Ground crew member Ben Kennedy reflects on the first two days on Canadian soil
Following a successful trip from the UK to Canada and then a short hop up to the Yukon state we have finally made it to our race start point in Whitehorse.
The remote picturesque location of Whitehorse will be our home for the next 4 days until the race. After settling into the hotel and freshening up from 12 hours of flying the time came to see what we came here to take on… the Yukon River (pictured below). The enormity of the challenge is starting to sink in for the teams – reaching the finish point 444 miles away in Dawson, with the fast flow of the river and overall remoteness of the location likely proving to be big factors.
After spending time around the river eyeing up the opposition our minds quickly turned to food and drink. With a choice of bars and grills on offer we settled in very quickly to a grill and pizza restaurant with a great atmosphere and event better food – the teams need to take advantage of this while they can as there’ll be no steak or pizza on the boat!
The first full day started with a relaxed team breakfast at a local cafe and then straight into preparing the boats (in particular, padding the seats – it’s a long time to be sat on one’s backside!). After applying our sponsor logos (pictured below looking great) and ensuring the relevant equipment was present and correct the teams were ready for the first ‘on the water’ test.
After lunch it was time for the teams to get time on the water – a short 20km paddle down to an area called Takhini. This would be a leisurely couple of hours on the water to blow away any cobwebs and work on the skills required to take on the challenge ahead.