few years ago in the Kimberley region of Western Australia!).
When researching this expedition I'd connected with Derek and had a
long, very insightful conversation that helped me make my decisions, so
it was great to meet him in person. Derek has many great achievements
under his belt. In 2009 he was part of a team that made the world's
longest Arctic unsupported snow-kiting expedition, a south to north
traverse of Greenland, finishing at Thule on the north east coast.

At one point on our ride Derek pointed out the old telegraph wire draped
along the banks of the Yukon, the only communications link between the
communities that concentrated along the river. During the colonial and
goldrush eras, the region was much more populated that it is now. It
would have been the same telegraph wire that Roald Amundsen would have
used to send his message out to tell the world that he had successfully
navigated the Northwest Passage.

Derek is also a former pro-elite cyclist. He took my bike for a spin and
was very impressed. The bike however, was exposed to colder temperatures
this morning, which was fortunate because I discovered another issue -
the steering was almost rigid because the bearings have not been
winterized (with the same special grease as the hubs and bottom
bracket). It made the windy single track Derek and I followed through
the forest very tricky for me. Before Bob and I head off tomorrow, I'll
head down to the Icycle bike store and see if they can fix the problem.

Yesterday I was very fortunate to have a coffee with Devon McDiarmid, an
explorer who traversed Greenland with Derek (and Adrian Hayes) and now
works as a guide for ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions), the
company that will be arranging all the logistics for my Antarctic
expedition. There's a chance that, as long as I can find enough funding
for BTC South Pole this year, that the next time I will see Devon will
be at the South Pole, or at least at ALE's Union Glacier camp! I learned
a lot about what to expect in Antarctica; route, snow conditions,
clothing tips, etc.

It's been great to be able to meet people and get organised in
Whitehorse for the big adventure. Now I 'm am really looking forward to
getting stuck in.
  • Name: Whitehorse
  • Elevation: 703 m
  • Latitude: 60° 4316North
  • Longitude: 135° 324West


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