Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tom back to the Yukon for the 5th time - Yukon River quest 2013

Training was going really well. After the Murray on Christmas, they ordered their custom-made double kayak from Ron Elliott who worked hard to make fast as well as Yukon compliant. Urs had flown down to Sydney twice for him and Bruce to train together. Then both trained really hard individually with lots of cross training. After the great workout that is the Nationals, Urs went for a 4 hr kayak paddle yesterday and was feeling great. Bruce, of course, was no slouch either in his fitness training, taking part in the North Face 100 race in the Blue Mountains last weekend. Well, running on tracks in the Blue Mountains has its challenges, Bruce slipped and fell - disaster struck - and now he has 2 broken ribs and it's good bye Yukon River Quest! I went to outrigging last night and when I came home, Urs was totally deflated in bed with a bottle of red albeit still quite full so I helped share it. Brucie feels terrible, in more ways then one, but there is nothing that can be done. In kayaking, it's 'rotation, rotation, rotation' and I can't calculate how many rotations that would be for 720km! In the meantime, that beautful kayak is on the high seas to Vancouver! As it's 7 1/2metres long, it had to go in a 48' container - apparently, it's sitting on top of palletts of Australian wine being exported to Canada. Hope its having a good trip.  
.........Arnie Mader
Great news - the YRQ is back on track. After the heartache of the last few days, it's back to aching muscles as training is back on. Tom Simmat is available and fit (very fit actually), and he is in! Brucie, despite his own disappointment and pain, has been very generous in helping to make it possible for the race to continue. Tom and Urs have never paddled in a double together and - come to think of it - I have never seen Tom paddle a double kayak before in all the years I have known him but I guess they have 720km to sort it out! 
.........Arnie Mader

Who to Watch on the River -15th annual YRQ dates: June 26-30, 2013 

The 2013 YRQ will have stiff competition in many categories. This is a year where any number of different craft could emerge as the overall winner, but here’s a breakdown by class:
  • Solo canoe (C1): 3 teams – Fan favorite Hiromune Imai returns for the fourth straight year in a different craft. So far he has finished in solo and tandem kayak and voyageur, and the Ecochallenge Japan veteran now will go solo canoe along with seasoned Yukon adventure paddlers Gienieczko Marcin of Poland and Jeff Brainard of Toronto.
  • Solo kayak (K1): 12 men, 1 woman – The favorite has to be past solo and tandem champion Stephen Mooney of Whitehorse, who wants to give it another shot for his 50th birthday after a few years off. He could see a challenge from Australian racer Anthony Cape and race veterans Heinz Rodinger of Austria and Joe Evans of Oregon, who will trade his canoe for a kayak this time around. Unfortunately only one woman signed up this year, “Super Maryo” Mary Obstfeld of Alberta.
  • Tandem canoe (C2): 14 men’s teams, 3 women’s, 13 mixed – The largest class in the race harks back to the race’s origins when just tandem canoes were allowed, and this year’s field should be highly competitive. The Faro, YT/Nova Scotia combination of Tim Lynch and Dave Lewis gave a run at the record last year and missed it by eight minutes. They are sure to be chased by past C1 standouts Gaetan Plourde and Ian Mockett of Ontario, and last year’s mixed champ Terry Wescott with fellow racer Chip Loring of Maine. In women’s canoe, the Alberta team of Joanne Arthurs and Andrea deJong have the only YRQ experience, and will see challenges from “Bear(ly) Scared” of Great Britain and “Team Sisu” from Teslin, Yukon . In mixed canoe, several veteran teams should be in the hunt. Back for year 15 is Larry Seethaler with partner Brenda Forsythe of Anchorage, Alaska. Jim and Pam Boyde of Whitehorse, and Pauline Frost-Hanberg of the Yukon and Dennis Fosseneuve of Ontario have placed in prior races as well.
  • Tandem kayak (K2): 8 men’s teams, 1 mixed – The K2 class features the Australian dream team of Tom Simmat and Urs Mader, who have each placed as high as second in the K1 class in the past. They should be a formidable team and could challenge for top spot. Also watch out for a pair of teams from Great Britain who are paddling for the Afghanistan Trust that helps British paratroopers recovering from injuries. The lone mixed team is “Pass the Wine Gums” from Whitehorse, and there are no women’s K2 teams this year.
  • Voyageur canoe (VC): 4 in the open class; 5 women’s, and 3 mixed teams. The fundraising goes large in the big boats with three teams from Great Britain raising money for “Help for Heroes,” a charity that aids veterans of current UK conflicts in the world. Close to a quarter million dollars was raised last year! They will be challenged by Team Sunrise from Japan. The women’s class will feature some strong Yukon teams – perennial favorites “Paddlers Abreast” and “Team Whoa” along with “300 Years of Wisdom,” “Currently Available” and the “Modern Dwellers” from Alaska. In the mixed division, it appears New York paddler Kerry Newell has assembled a crew of racers called “Passing Through” which may charge to the front of the pack. They could be challenged by “Outward Bound Canada” which had a good race last year in the women’s division. And they both better watch out for “Your Worst Nightmare Dream Team” of USA paddlers from Washington, Texas and Hawaii.
 Arni and Urs Mader - ON THE WAY TO MAINE
"Halleluja - the kayak arrived in one piece and on time. We are on the way from Vancouver to the Alaska Ferry Terminal at Bellingham."
Urs and Arni unpacking the kayak before loading it onto the Alaskan Ferry to travel to Skagway where Tom will collect them to take them to Whitehorse for the start of the race.
.........Arnie Mader

Tom arrived at the airport yesterday 20th to fly out of Sydney to Whitehorse. Flight cancelled. No prior message. At the desk United Airlines staff said mechancial failure in Sydney. The security staff told me the plane didnt leave America.

Next flight they could give Tom was 22nd. No good. Managed to get a flight today 21st after 4 1/2 hours of standing at the United desk and a $56  parking fee. Back home. Did I mention we had our 3 year old grandson with us. He was so good waiting for 4 1/2 hours. 
Travel insurance will cover the difference if you can buy another flight to meet a deadline, like wedding, funeral or kayak race. You have to buy the ticket after negotiations fail with airline and then you will hopefully get a refund.
  Christine Simmat

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