ESSENTIAL EVENT INFORMATION 2023
Due to the scale and nature of Rat Race Events, changes to the event course, structure and timings sometimes need to be made right up until the date of the event. To ensure you have the latest information and are fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead, please check back on this EEI before travelling to the event.
The EEI was last updated on: 26/07/2023
WELCOME TO ICELAND
Dear Intrepid Coast to Coaster…
We hope the excitement is building to what is going to be a sensational event in Iceland this August.
Please find our Essential Event Information Document, containing what we hope is a comprehensive outlook towards your journey later on this year. If you have not done already, do ensure you are fully conversant with the website and then pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or something a little stronger!) and read on….
FILES AND DOWNLOADS:
Make sure you’ve read this thoroughly well ahead of your departure date to ensure there are no last minute panics or surprises, if you have any questions after reading this please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org
SKIP TO SECTION
Average August 10 Celsius
MEETING IN REYKJAVIK: We will meet at Fosshotel Reykjavik (not to be confused with Fosshotel Baron, which is next door) on 5/8/23 or 13/8/23 at 1000, depending on which week you are taking part in!
Online form to be submitted by 30th June 2023.
Medical forms must be filled out by 30th June 2023.
Snacks: You will need 5 day’s worth of scooby snacks PLUS one day of contingency – 6 days total. See below in the relevant section for what we provide and how we suggest you augment this with some simple snacks of your own.
Trackers: Please remember that GPS tracker service at all times is not a-given; you should particularly note this if sharing live links with supporters.
Kit: You will need to pass final kit check before being able to complete our physical registration process at Blonduos. If your kit is not right the Event team will reserve the right to prevent you starting the Event. Don’t worry – there are several touchpoints before departure to ensure this does not occur. See the relevant section below on kit, webinar, online video kit check sessions and more. If in any doubt on kit, please do get in touch with us at email@example.com and we can help!
Insurance: You need insurance. If you are bringing your own bike, please ensure it is insured against loss, theft and/ or damage. You will need a medical repatriation and evacuation policy that has a minimum of $500 000 trip cover on it. You will submit this to us pre-event and we will ensure we have the correct number to call your insurer if we need to evacuate you or provide serious medical attention. We also highly recommend a policy that covers you for curtailment and non-attendance.
Bike Rental: This is now sold out.
Live events decision-making: When we are in Iceland, in all cases while on the trip, the Event Director’s decision is final. They are at all times acting in the combined interest of the safety of the individual and of the group, as their paramount concern.
Please use the following as a checklist on what you will require for this trip.
(at least 6 months remaining and enough pages for all the required stamps - minimum 2).
RETURN AIR TICKET
You should ensure you have purchased a return air ticket.
See insurance section or event FAQ.
TRIP MEETING POINT AND END POINT
The dates of the trip are fixed as 5 – 12 August 2023 and 13 – 20 August 2023. These are the dates on which our itinerary commences and finishes.
MEETING POINT: Our service will commence with a meeting at the Fosshotel Reykjavik, at 1000 on 5th August or 13th August respectively. We will take your baggage and your bike (still in bike box) and we will make our way to Blonduos on the north coast. If you wish to travel to Blonduos on your own (for example if you have your own transport and significant others who plan to wave you goodbye at the start and meet you at the finish!) that is OK. Please inform us of this so we know you will not be taking our bus transfer.
The trip up to Blonduos is around 4 hours duration and we will stop for a comfort/ rest stop at a service station, where you may purchase snacks and drinks if you wish.
To be 100% clear, it is your responsibility to get to the meeting point at the Fosshotel Hotel at 1000 on 5/8/22 or 13/8/22. After that, we are with you all the way back to Reykjavik and you do not need to worry about any logistics, transfers or otherwise.
END POINT: Upon return, we have 2 stated options. We can either take you direct to Keflavik airport after the event concludes on 12th or 20th August, or the default option is that we take you back to the Fosshotel Reykjavik, where we re-unite you with your bike box and you make your own way onwards from there. Please note that the airport transfer we offer is only on 12th or 20th August and if you wish to overnight in Reykjavik on 12th or 20th August, then any onwards transfers to Keflavik after this time are up to you to arrange. There are however several easy transfer options to get you to/ from the airport and the transfer services are all well run and efficient. The average price of a shared coach transfer, one-way to/ from the airport is around 22 euros per person. To add a bike cost around 18 – 20 Euros. This company has great reviews: www.grayline.is/airport-bus-transfer
Irrespective of when you fly, please ensure you have suitable insurance policies in place, or flexible airline tickets, to accommodate any changes to schedules that may be required on your part.
In our form that we ask you to fill out and share with us by 30th June 2023, we will ask you to tell us about your arriving and departing flights.
Please note that if you are considering a departing flights on 12th or 20th August, that we will not be able to connect you with flights depart BEFORE 1800 local time, on account of the final portion of the event taking place that morning, plus transfer time back to the Reykjavik area. If you do decide to take a flight on one of these dates, you should ensure you have some flexibility (or insurance) over your plans in case of delay returning to Reykjavik from the Skogar area on the south coast of Iceland. If in doubt, do feel free to contact us to discuss your flight arrangements.
We will carry out an info-packed Q and A-style webinar on 15th June at 1900 UK local time. This is a great opportunity to ask questions of the event team to aid your preparation. The session will be recorded and those who cannot make it can watch it in their spare time.
TRAINING AND PREPARATION
Iceland coast to coast is a substantial undertaking. It has everything that could be wanted from an endurance event: Crazy Icelandic weather, big distances, long days in the saddle, big elevation gains all in the most remote and beautiful country. The key points to note is getting time in the saddle for back-to-back days on the bike. If you can do two days of 8 hours back-to-back riding, throw in a hike or a run the day after, you will be at the right fitness level. Make sure you don’t shy away from the hills; we are headed to the Icelandic Highlands after all. The fitter you are for a challenge like this the more you can enjoy each and every moment.
Whether you have your own bike or are hiring a bike you need to be familiar with some basic mechanics. Being able to change your own inner tube and replace the tyre is a MUST. Our crew will be able to assist and help if and when needed, but it makes it much more efficient if you are able to whip the tyre off yourself. If you are bringing your own bike, please ensure you know how to put it back together again. It sounds obvious but this is not always the case, especially if you have had someone at home to help you put it in the bike box!
Peddles and a saddle are very individual choices, these two items can make your biking experience much more comfortable. Have a saddle that fits you well and that you don’t mind sitting on for very long days. Even if you are hiring a bike, we would advise you, if possible, to bring along a saddle that you are used to using.
View our Training Plan HERE.
STYLE OF TRAVEL
There will be around 40 - 45 participants in each week of the event. In general, we will provide lead and sweep vehicles (and other support vehicles and/ or riders throughout the course) and we will establish pit stops along the route, roughly equidistant between one another and usually a minimum of 3 of these stops per day. We give you navigational aids (more on that below). You go at your own pace, ride with others, ride on your own, whatever you fancy. We will not stop you riding or trekking unless you look unlikely to finish in daylight. As such, there is no formal cut-off time as the daily stages could be influenced by weather, tricky river crossings, or other factors – it is very much down to the judgement of the event team on this basis. However, unless we think you’re going to run out of daylight to finish the stage, we will not cut you off. That is our pledge to you. For your part, just keep peddling/ walking/ running/ paddling!
TRAVEL MEDICINE ADVICE
We have provided a handy guide to travel medicine and some environment - specific specific medical guidance, HERE. Dr Patrick Musto’s details can be found in the medical section later in this document and you are welcome to discuss such matters with him, in confidence. See more in the medical section, below.
