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Updated: Aug 1, 2022

So this wasn’t the post race blog post I was planning on writing…

As far as I know, I had managed to avoid contracting Covid (surprising to be honest, its been round my household a couple of times!), and in the run up to travelling out to Yukon I did my best to avoid situations where the risk of catching it would be higher.

Skip (right) and me about to board our first flight from the UK

When we arrived in Whitehorse I started complaining to my team mate Skip about how I felt tired, as if I had been lifting weights for the last 10 hours. Everything was aching. We put it down to a day of flying, layovers and lugging 6 huge bags of kit through airports.

Our luggage, on layover in Vancouver before continuing to Whitehorse

The next day we headed out to buy items we couldn’t get, or travel with from the UK (bear spray, bear canisters, cooking gas etc). I was still feeling really run down, but at the same time apprehensive, excited, nervous - it was a proper rollercoaster of emotions!

That night the fever and migraine came - I probably slept 1-2 hours max. The following morning, and in all honesty, I was thinking I had picked up a bug that I could ride out - but at this point we were just a day away from briefing and kit check - and if you didn't make the briefing, you wouldn’t be allowed to race. I dossed myself up on as many meds as I felt comfortable taking, and decided to be on the safe side, do a covid test. And, boom. Double line.

These lines got darker and darker over the next couple of days

I spent that day in my hotel room, in tears, feeling so rough, exhausted, fatigued, feverish. Questioning if I could perhaps ride it out, hold it together for the briefing.

Looking rough, eating our freeze dried food to get some calories in

But as much as it hurt to pull from the race, it was truly the only option. It’s one thing dealing with covid when you are locked up in a nice hotel room, its another if you are paddling 18 hours a day, and sleeping 3-4 hours in a tent on a mosquito infested boggy bank. And I had a duty of care to others; my paddle partner, and the communities and people we may come across on the river. There are no easy ways to get off the river and to safety once you start. I would be putting others at risk by carrying on.

So, as it had in 2020 and 2021 - covid fu&ked our mission to race the Yukon 1000 again - but this time it felt so much more painful - could hear the river from my hotel room.

The Yukon river, 5 min walk from the hotel I was locked down in…

They say things happen for a reason; I have yet to discover what that reason may be, but we will be back on the start line next year. In another post I will talk about the adventure we had in Alaska once I was better.

We go again, North of Ordinary.

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