Friday, July 9, 2010

One more sleep before we fly out.

No paddle this morning. Slept in. But I will have a paddle this afternoon and tomorrow morning. I have taken the seat and the foot bar out of the Tourer to take over and the rudder. Drying them out to pack. I will fit them on the kayak over there.

I will finish do my last to training sessions in my ski. (Fenn Mako 6).
Going through the first aid kit this morning and making a descission about what pain killers to take if anything. I don't like that sort of stuff, I think it will probably mess with my brain on these long paddles.
On the last Yukon River Quest (YRQ) the only real "pain" problem I had, apart from my lower back, was my feet. I normally paddle in bare feet  so I can feel the rudder pedals with my big toes and also to save some weight. A pair of booties weighs about half a kilo, more when they are full of water. Anyhow on the last YRQ I wore neoprene booties. The water temperature of the Yukon is about 2 degrees centigrade, and with only a few mls of carbon fibre between my feet and that water, my feet got so cold  they went numb and I couldn't feel them. That was OK while I was paddling, but when I finished, I noticed that I must have got a little gravel inside the booties when I put them on. The result was with all the foot and leg drive, my feet were ripped to ribbons. When my feet did thawed out, after the race, I had a lot of difficulty walking, and my big toenails dropped off. I would have been a bit lighter without my big toe nails, but of course I had finished before I could take advantage of that.

I tend to get a bit paranoid about boat weight and personal paddling weight. I always have a hair cut and cut my toenails before a big marathon, and of course make sure my bladder and bowels are empty. (Too much information). I often wonder what extremes you could go to to reduce your personnel weight. You could paddle just as fast with out for instants your toes. (about half a kilo)

The YRQ finishes at Dawson City, that is not half way in the the Yukon 1000. Anyway at one of the pubs in Dawson there is this drink called a Sour Toe. What happens is, in the winter time the odd pub patron, having drunk his fill,  fall asleep in the snow, in the street outside. When they are found the next morning, inevitably their toes are badly frost bitten and have to be amputated. Often they donate these toes back to the pub.
So a bit like the worms in Tequila, there is a row of bottles above the bar, with a spirit not unlike Snaps in them and with human toes gently resting at the bottom. So any real Tequila drinker will tell you that a good shot of Tequila has the worm in the bottom of the shot glass. So it is with The Sour Toe. To drink it properly the toe must be in the bottom of the shot glass.

If we can keep to our race schedule, we will be overnighting in Dawson. Steve reckons he is going to have a hot shower and a bed in the six hours. There are strict race rules about drugs and  alcohol in this race. I wonder if the Race Controller would put on too harsh a penalty, if I slipped into the pub and imbibed in a bit of the local culture.

Maybe I could donate a couple of toes.


  1. Good luck Dad, but please look after your toes. Isaac wouldn't want a granddad with less toes. Even if it comes with a good story.

  2. Julia Guinan, Chris HornsbyJuly 12, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    Watch out for dropping toes. It is "Be Kind to Big Toe" week. After all saving weight isn't everything and you have had to carry 10 toes all your life so why break the habit of a lifetime, it has served you well. Thinking of you and your toes. Julia and Chris.