Our incredible videographer James Appleton took some absolutely stellar footage last year, of what lies in wait for all of you. You can view that footage here, which gives you a stage-by-stage overview of the challenge ahead. All of this footage you see in these videos is sight out of the actual event – we give you our sincere ‘no stock footage’ guarantee! If nothing else, it should amp up the excitement and/ or trepidation!
This Event features 3 different disciplines, split over 5.5 days of active travel along the route:
Days 1 and 2 are 100% biking. Day 3 features biking after raftering and hiking. Day 4 is 100% biking and day 5 is 100% running or trekking. Day 6 features a very short biking stage (mostly on a tarmac road in fact!) to get to the finish location. More on the stage detail, below.
2.) TREKKING or RUNNING
Day 3 features a short (but quite gnarly) trekking section of approximately 5km. Day 5 is a full-on trekking day – probably one of the finest you will ever experience!
3.) RAFTING or PACKRAFTING
Day 3 features our exciting raft stage on the Pjorsa River. Depending on the weather and river levels, we have various contingencies in place to allow us to raft greater or lesser distances on the river. We also have a fleet of big rafts and packrafts, which we will distribute you all between. You may therefore find yourself in a solo raft, or in a group raft with other adventurers. In all cases, our expert local rafting crew will select the very best experience for the conditions and for the group.
The event is classified as ‘Event-supported’ for all biking and raft phases. This means that, whilst on the route each day, the Event team will support you with Pit Stop provisions, medical service and general logistical services.
The Day 5 trek is part Event-supported insofar as we will have staff, checkpoints, medical cover and communications cover. However in terms of food and beverages, it is largely self-supported. This means that whilst the Event team will still support you with welfare and personnel support, you will carry all provisions necessary for food and bev intake, plus Emergency gear and clothing.
Registration for the event is split into a ‘pre-event’ Registration phase, where we will ask for particular information to be submitted online (See the top and bottom of this document for what and when). This will be followed up by a physical registration process upon arrival at Blonduos.
We will provide you with a safety procedure to follow in case of Emergency while on each phase of the event. This may differ per phase and the safety and Emergency protocols will be made clear to you prior to the commencement of each phase.
TRANSPORT & ACCOMMODATION
1. BLONDUOS – GLADHEIMAR
We are here for 2 nights. Participants will be roomed in twin and shared rooms in this cabin complex next to the river in Blonduos. This will form our registration and preparation hub prior to heading out onto the course and we will eat locally and/ or at the property each night we are here. We will eat together in the accommodation and enjoy some traditional dishes.
See the relevant sections in the itinerary for some commentary on the names and characters of the various cabins we will use.
3. HRAUNEYJAR HIGHLAND CENTRE
This is a really smart almost hotel-like option, with power sockets, bar, restaurant-style food and great facilities.
4. SKOGAR – HOTEL KVERNA
The final night of our itinerary will be at the cheery Hotel Kverna in Skogar, very close to the Skogarfoss waterfall which marks the end of our stage here, ready for the final few miles into the finish line the following day. We will eat at the hotel together and enjoy some well-earned celebration beers to toast a job (very nearly!) well done!
5. FOSSHOTEL REYKJAVIK
Whilst this is not an included hotel within the event itinerary, the Fosshotel is the meeting point for our trips. (Or more specifically, the bus will pull up in the bus bays on the street outside the Fosshotel). Feel free to book direct with the property for maximum convenience if you are staying in Rekyjavik before or after the event, or feel free book elsewhere in the city. The Fosshotel is a superbly-appointed 4 star hotel and very close by door, the sister 3 star Fosshotel Baron provides similar comforts.
FOOD AND BEVERAGES
All meals will be provided whilst you are on our itinerary. Typically, this means breakfast, lunch and dinner at Blonduos and breakfasts and dinner every night in the cabins. There will sometimes be a pay bar and from time to time, some beers and other beverages will come your way from us, too!
For the days on the bikes, you will be supported by Rat Race Pit Stops (3 per day, approx. every 15 - 20km), featuring water, small grab and go snacks and other treats. In the mornings, we will also invite you to prepare some lunch items that we will transport to the pit stops, such as sandwiches or wraps, which typically will be available to you at Pit Stop 2.
You should look to augment these Pit Stops with your own snack supplies and you should very definitely provide your own hydration, electrolyte and sports nutrition supplies. This will be important throughout your adventure. At the end of the trip at Skogar, we will provide dinner and some celebration drinks.
ALCOHOLIC DRINKS AND EXTRAS
Where we provide meals as part of the general event service, we will not include alcoholic or soft drinks as standard and these must be provided by yourselves. See more on local payments, below.
At some of the cabins, there is a pay-bar where you can buy drinks and small snacks (and at one, you can order restaurant-quality food, too).
We will provide you with some beers at certain locations, to celebrate a job well-done. That is a Rat Race tradition! These will be at the discretion of the organisers, However. In general, you should expect to pay for alcoholic and soft drinks.
ABLUTIONS AND HYGIENE
There is a mixture of accommodation within the itinerary. It is therefore not guaranteed each evening will have a shower facility. Cabins generally don’t., but some do. Therefore, you should keep to a high level of personal hygiene by using wet wipes, washing with minimal water and always keeping hands clean. Check wounds, rashes, and blisters regularly for infection.
Pit stops will not contain toilets, so if you need to go out on the course, be prepared. The firm advice is always to ensure you are ‘self-contained’ with toilet roll and with anti-bacterial hand wash gel for the trail.
Our route will take a line from the north to the south coast. It is an absolute belter and has been specifically designed for this event. A full recce has been done of this route but that is not to say however that things don’t change and throughout this whole process, you must remain open to the possibility that our plan may change due to unforeseen factors, weather, evacuation activity, rising water levels in glacial meltwater rivers, or otherwise. So while Plan A is Plan A, it is not inconceivable that we may deploy Plan B, C or D if we deem it necessary for your safety.
ROUTEFINDING & GPS
The manner in which you will make your way through the course is to follow a GPS device, but on the bike and trek sections. If you DO NOT have your own devices, we will provide these to you. We will also provide all participants with a GPS tracker, which is a separate device. You will also be required to have your own phone, with battery pack back-up for charging in the field. There are therefore 4 separate devices under consideration here.
1.) Bike device
if you have your own bike-mounted device and are comfortable with its operation, this is the preferred choice whether you have rented a bike, or not. We will provide GPX files much nearer the time for you to upload to your own devices.
A mobile phone with a power pack, plus a bike mount is a perfectly reasonable and indeed user-friendly solution here, provided that you can ensure the combination is waterproofed. This was popular with riders in 2022 and it allows you to use your own technology, with which you are already familiar.
For participants who do not have their own bike-mounted device, we will be able to provide you a Garmin Edge bike navigation device. You will tell us whether or not you need one of these in the admin form, linked below.
2.) Foot device
For the foot section, your own GPS watch is the go-to piece of kit to use and we will again provide GPX files to use on your own device.
For those who do not have a GPS-enabled watch, we will provide you with a Garmin 66i handheld navigational device for the trekking phase.
Optional: We do have some GPS watches for rental (£50 rental fee and a £150 deposit) for use throughout the event if you wish. These will have the route uploaded onto them and have extremely good battery life. They are Coros Apex Proemium watches.
For those using our own equipment, we will provide guidance in the use of these devices upon arrival to Blonduos for Registration.
Separate from the devices above, we will issue everyone with a tracker, which both provides a tracking function for us to keep take tabs on where you while out on the course; and for your supporters to track your progress
(Please note that this is a separate device from the GPS navigational devices – it is very light and small and will likely attach to your bag or stuff into a pocket. More is explained on tracking in the section below).
