TR Super Poster
Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Location: Bowen Island/Vancouver, BC
|Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:52 pm Post subject: A Guide to Your First TransRockies - Pt 12 Safety
|This is part of a 12-installment series that I'm writing for the TR. These are my opinions and are based on my experiences over the last 5 years doing the TR. Obviously your mileage will vary and you need to make sure that my opinions and recommendations suit you. If you have any questions speak up. I'll be happy to give you my 2 cents worth. (As will lots of other folks.)
Part 12 - Safety
We're in the middle of nowhere riding long hard days. Well guess what, things happen and we all need to be prepared.
With 600 riders pushing themselves in hard technical terrain it is inevitable that accidents will happen. People will get injured and it is up to all riders to make sure that they can help their partner, and themselves, if things go a bit "pear shaped". These are a few of the essential things to carry with you. With luck you may not need them, but as the Boy Scouts says, "Be prepared". Remember, these items may be even more useful to you during those long training rides, where a first class rescue/medical team isn't necessarily monitoring you!
? A whistle. In the event that you get into trouble and need to call for help a whistle is the best option. The international distress signal is three short blasts. While you can't call for help for hours, you can blow a whistle indefinitely. The Fox whistles, a great Canadian invention, are light, plastic, "pealess", and just about indestructible. Clip one on your hydration pack and with any luck you'll never need it.
? Matches or a lighter. If you are cold and wet, a fire is great. Also, in the unlikely event that you are lost the smoke will tell a search party where you are. But remember, it is summer time and it can get very dry. If you do need to start a campfire make sure it does not get out of hand.
? Emergency blanket. These things weigh next to nothings and are wind and waterproof. If your partner gets injured, wrapping them up in the blanket can mean the difference between discomfort and hypothermia.
? A flashlight. It does not need to be huge, I bring a little LED light, but if out are stuck out after dark it gives you something to signal with.
? Pressure/triangular bandages. These have been a staple in first aid kits for years. You can use them as a pressure bandage on a wound, or craft a sling or splint. Your use of these will be greatly aided by a wilderness first aid course.
? Pay attention to your partner. Everyone will be hot and tired and the risk of dehydration is high. I've had partners get dehydrated on more than one occasion. You must make sure they are drinking and sweating. The biggest problem with dehydration is that by the time you think it is a problem you're often too late. You have to drink before you are thirsty and keep drinking all day long. (And all evening and night too.)
? Pay attention to the route designers. Al and Pat's course descriptions are vital. Every year someone does not pay attention to the warnings about cross ditches and wipes out.
? Pay attention to Drew Parker. Drew's crew of medics have a ton of experience with the TR. When they tell you to drink a lot, drink a lot. You really donít want to be waiting for them to stick a saline drip in your arm.
? Check in. If you don't check in at an aid station, or the finish, the organizers will send out a search party. If you need to drop out make sure that someone knows where you are, what problems you have, and what you plan to do. If you get lost the best advice is always to stay put. A search party will have a much harder time finding a "moving target".
? Have fun. The TR is my favourite seven days of racing/riding each year. I am so excited about this year's TR. I'm expecting things to be even better. I'm really excited about the Ambassador Program and I'm looking forward to seeing friends, old and new, on the trails.
So, there you have it. My advice for all it is worth. I hope that this is useful.