Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rock and Ice Update #7: Gear Requirements

Training is essentially done and it’s now time to start tapering for the 2009 BHP Billiton Rock and Ice Ultra. We leave for Yellowknife in less than a week. Even though I’m putting less hours into training, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get prepared for the race.

I sometimes feel that the training for a race like this is the easy part and the logistics and getting all of the necessary gear organized is the biggest challenge. With the lack of winter these days in Eastern Ontario, the days of being able to fine tune my pulk (sled) design have been limited. Luckily, there was still some snow at Frontenac Provincial Park on Tuesday and I was able to take my pulk on one final run and I’m pleased with the end result. Now I just have to figure out how to fit everything I need for the entire six days of racing into it!

The list of gear requirements for Rock and Ice is extensive, but due to the harsh environment that we will be racing in, it is vital.

Mandatory gear items and equipment include:
- Emergency shelter (bivy sac or four-season tent)
- Sleeping bag with a temperature rating of at least -30C (it was -40 in 2007)
- Thermal groundsheet (Therma-rest or closed cell foam - we will sleep directly on the snow)
- EXTRA toque or balaclava (heavy weight)
- EXTRA mitts or gloves (heavy weight)
- EXTRA insulating socks (heavy weight)
- Complete set of wind breakers (Gore Tex is NOT recommended in this climate)
- Appropriate underwear, outer wear and footwear for temperatures 0C to -40
- Head lamp with extra batteries (battery life is reduced in cold weather)
- Sunglasses (extra dark lenses are recommended-snow blindness hit R&I in 2008)
- 1 litre thermos
- Water bottle
- Toiletries
- Route map
- GPS and extra batteries (2 sets)
- Food for 6 days (energy bars, energy gels, dehydrated foods, etc)
- Cook stove and fuel
- Pots and pans
- Cutlery and utensils
- Weather-proof matches
- Foot racers must pack snowshoes even if not planning to wear them

Mandatory survival kit must include:
- Whistle
- Emergency Space Blanket
- Candle or ‘canned heat’ (emergency heat source)
- Fire starter
- Glow Stick

This is all in addition to the gear we will be wearing, plus any other items we may want to bring.

It’s a fine line between having too much gear and dragging the extra weight unnecessarily across the frozen tundra or going ultra light, but risking not having enough. With the weather in Yellowknife currently in the -30C range, I know what way I will be leaning.

1 comment:

  1. D

    That is craziness!!!!! I have booked mark sleep monsters for the updates.