It is also mandatory to carrying a phone at all times on the trip, with the ability to charge it via portable battery pack. This device can absolutely be your primary nav device on the bike stage, mounted to your bike and waterproofed accordingly. You may also use it as a back-up on the trek stage.
We will ask in all cases that you will upload the route files to your phone, to use as a handy back-up. For both the bike and trek routes, a phone with the route showing on an App is a very good choice, provided it is waterproofed from the elements.
If you are keen to practise using your phone to navigate, download a suitable App such as Garmin Explore or Garmin Connect (there are loads of great Apps but we use these a lot) and practice uploading GPX files to the phone and following them in the App. It really is easy once you know how to get the files into the App on the phone. If you want assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to talk through any of the tech side of things for those who are not comfortable with it.
We will NOT waymark the route (except potentially for a small section when you exit the river rafting stage to trek back up the bike transition if we use our ‘Plan A’ routing on the raft stage).
For the biking stages, our recommendation is that you use your own bike navigation device, a smartphone with mount, or one of our Garmin Edge bike devices. The choice is yours. If you choose to use the latter, this will be issued to you at Registration along with a power pack to keep it charged. By the time you have done a few km on the bikes, you will be well versed in ‘following the line’ on the Garmin Edge. If you are using your own device, you should be familiar with tis operation before you get to Iceland.
The good news is that the route is very intuitive and there is often little choice in terms of junctions. BUT there are some junctions on the route and it’s key that you take the correct turns, especially in poor visibility. Where there are junctions, a quick check of GPS route will bring you to the right conclusion very quickly and in some cases, we will have vehicles or Pit Stops stationed there, too.
For the trek, you will use your own device; or we can issuing you with a handheld Garmin 66i GPS unit with the route pre-loaded. These are capable, handy, waterproof devices which allow you to follow a route and clip the device to your pack or your person. If you do have a GPS watch however, we would advise the use of this on the trekking section as it’s an obvious tool for the job. If you wish to rent a Corous GPS watch from us, that is also possible. (This is as incremental aid to the Garmin 66i, which is provided as standard at no charge). You can let us know on the online form if you wish to rent a Corous Pro.
On the river, well, if you go wrong, it really has gone wrong as there is a huge waterfall downstream of our get-out! In seriousness though, you will be guided on the river stage, and we will have staff at the get-out point. It will not be possible to miss it. There is no navigation required.
In general, this event is operated with GPS as the main method of route guidance. If you do choose to use your own devices (recommended), it is important that you are well versed in the usage of your own devices and that you are confident in their battery life and reliability.
ROUTE GPX FILES
We will also make available route GPX files for you to upload onto your own devices as you see fit. These files will be provided much closer to the commencement of the event, once we are satisfied we have the definitive version to share. Experience has shown that we will never share the file until it is the final, final, final version. Or else we end up with version control issues that are hard to resolve. We do not anticipate major route changes from the route published, but never say never.
COURSE CUT OFFS & WITHDRAWALS
This event is not about cut-offs. But, having a ‘cut-off’ and a ‘sweeping’ structure is an important part of our Event Management Plan and Risk Assessment processes. Cut off times are independent of any other factors that occur earlier in the course such as start time, injury, going the wrong way, time taken at Pit Stops, head winds; and whether it is your fault or not. We understand that missing cut offs can be tough to take but please remember this is not the crew member’s fault that breaks the news to you, should it happen to you. Please also remember that if this does happen to you, the Event team’s decision is final.
If you are cut off, there will be no option to re-start from where you were cut off the next day. (The event only ever moves forwards). You may however re-start the next day from the official re-start location; subject to the discretion of the event team.
There are a number of reasons why you may be cut-off or withdrawn from the event. These could be medical, pace, kit, personal or other factors.
It is OK to retire and to be taken forward to the overnight camp. We’d rather you re-started the next day vs suffer meaninglessly and spoil it for yourself. We call this being ‘boosted.’ As far as the time available goes to avoid a cut-off, there is no ‘set’ cut off time each day. (i.e.. Time limit or published time). Instead, we require all participants to be at the finish location before nightfall. If this is looking unlikely you will be ‘swept’ forward. That is the cut-off. Above all else, please remember, this event is not about cut-offs. It is about getting the most out of this magical environment. We will not cut you off and sweep you forward unless we really have to. And if we do, it is for your own safety.
Raft Stage Cut-Offs/ Extractions
There is no overt reason to impose cut-offs on the raft stages as the ‘flotilla’ will be largely moving together (or in smaller sub-groups moving together). Once we are on the water, it is a case of forward progress until we exit the river. There are some points we can extract you, but by-and-large, once we are in the river, it is so remote that we are coming out at designated the get-out points; unless something major occurs.
‘BEDDING DOWN INTO THE COURSE’
It is probable that when you set off on the Challenge on day 1, the first hours of the first day may be a bit hit n’ miss. Pace, temperature regulation, kit selection, footwear or glove niggles. All to be expected. Embrace that ‘bedding down into it’ phase and listen to your body and to your kit. Expect some unexpected phenomena (not UFOs, just unusual kit or bike issues that you may not have quite been expecting). Use this time to just get used to the environment, the gear and the temperature. Go with it and relax. By Pit Stop 1 or 2, you’ll have worked out enough to be comfortable…
At registration at Blonduos you will be issued with your tracker. It will be in a waterproof container. It is your responsibility to look after the device until you return it to us at the finish line in exchange for your medal. This device not only allows those at home to follow you on the route, it acts as a tracker for us too, meaning we can see where you are throughout the event.
Tracking will go live on the morning of the first biking day (i.e. the start of the event, at Blonduos) at 0700 local time. The trackers rely on GSM signal to report, (which is generally very good across a lot of our route) but there frequently can be a delay on tracking. Sometimes, our team back at base will increase or decrease the reporting frequency, so those watching at home will sometimes not see your dot moving, or see you moving very slowly. Or they may see you adrift from others in the group (for example if you have not turned the tracker on!).
It is REALLY important that you ensure anyone watching at home knows this, for their own peace of mind and for our own safety systems. Experience shows that if someone watching at home does not understand this, they can sometimes unwittingly commence full rescue missions by panicking, calling in the cavalry and sparking confusion for us as organisers. As such, it really is a very important point to note. If we have any issues or snagging with tracker units, our basecamp team can see this and we will pull them back in and reset them for you.
As with any GPS units that you use from us, you must return the tracking device at the end of the event or whenever a member of staff asks for you to do so (for example to check a setting or to charge it). Do also hand to a member of staff should you drop out on any day. As with all electronic devices, there is a replacement cost for loss or damage. For the tracker, it is £150.
Our provision will be made to you approximately every 30km while on the bike stages; and we will provide 3 Pit Stop locations each day. Each Pit Stop will feature a vehicle, staff, comms and of course, some food and drink. Expect the odd cameo local snack appearance, some baked goods from time to time, plenty of sweets and salty snacks and some fruit. General note on food – trail snacks
The meal plan above gives you breakfast and dinner each day, plus a packed lunch provision from items that you will prepare our own lunch from, such as wraps and fillings. Please pack your own hearty supply of snacks and electrolytes that you enjoy for the bike, raft and trail sections. These can be stored in your day packs and topped up each night when you are reunited with your overnight bags.
There will be options for gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dietary requirements at the pit stops. However we also advise that if you have dietary requirements, to ensure you are self-contained with a decent supply of your own scooby snacks so you absolutely know you are covered for items you are familiar with, 100% of the time.
