I started this blog site just over two years ago when I was about to set out for The Yukon for the first time (well I was actually starting in Fairbanks in 2016 but let’s not split hairs). In a few days I will be travelling out for my third Yukon Quest and this will be the third year I keep this blog.
The first year was a story of “wow, look at all this”. Once I had got past the shock of sleep deprivation, which distorts your perception and your view of reality it was a fascinating trip and really easy to write about. I learned a lot of lessons, met some wonderful people and gained some glorious experience. It was pretty easy to write regular, if slightly late, blogs that I found interesting even if no one else did. What’s more my work situation and post race euphoria meant that it was the gift that kept on giving as I kept finding new ideas to post about and videos to create well into the spring and summer.
I’m not sure whether I expected 2016 to be a one off experience but it is certainly true to say that once you have spent three weeks immersed in this race you are hooked forever. Well before the summer was over and the inspiration for blogging had dried up I had mentally committed to coming back.
So just about a year ago I found myself packing up and flying this time to Whitehorse to start my second Yukon Quest. Generally, for me at least, the 2017 journey was to be a little easier, partially due to knowing what to expect, partially due to Rob having such a great run. Although sleep deprivation did pull at me in the first 24 hours of the race I managed to get it and myself under some control in check point number two and that generally made the rest of the race a bit more pleasant.
The blog though was far more challenging to maintain. I lacked some of the inspiration that came from the newness in 2016. I tried to make the blog an observation of what it was like to do the race in the other direction and to try and comment on what was different for me. Yet I struggled to find new things that I wanted to say and I didn’t think that I had much that others would want to read.
As we got into the latter part of the race, after getting caught in Central by the storm, I pretty much dried up completely and the 2017 blog pretty much ended on the long road from Central to Mile 101. It was a real shame because those last few checkpoints and the finish were a wonderfully enjoyable, almost relaxing time. Although there remain a couple of half finished drafts from the last few days of the 2017 race and I started and abandoned slightly off topic posts in the summer this blog has languished fairly dormant since February 2017.
I’ve now done the race in both directions. So you’ve done it. Why come back? However as I said above this whole journey thing is pretty addictive. Having been once it is pretty hard to say you’re not coming back. What’s more when it’s your brother taking on this incredible challenge and you actually do get a lot out of it then there are a million reasons to come back.
I have to say up front though, although I’m generally a person who doesn’t say “never again”, it is highly unlikely that I will be here in 2019. I almost have to say that up front because I know that once I am over “sleep deprivation day” I will be sucked in by the excitement and the atmosphere and I’ll be telling everyone I’ll be back next year. Circumstances though mean that I need to resist that. Unless something unexpected happens 2019 will be a year off.
So what of this blog? Do I accept that I no longer have anything to say? You don’t believe that do you? This year I will try and invigorate it by bringing in more personal observation and less whining about how difficult it is. Perhaps less soul baring and more observational travelogue. Something insightful rather than something from every checkpoint. Well that’s the plan anyway.
So that’s it. By this time next week I’ll have arrived in Whitehorse and the whole thing will start again. This year we have the added spice that Rob will go on from Whitehorse to Anchorage (and most likely Fairbanks again) to start his third Iditarod.
I was hoping to be there for the Iditarod and cover both races but it seems now that that will not be happening. The reasons are linked to why I am unlikely to be in Whitehorse for the start in Whitehorse in February 2019. Perhaps the next blog might be about the reasons for that. Oh hang on a minute, no soul baring.
Oh well, I’m sure I’ll mention it sometime