Instructions for the Virtual YRQ

You can’t paddle the Yukon River Quest this year. Here is an alternative: the Yukon Pretend Quest. You get to paddle against other people while maintaining social distancing and then some: you will be paddling against people who might be on the other side of the world.

The Yukon Pretend Quest is 704 Km long. The Yukon Pretend Half Quest is 301.5 Km long. They way they work is this: Over a period of four days or less you paddle 352 Km (and a bit to be safe) on your favourite lake (or one you are prepared to come to hate after you’ve done this) That’s half 704 Km. We multiply the distance by 2 when mapping on to the Yukon River. We want you to submit tracks that are on a closed loop on a lake. Not having the River help you makes 704 Km a bit arduous. You can stop at night: we know that most places do not have the amount of light we have in the summer. But you must track using your GPS, and the whole “race” must end up in one track in your device. It can be multiple track segments, but must be one track.

Note: the system will use the "chord length" between each point in your track. That means that if your track is very bendy or if the tracking interval is long the calculated distance will short-change you. So best advice is to set your GPS to record your location at the highest rate it can (compatible with storage abd battery limitations).

Once you have the track, you can upload it to the “race”. You register your team just like you would for the real River Quest (some of the questions are a bit spurious for the pretend race, but that’s part of the pretend, I suppose). Then you can upload your track. You can register first and come back to register the track later if you want. You can ask the system to use the entire track, or to start at some specific time. That’s so you can sort out the GPS, get yourself all sorted then go. Once the track is uploaded, it is mapped onto the Yukon River and points snapshotted every 15 minutes just like on the real River Quest. Your original track and the track on the Yukon are presented to you and you can at that point choose to use the track or not.

Once the track is uploaded, you can replay the pretend race with your track along side other “competitors”. The two races are the same except for the distance. The system expects the track to be in .gpx format. All modern GPS's use that format. If you are using an older GPS, you can use GPSBabel (to be found at to convert your track.

Half 704Km in 4 days means you have to paddle an average of 88Km per day. At 8kph that is 11 hours, at 7kph it is 12 hours 35 minutes. Obviously the further you paddle each day the better your position will be at the end of the race.

The Half race is half 301.5Km, 150.75Km. That’s almost 19 hours at 8 kph. That’s up lake Labarge and back 3 times plus up to Deep Creek and back. It could be done in a day, but more sane people will take a couple of days.