Raft transition raft – trek - bike
Generally speaking, you will only ‘transition’ from bike to foot on different days (not during the same day), so live ‘transitions’ are limited on this event. There is one exception, where you will do all 3 disciplines on day 3.However for our ‘Plan A’ itinerary on the rafting day, you will start in the rafts, which means you will be suited and booted with all of your rafting gear (all of which we will provide). We will also provide you with a very large drybag, into which you can take some hiking kit. You will leave us a further bag, with your cycling kit, which we will take to the biking transition. Upon exiting the rafts, you will derobe from the dry suit and buoyancy aid, put all of that rafting gear into the drybag, (along with the packraft itself if utilising one of these), trek approximately 5km and then do a bike transition.
See the bags section below for full explanation on what you need, where and when, including further commentary on this transition movement.
It may well be that we do not achieve our Plan A on the rafts due to weather and/ or water levels. If we deploy Plan B, C or X, the transitions may be different. But the bottom line is, on the rafting day, there will be some sort of costume change likely from raft to bike, for which you need to consider your outfitting and how it all pieces together.
As we have stated, the reliability and operation of the tracking devices in this environment is likely to not be 100%, 100% of the time. As far as our safety system is concerned, we know that and we have considered that as part of our other overarching plans and risk assessment.
For those watching the tracking at home, it is important you explain that the trackers are not always going to give a fully accurate reflection of exact locations. What can happen, (if this is not communicated on the part of the participant to their supporters), is that where people see a tracker displaying erratic behaviour or not moving, this manifests in undue worry. Over a number of days, this worry can turn to panic and raising of unnecessary alarms, from the comfort of sofas in the internet-equipped watching world-at-large. We require you to ensure that, should you decide to share the tracking link, you are unequivocal in this explanation to your supporters. We cannot afford for an international incident to be commenced as someone sitting at home in front of their desktop has decided to contact the Emergency Services as they cannot see your dot moving. It really is a deadly serious point we are making here and we thank you in advance for making this clear to your supporters at home.
EVENT REGISTRATION & ADMINISTRATION
EVENT REGISTRATION AND PRE-EVENT ADMIN
Formal Registration for the event is completed in 3 phases:
1.) Online enrolment, payment – COMPLETE
2.) Submission of online event details form and medical form (by 30th June) and online waiver all pre-event.
3.) Physical registration at Blonduos on 6/8/23 or 14/8/23. You will complete a final physical kit check with our event team, do a short final paperwork exercise including checking your insurance company contact details, present some ID and do a medical interview with our medical team. You will also receive your event bib and bike numbers, GPS devices for those who need them, trackers and other items. There will of course be some briefings. If you have rented a GPS watch, we will hand these out at this time also. We will introduce you to the mighty packraft and give you an orientation on the likely rafting scenarios, too.
Rental bikes will be issued to those who have ordered them and there will be time to build your own bike if it has travelled with you. if you want to go out for a quick ride and to generally synchronise rider with machine!
EVENT REGISTRATION PACK
In Blonduos, there will be one event pack issued per person. Your Event Pack will contain:
This must always be visible.
For your overnight and race bag.
Garmin 66i GPS and/ or Garmin Edge device
For those who require them
Event T-shirt & Rat Rag
If we do not receive your size you will be given a Large
Packraft & Gear
You will practise with this on admin day and our team will give some further explanation on how the rafting stage could pan out with the various contingencies we have in place to cater for carrying conditions on the river
By entering this event you agreed that you have entered in your own name (not nickname) and will bring photographic ID to event Registration at Blonduos to prove your identity. Clearly, having got on an aircraft in a seat booked in your own name, this should not be too difficult! It is however a requirement for us to know categorically know who at the event, hence the final physical ID check at Blonduos.
RAFTING FAMILIARISATION SESSION
We will have a small supply of pack rafts available at Blonduos. This is a familiarisation session and will focus on the packraft itself and on the kit we will use on this stage. It will all take place on terra firm and will not involve any action on the water. This will save us all valuable time when we get to the river, if you know your way around the gear and have prepped your own raft for action later in the trip. Our staff will be on hand to take you through it all. It also gives us the opportunity to explain in more detail how various scenarios for the rating stage may unfold and how we may use packrafts and larger rafts. This exciting stage is by design, subjective to weather and river conditions so this is a handy juncture for us to give more colour to this component and to prep you how it may unfold. We can also listen to any concerns you may have for us regarding swimming and or other confidence in cold and/ or fast-flowing water.
BLONDUOS KIT CHECK AND BIKE SET-UP
We will have undertaken the kit check video call in advance of you travelling to Iceland. However we will reserve the right to inspect some or all of your kit upon arrival at Blonduos.
As a minimum, we will be checking:
Sleeping bag (comfort rated to 0 degrees Celsius)
A working Headtorch
A First Aid Kit containing th minimum mandatory item
Suitable footwear for biking and trekking/ running
Suitable water carrying methods – bottles and/ or bladders
You may be asked to show any other items from the mandatory kit list. Clearly at this point, the die is somewhat cast in respect of where we are geographically. There is not instant access to sports shops in Blonduos and the ability to ‘fill in any gaps’ is therefore heavily ,reduced; however we will look to assist where we can, in the event of major kit catastrophe. If you do not have the appropriate kit with you when you register in Blonduos, you will not be allowed to participate. Hence, we are bringing an element of this exercise forward and will have already provided to you the video kit sessions to aid you in your preparations.We have also broken down the kit list into a handy check-box list of items that you need (mandatory) and items that are not mandatory, but recommended.
The full mandatory kit list can be viewed in the accompanying check-box list If in any doubt, please check well in advance on kit. We have devised the mandatory kit list for your protection and safety, and we will not be able to make any exceptions on required items.
AVOIDING KIT CATASTROPHE IN TRANSIT
It is not impossible that your gear may not arrive with you into Keflavik. In general, the longer you are in Reykjavik, the easier this is to solve. Once you start travelling away from major airports, getting re-united with lost bags becomes harder. However, it is not impossible and if you do lose bags or if bikes do not arrive, it does not necessarily spell certain doom. There are sports and bike shops in Reykjavik. We will have at least 1 spare bike with us, to cover disaster relief on these things. However, to avoid the chances of total catastrophe, we would recommend that you do travel with some event clothing in your hand luggage: A set of waterproofs, something to wear top and bottom, a hat, some gloves and some footwear would be minimum recommended. Indeed, you can travel wearing this gear.
Experience tells us that if you arrive wearing or physically carrying some of what you need, the likelihood of getting you on the start-line increases dramatically, vs those who entire event kit is in their hold baggage, making its way around a carousel in the wrong airport far, far away.
MANDATORY KIT LIST
MANDATORY KIT LIST
Click HERE to view the kit list.
Some of the kit listed is to help you have a safe experience and have the best chance of finishing. Some of this kit is to ensure that if you are unable to continue without our assistance then we can be confident of you having the level of equipment required to keep you as comfortable as possible whilst you wait for that assistance. Some of it is simply to keep you from perishing. It is a serious list and we know everyone knows this, but we ask that you please do work with us on this. Please do not skimp on kit. As we have pointed out in the webinar thus far, the weather in Iceland is changeable. Dramatically so. Spare sets of kit will be worn, you will get wet and you will want to get dry and comfortable again. As such, do not skimp on kit!
Our minimum spec for mandatory spare bike kit is outlined below. Items with an * need to be carried whilst riding
· 4 x inner tubes suitable for the size of your tyre * (carry 2 with you at all times when riding) x2
· Tyre levers*
· 1 x puncture repair kit*
· If running a tubeless set up, have a slime spare and repair kit*
· Peddle spanner
· Bike multitool*
· Chain link remover*
· Chain links x 2*
· Small pump*
· 1 x gear cable
· 1 x brake cable
· Cable ties*
· Rear Hanger suitable for your own bike
· Small bottle of oil
· An old rag and toothbrush for bike cleaning
For rental bikes, you will be issued with a spares kit.
BIKE SECURITY, CONDITION AND IN-EVENT MOVEMENTS
If you are planning to bring your own bike to the event, we 100% recommend that you get it serviced beforehand. Iceland is a unique geological environment and this means a lot of ash, dust and rock: All of which give any chain, group set or general bike componentry a bit of a pasting. The bike needs to be tip-top before travel to avoid drivetrain problems on the ground.
There are occasions where we will be moving your bike during the event. Our crew will of course take exceptional care with participant bikes alongside the rental bikes. The bikes will sometimes be carried in a truck or contained area (big vans) but often, they will be fitted to racks on the back of 4x4 super jeeps. This is a standard rig in Iceland as it suits the vehicles and the type of in-event support and logistic our team needs to carry out to get bikes from A to B across this type of very unique terrain. The risk of damage to your bike is no more than most back-of-car carriers or what you will put the bike through while riding it along the route. Our experience is that the bikes are typically far enough off the ground that this is not a primary concern. The bikes will pick up dust, ash and other muck and crud when on the back of the vehicles and this is easy to remove. . If there is a catastrophic failure of the transport and bikes get destroyed or seriously damaged, your insurance is there to cover this. Needless to say, this is highly unlikely.
Security-wise, while the bike is in your possession, such as in hotels at the start and end of the event, these are 100% your responsibility. When we have your bikes together en-masse such as in transit or transition, we will look after them as if they were our own. And certainly, the risk of theft out in the central Highlands is virtually non-existent as the thief would need the same vehicles we have to access and then steal the bikes. However, we have stated that your bike must be insured for theft, accidental damage or loss and this will cover any unforeseen eventualities. Risk is extremely low, but it would be imprudent for us not to direct you to insure your bike for such an undertaking in this respect.
KIT HIGHLIGHTS / KEY ITEMS
A mountain bike! (Either your own, or a rental bike)
Plenty of wet weather gear
Sleeping bag and roll mat for the huts
Good gloves and stout footwear for the biking stages, to ensure those tootsies and fingers do not get cold
Trail footwear, day pack and suitable attire for the trekking stage
If in doubt, email us at email@example.com and our in-house kit hoarder Abbi can assist. She has excellent knowledge of this event, having carried out the initial Test Pilot recce trip and been Project Manager on one of our Iceland trips in 2022.
Our minimum spec for mandatory medical kit (to be carried at all times) is as follows:
· 1 x triangular bandage
· 1 x crepe roll bandage
· Gauze or similar absorbent dressing
· Small set of scissors
· Pain Killers (paracetamol)
· Antiseptic (spray or cream)
· Assorted plasters
· Rubber gloves
· Prescribed medication
· Zinc oxide tape
· Compeed – various sizes
· Lube stick
There are 2 bags you need for this event:
1.) DAY PACK FOR BIKE AND TREK STAGES
You will use this bag to carry food, water and other supplies during the biking and trekking stages. Please make sure it is big enough to carry the mandatory kit on either stage. . You can choose to carry water in bladders and/ or bottles. We would advise that this is also your carry-on bag for airline travel, so you can stow plenty of event kit inside it in the event that you potentially lose your main bag in transit.
2.) MAIN OVERNIGHT BAG
This should be a soft duffel or hold-all (please, no hard cases) and be capable of carrying all of all the kit you will not be wearing during the biking or trekking stages. It must be one bag (not a series of bags) but your sleeping bag can be separate. Size is not too important – up to 120l is OK as we do realise all of all this kit is bulky. In general, we ask that you attempt to get this bag to around the 23kg mark (this is the upper limit for most ‘standard’ airline checked luggage anyway).
This bag will be left with our event team each day and you will have access to it each evening.
There is another bag (sorry!) but we will give this one to you, you do not need to bring it. This is the drybag we have referenced above, which only relates to the rafting section.
Your 2023 bike rentals will be TREK X-Caliber 8 (2023) – These are good hardy machines built for the task in hand. Of course, should you wish to bring your own pedals and seat to switch over, this is absolutely fine and can be done so at registration to add a little more comfort to your ride. Our supplier has stressed that all riders MUST bring their own helmet. If it is impossible for you to bring your helmet, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can try assist. All other spares for rentals will be provided.
For those arriving prior to the official start of the itinerary day, an informal meeting spot will be proposed on the preceding evening for those wishing for a little meet and greet with fellow participants and event crew. We will advise of this location nearer the time of departure and of course, this is totally optional.
DAY ONE / MEETING AND TRAVEL DAY
5th August / 13th August
Meet at Fosshotel Reykjavik hotel at 1000. Load up all luggage and bikes and travel to Blondous. We will check you all into your rooms and have a relaxed dinner.
Meals: Dinner will be provided. The transfer vehicles will stop en route from Reykjavik to Blonduos for a comfort/ light refreshment stop. Refreshments at your own expense.
Accommodation: Gladheimar Cabins. This is a really charming site, with multiple cabins surrounding the main building, in which we will carry out our Registration activities. win and shared rooms in varied cabin-style accommodation
DAY TWO / REG, GEAR PREP AND BRIEFING
6th August / 14th August
We will have breakfast and then get stuck into a morning’s worth of Registration activities, as outlined in this document. We will eat lunch and there will be time in the afternoon to stretch the legs with a few km on the bikes and to enjoy the quaint charm of Blonduos, right up as we are on the north coast of Iceland.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Twin and shared rooms in varied cabin-style accommodation at Gladheimar Cabins
DAY THREE / ICELAND COAST TO COAST BEGINS!
7th August / 15th August
After a hearty breakfast and an early start, we will cycle inland beside the glacial river Blanda on good roads and good gravel tracks. Once we leave the coastal area, we leave the tarmac behind for good! We will climb gradually until the scenery gives way to classic Icelandic ash terrain. This is a big day out on the mileage on this terrain, but it builds gradually and will form a very good intro to Icelandic riding and to the unique weather conditions.
Distance: 120km (75 miles)
Ascent: 1100m (3,608ft).
Highest elevation: 650m
Duration for average rider: Approx 12 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Camping. We will use communal tents in this spectacular highland setting, utilising the cabin for meals and ablution facilities.
Accommodation name and character: Hveravellir. This is a great location, with a pay-bar, food on site and it even has its own geothermal hot spring to relax in! You cannot get any more of an Icelandic introduction if you tried!
DAY FOUR / INTO THE MOUNTAINS
8th August / 16th August
We have another day on the bikes today, passing between the two icecaps of Hofsjokull and Langjokull and heading towards the Kerlingarfjoll Highland mountains, using gravel roads and tracks. We finally reach our overnight location which is a solitary hut looming with dramatic glacial and mountain backdrops. In fact today, we will go past the hut and continue the riding until we reach the river, which is the put-in for tomorrow’s river stage. Once you have finished today’s stage, you will drop your bike here at the river and be transported back to the hut by our event vehicles. Whilst this means a little more riding today, past the hut, it sets you up well for what is another long (and hugely epic) day tomorrow on the river and beyond.
Distance: 100km ( 6250 miles)
Ascent: 600m (1,968ft).
Highest elevation: lava plateau at 900m
Duration for average rider: Approx 12 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Hut, in big communal dorms
Accommodation name and character: Setrio. The atmosphere in the cabin will be brilliant. It is admittedly a bit of a squeeze to get us all in, but it’s well worth it. Commanding a dramatic location and looking out over ashen plains, this really is the middle of nowhere. We have the hut to ourselves so we will bring the beer, the 80s rock playlist and the good times. A hug communal meal and then it’s time to hit the hay. There is some power provision here, but it is tight and we will prioritise event equipment to be charged. You should plan to use power banks tonight.
DAY FIVE / DO IT ALL! RAFT - TREK - CYCLE
9th August / 17th August
We will rise early, eat breakfast in the hut and then shuttle teams to the river for the rafting stage. Our Plan A will be to packraft the River Pjorsa with kayak support from local guides. You will be split into sub-groups and descend in groups of 8 – 10 with the guides in a combination of our pack rafts and larger communal rafts. Once you emerge from the river, (and shortly before the river crashes over the dramatic Dynkur Foss waterfall!) you will de-kit from the drysuits and other river gear, stow your pack rafts and all of your wet gear in the big drybag we have given you; and then you will trek around 5km to a small hut, where the bikes will be waiting. We will then transition to cycling again and cycle gravel tracks for approx. 24km (15 miles) over hill plateau scenery, passing through a realm of new reservoirs and dams to reach our overnight at the Highland Centre.
NOTE: We need to expect a high degree of flexibility with our Plan A for the rafting stage. If Iceland has had an unseasonal amount of snowmelt and if the rivers are high, then the plan may need to change. Also strong winds will affect our plan. The plan here will therefore pivot entirely on conditions and on the instruction of the local guides. We have prepared very good Plans B, C and D. You will learn more about these when we familiarise you more with the rafting stage at Registration in Blonduos.
Distance: 27km - 40km (up to 25 miles) Packraft (depends on conditions), 5km hike, 24km (145 miles) bikes. If the packraft is shortened, you will cover more distance on bikes (up to 70km)
Ascent: 300m (984ft).
Highest Elevation: desert plateau at 650m
Duration: 10 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Hut dorms, some shared rooms
Accommodation name and character: Hrauneyjar Highland Centre. This is a really smart almost hotel-like option, with power sockets, bar, restaurant-style food and great facilities.
DAY SIX / BIKING UTOPIA
10th August / 18th August
We are now on the bikes for some flat (followed by rough and steep!) gravel tracks which ultimately lead into more lumpy and more dramatic terrain (including summiting a a 1000m top). It has been said that the riding and the scenery get better each day with this event and this is no exception. There is some great single track later on in the day today, plus lashings of amazing double-track throughout with exciting descents to contend with. You will probably find today is the highlight of the biking thus far and it is certainly the most technical day. You will witness lush green moss-covered steam-vents, you will lose count of the river crossings and you will see the famous multi-coloured rhyolite mountains. After some 80km (50 miles) of riding, we come to the world-famous Laugavegur Trail, where we cycle its single-track to and then past our overnight stop. This is a further 20km distance (12 miles) to reach the Emstrur hut. Owing to our group size and the fact that we can totally take over the hut we passed 20km back, we will transport you back to the Hvanngil hut once you reach Emstrur. As per the rafting day, we will ditch the bikes here and then take you back here again in the morning to commence the trek stage.
Distance: 110km (92 miles) on bikes
Ascent: 1500m (4,921ft). Highest elevation is a summit at 1000m
Duration for average rider: 13 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Hut dorms, some shared rooms
Accommodation name: Hvanngil. We do have to cycle right past the front door and do another 20km today, but we again have the cabin to ourselves tonight and it is well appointed with views facing all the way down an outstandingly dramatic valley, which feels like something right out of Lord of the Rings. It’s a superb spot – very cosy with our numbers. You will sleep in commune bunks in tightly-packed dorms. There is power, but rather like night 2 , we will prioritise event equipment first and foremost so expect to use those power banks again for any device charging.
DAY SEVEN / POSSIBLY THE BEST MOUNTAIN TREKKING OR RUNNING DAY OF YOUR LIFE!
11th August / 19th August
We will rise super-early today, have breakfast and then shuttle you to Emstrur to commence what is, frankly, a monster day. And a day you will never ever forget. Prepare to have your mind blown by the terrain and by the scenery unfolding all around you. With lightweight packs the first bit of the trail can generally be run. Chose to run or trek – your call. We pass near a Camp/Hut in the upper Porsmork area after 20km (12 miles) where we will position the only pit stop of the day whilst enjoy some of the finest scenery in all of Iceland. Porsmork really is like being in the Lord of the Rings. After that, it is ‘up and over!’ We now trek up and out of Porsmork and ascend steeply between incredible glacier snouts to summit a mountain pass, before descending steeply to the stunning Skoga river valley. The waterfalls here are like nothing you will have seen, each one becoming more and more dramatic until you reach the mighty Skogafoss waterfall, which crashes down to the coastal plain and where you can see the south coast beyond.
That is journey’s end for today and we will whisk you to tonight’s hotel, a very short road journey away.
Distance: 48km (30 miles) on foot
Ascent: 1500m (4,921ft).
Highest elevation: Porsmork at 1000m
Duration: 12 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: Hut dorms, some shared rooms
Accommodation name: Kverna Hotel. You are in twin or shared rooms here in this cheery spot, which is handy for our arrival from Skogafoss and our departure tomorrow to the finish line. From here, it is only 11km (7 miles) to journey’s end. Plenty of beer and other drinks available at the bar. We will enjoy a cracking celebration meal - but don’t overdo it too much – you still have the final flurry to come!
DAY EIGHT / TO THE FINISH & BACK TO REYKJAVIK
12th August / 20th August
After breakfast at the hotel, we have a very quick 11km (7 miles) on the bikes via the main Iceland ‘ring road’ (not much traffic, especially at this time of the morning). This brings us to a turnoff, which then will bring us on a gently descending track to journey’s end at the famous plane wreck at Solheimasandur. After some pictures, a bit of fizz and some warm words of conclusion, we will ride the 3km back to the transports and saddle up for the journey back to Reykjavik.
You have the choice to fly out tonight and we will take you to the airport if that is what you want to do. For everyone else, we will end up back in Reykjavik at the Fosshotel Reykjavik where we began several days 9and what may feel like a lifetime) ago.
Note 1: Anyone planning to fly out this evening should ensure they have flexible tickets or insurance to cover the eventuality where they may not be able to travel. Please note we cannot accept any liability for missed flights today. If all goes according to plan, we will be back at Keflavik for later afternoon/ early evening flights.
Note 2: The transfer will go the Fosshotel Hotel in Reykjavik and to Keflavik International Airport. We regret that we cannot accommodate requests for other stops on the transport and you should make onwards travel plans from the Fosshotel Hotel upon arrival back in Reykjavik. Or stay there of course – it is very nice!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Accommodation: N/A. You will fly out of Iceland or arrange your own accommodation back in Reykjavik
TOTAL all up journey totals:
Distance: 425km (264 miles)
Ascent: 5000m (16,402ft)
ACCOMMODATION STYLES AND CAMPING
When you get into the Highlands, you will see there are no towns, no villages, no settlements – that is in great part the allure of it all! There are cabins, but these are few and far between and our route has been planned to take advantage of these locations. Where we use ‘cabin’ accommodation, this is rustic, basic Highlands-style accommodation and very much geared around a shared experience. In general terms, it is comfortable, cosy and warm. But we will stress again - the cabins are basic. Sleeping bags and mats are required – hence being part of our mandatory kit list for you. We have tried hard to ensure that all participants at all locations are undercover at roofed locations where we can do so. However, you will note from the website that some nights are categorised as camping, or ‘potentially’ camping. At Hvellevellie on night 1, we will all be camping. We cannot rule out the possibility that there may be some other nights where some folk may be camping. If this is the case, you will be notified in advance and you will be provided with good, robust tents. At present, this is not planned but we will reserve the right to revert back to this arrangement if required, at certain cabin locations.
Whilst we have given the names of the cabins above, we also reserve the right to change the accommodation locations and associated routings based on operational and other considerations up to departure date and even during the event if we must. Such is the nature of the Highlands, the nature of available accommodation and other factors, notably weather and trail conditions, that our plan must remain flexible and fluid throughout this undertaking.
MEDICAL OPERATION & PARTICIPANT SAFETY
Our team is there for you in case you have an incident with which you require assistance. The team will shadow the progress of the Challenge each day in vehicles; before establishing a med centre each afternoon at the location to which we are heading for our accommodation. Whilst the medics are there for ‘what ifs,’ they are also a great source of preventative advice; so please do use them to ask questions and check best practice, particularly in suspected foot injury or issues such as blisters. We will also have medical staff on foot with you on the trekking stage and on the river.
MEDICAL PRE- SCREENING
At this stage we are inviting you to have a medical screening process, which can be completed via the link below. Please complete this as soon as possible – and certainly please, no later than 30th June. If you do have any condition that you feel we should know about, however small you feel it may be, please do share this with our Medics. Experience has shown that early pre-screening can assist both us and you greatly in enabling the care you need pre and during the trip. If you do not share information on conditions which are likely to affect your participation or decide to share them very late in the process, we are all under pressure and we will always reserve the right to cancel your participation if we feel there is a medical issue that may affect yours, or others’ safety. So please, do share anything and everything you feel our team should know about, at the earliest opportunity.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION:
We are very fortunate to have an excellent Medical Director providing oversight, planning and screening on all of our international trips, who in turn engages seriously professional and qualified staff to join you on the trip. Rat Race also conforms and has been audited to the rigorous BS8848 standard of expedition management. This means our approach to all things safety and medical is extremely thorough and it is designed throughout with your best interest at heart.
Your medical screening details will be sent direct to our medical team and under medical confidentiality rules, this will only be shared with our medics and no-one else. If they decide this is info that is in the best interests of everyone for us as organisers to be privy to, they will seek and gain your consent before doing so. It is therefore important you complete the link to the medical survey only which can be found HERE; do not send Rat Race medical information direct. If you have any queries at all on the medical side of things in relation to this event, you can email our Medical Director, Dr Patrick Musto confidentially on email@example.com and he and his team will assist.
TRAVEL MEDICINE ADVICE
As well as being a practising NHS Emergency Care Doctor and Expedition Medicine Specialist, Dr Musto is also a qualified travel medicine practitioner. Please view the Travel Medicine Advice PDF HERE.
GENERAL SAFETY AROUND VEHICLES
This event takes place on tracks and whilst traffic is extremely light (indeed in many locations, it is just us!), there are still vehicles around. We do of course have our own event vehicles operating and you may therefore come across our own vehicles, or others that are using the dirt roads in the Highlands. You must courteously give way to other users whilst on the route, whether they are 4x4s, super jeeps, dirt buggies, motorbikes, quads or other vehicles. Vigilance must be taken at all times.
We want to show that this event has exemplary control of littering. Please help us achieve that. Pack your litter into your pack, pockets or nearby bin bag (trash sack) at a vehicle. No exceptions. Iceland is a pristine wilderness environment, and our absolute commitment is to keep it that way.
In the event of a true emergency or serious incident you will be notified of protocols at the orientation at Blonduos. If you are with an injured party whilst on the route, stay with the casualty and await assistance. In the event of a non-emergency incident but for which action is requested from the organisers, then you should place a call (we will give you numbers) or if no phone reception, you should send a message forward to the next Pit Stop with another participant if possible and/or await an event crew member approaching via vehicle from behind. This might be medical, logistical or kit/ equipment breakdown as examples. We politely ask that you stop and help someone that is in difficulty – you will be the first person to find them – remember to take note of time, place (number of km, or minutes/ hours from last Pit Stop) and participant number/ name at the incident site. Remember we are all in it together and we are in effect one big team.
While these are allowed, please control their volume according to your environment. Use your judgment at all times when listening to music or audiobooks. Please also be aware that if you cannot hear general voice levels you might miss instructions or warnings from crew, other participants or approaching vehicles. We suggest that you run the leads behind you so that persons or vehicles approaching from behind might be able to see that you are wired for sound.
Ensure your Bib is attached to some of your clothing. We know you will be layering on and off a fair amount, so we will give you 2 bibs. We will also give you a bike number to attach to your steed.
INSURANCE FOR YOU AND YOUR EQUIPMENT
We have asked that you have in place Travel Insurance cover and specified Evacuation cover to last for a minimum period of the event duration for the days you are with us on the published itinerary. Evacuation and medical expenses cover should total no less than $500 000. A copy of this cover/covers (if separate policies) is required to be received by us by 30th June. section.We recommend that participants have insurance to cover damage, loss, theft, injury and non-attendance. Rat Race cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of, theft, or damage to any Participant property or the circumstances of Participant non-attendance.
If you are bringing your own bike, we ask that you have a policy in place to cover it for damage, loss or theft. It is up to you what level you cover it for (and of course several overarching policies will provide coverage for loss or damage of sports equipment) but we would advise that you place cover for the replacement value of the bike, if you can do so.
You should submit copies of your insurance via the Event Details Form. Alongside this, we ask that medical screening is completed, plus an online waiver. Please see the actions list at the bottom of this document for details.
Some suggested providers are as follows:
For UK and Channel Island residents Rat Race’s own insurer brokers have a brand-new product:
Note: This is Rat Race’s UK-based insurance broker, specialising in the leisure insurance market. This is a specialist sports travel cover product; however Rat Race is neither an insurance broker or underwriter. We can recommend Mann Broadbent wholeheartedly as good people to deal with, but please remember that this is not a ‘Rat Race product’ and we have no say whatsoever on claims decisions made by the insurers, in the event that you raise such a claim via one of these policies.
Note: We have no relationship with any of these providers, but previous customers have found them reasonable to deal with regarding some of our similar Bucket List challenges.
Note: For all insurance, please remember that cover is offered based on several factors, (the nature of the event disciplines being one of them), but your own insurance profile, age, health and other details form a big part of this. As such, we are always happy to provide details to insurers in support of cover requests from customers, but we cannot influence their decisions as to whether to offer cover to individuals.
POOR WEATHER CONTINGENCY
Iceland is known for its varied weather conditions. All four seasons can be felt in one day. Please be prepared for the multiple weather conditions and temperatures ranging from hot to cold. The terrain and altitudes along the route will also have an effect on the temperature. The event will proceed in many conditions, but if it is deemed unsafe to continue due to weather conditions, the event will be halted at the current cabin or accommodation location. If required, we will await more favourable conditions to re-commence. This may result in some stages being cut short or cancelled in their entirety in order to achieve forward progress within the time available.
In all cases, the decision of the Event team is final in these matters. We will monitor weather and general course conditions throughout and rest assured that any decision we do make in this regard is only ever made with the safety of event participants at its core.
But please do understand that the very nature of such an undertaking in such an environment requires us to plan (and deploy) contingencies and we cannot therefore guarantee that the exact itinerary as laid out on the website and in this document will be achieved. Such is the essence of adventure!
You have already been made aware that this is a serious undertaking in very remote terrain. For the bike stage, we have vehicles in support. On the trek and on the raft stages, there are some locations to which we can get a vehicle but in general, these are far less accessible. Whilst helicopter evacuation is possible for the most serious of matters, it is not always a-given that a helicopter can fly (night, weather, wind, lack of landing spot or winch capability). You need to be fully aware therefore that an evacuation from the event where vehicle access is not possible is an extremely serious undertaking. In the event that such an undertaking is deemed to be required, it may be that YOU become part of the safety system. We will reserve the right at all times to call upon members of the Event, alongside crew, to assist in any evacuation activity whatsoever required in order to remedy the situation as quickly and decisively as possible. This may involve diverting off the route, assisting with casualty-bearing and load-carrying, or other duties.
You should also know that, in the event that a helicopter cannot access a casualty’s location, the evacuation time at certain parts of the course could be considerable. It is important that we state unequivocally that we cannot remove all risk from such an undertaking nor would we state such. You are entering an area where the remoteness of the undertaking and the slowness of possible evacuation could result in Death.
Mitigation of such scenarios is our number one priority. Your ability to reduce the risk posed by trauma is key: Taking your time, particularly on bikes, descending rough ground in a carefully controlled manner is all part of this mitigation against injury. Your use of trekking poles for example will also help on the trekking section. You must take your time, undertake each event phase very much with a clear understanding of the environment you are in and come to the table with a team mentality on this one. That way, we will stay safe and we will mitigate and reduce the risks outlined above.
OTHER ADMIN MATTERS
‘RACING’ AND OUR FINISH TIMES SERVICE
Completing not competing. Rat Race’s ethos has always been about inspiring folk to undertake challenges in awesome outdoor locations. Iceland Coast to Coast is just that, taken to an epic level. This is not a formal race environment and there are no winners and losers. We do not award prizes for the fastest folk. There will be no splits. Indeed, there will be no timings. Rat Race totally appreciate the incredible commitment of those taking on the challenges we lay down and each participant is as important as the next regardless of how fast you can cover the distance. This is akin far more to an expeditionary undertaking than anything else.
In delivering this unique challenge we prioritise factors such as safety, camaraderie and environmental concerns. Respecting the wishes of local stakeholders with our route management and litter policies is vital in being able to bring folk together for this unique experience. Safety above all else is paramount, as you will fully appreciate. To reasonably balance all these factors, we emphasise that the event is not a formal race environment, rather it is a challenge in the great outdoors where great folk come together with a common purpose.
Most locations in Iceland take credit and debit cards and the huts where there are bar and other services are no exception. Having some local currency is a good idea however. When we are staying in hotels, you may charge incidentals to your room if the hotel has that facility. All room accounts should be settled prior to leaving the accommodation in each location. If hotel room bills remain unsettled Rat Race will reserve the right to charge your nominated card, plus a $20 admin charge per unpaid bill.
COMMS COVERAGE & DATA
You will have good phone reception throughout a lot of this course. Even though we are in a true Scandinavian wilderness, we have truly excellent Scandinavian tech cover! Of course, it is not everywhere and one of the joys of such things, we think, is switching off from the world and dialling into the wilderness you are in.
The event will not be providing satellite data or phone services as standard unless for EMERGENCY USE via satellite phone. Please also check out the Facebook Group for regular updates. If you aren’t on it and want in, please email Olivia at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be invited to join or you can join HERE now.
The event is very lucky to have secured the services of James Appleton (week 1) and Leo Francis (week 2) as official event photographers. Both have worked on several of Rat Race’s Bucket List events before, including Iceland. This means not only are they excellent photographers in their own right; but that they halso really ‘get’ these types of events.
For this Challenge, we are doing photography a little different than run-of-the-mill standard event photography, but an entirely standard approach for us and it’s tried and tested – to 100s of customers’ satisfaction. Instead of them shooting and you then you selecting a number of photos post-event from a fairly unwieldy and piecemeal selection (leading to a lot of wastage in the shots and hours spent spreading the editing thinly across ‘anything and everything)’ we want the service to be as personal as possible. We think that something this epic deserves that.
They will therefore be offering a one-price, advance purchase arrangement. He will shoot you in action and provide an amazingly varied series of shots of you out there doing your stuff; plus, a selection of general event photos, provided as a digital album. They will also include individual portrait shots of yourself, working with her directly to create some special shots.
The price for this service is £125. If you would like to use this service, please tick the box in the event details form and you will be sent an invoice just ahead of the event. The service is available for participants and crew. The crux here is that they will ONLY shoot those who sign up to the service in advance, ensuring she is concentrating on those who have taken the plunge. This ensures that he can 100% focus on the job in hand for those who wish to purchase; and avoids the wastage of hundreds of shots on the edit-room floor.
For clarity, James and Leo are doing this at their own risk and all proceeds of photo sales go to them and not to Rat Race. We believe this is an excellent service, at a very keen price, from first-class photographers. It is of course not in any way compulsory.The guys will shoot on all the bike, raft and trekking stages.
At the rime of booking, on our website and within our introductory email on 17th April we made clear that your purchase is non-refundable. But up until 12 weeks prior to departure, you may use our transfer system if you wish to withdraw from the event. Within 12 weeks prior to departure, we regret that we cannot provide any transfers and this window is closed. We respectfully remind all participants that unforeseen circumstances preventing attendance is what travel insurance is designed for and is the reason for this as a strong recommendation on such undertakings.
For the avoidance of doubt, the final day for transfers for the 5th August departure is 13th May 2023 and for 13th August departure is 21st May 2023. If you wish to transfer, please email Olivia on or before this date and you may use our transfer system to do so. Alternatively, you can transfer directly via our online transfer page HERE. This is a HARD deadline as we must go firm on all aspects of our planning at his stage; so please do not be offended if we refuse any request after this time.y
CONTACT DETAILS AND ACTIONS CHECK LIST
To facilitate the very best support for you whilst embarked on the event, we have prepared some contact information below that should assist you and loved ones both before departure and then throughout your Event experience in Iceland. Please find a series of phone numbers and email addresses and instructions on which is to be used; and for what. Finally, we have included an action check-list so you may tick off the pre-event jobs arising from this Essential Event Information document.
1.) For ALL pre-event email correspondence prior to departure:
email@example.com - Challenge-based questions, kit, training, route, prep
firstname.lastname@example.org - Admin-based questions
email@example.com - Medical-based advice or discussion on medical conditions in confidence
2.) For specific arrivals and pre-trip issues to Iceland in the immediate day’s pre-arrival – We ask that you use the Facebook group in the first instance and assistance shall be provided by a team member best placed to assist. You will also be issued phone numbers for this arrivals period which will be issued much nearer the time.
3.) Emergency correspondence from people who need to get in touch with you (i.e. from those who need to contact you) IN EMERGENCY ONLY while you are embarked on the event: firstname.lastname@example.org
The originator should quote ‘Emergency correspondence for (your name)’ in the email title and they must provide a phone number for return comms. This will be patched through to our crew’s mobile phones, (or satellite messaging platform if we are out of reception) from our office and a satellite phone will be made available for you to return the comms to the originator. We would aim to provide a suitable response period of within 24 hrs for this service to the originator. Please, please, please do tell your family and supporters not to contact us about Tracker Emergencies!
FINAL CHECK LIST
Submitted no later than the 30th June.
Submitted no later than the 30th June.
1900 UK Time - 15th June
That’s it. Pheeeww! See you in Iceland…