I am taking part in the Ice Run (http://www.theadventurists.com/the-adventures/ice-run) in February. My team mate has sadly had to drop out... is anyone interested in a bit of a cold adventure. There are about 10 teams taking part. To date I have already driven to Mongolia (From Ireland, home); Driving a Tuk Tuk from northern India to Southern Idea. As well as other trips here and there.
The trip in summary:
Taking part in a small group of people driving from Irbit (southern Russia) to Salkhard in the Arctic Circle. Its about 2,000Km. The only way to drive there is over a frozen river as there are no roads, hence why we have to go in February (mid winter). It will get pretty cold... sometimes -45 or so.
It will take about 2 weeks.
Let me know if you are interested.
The only advantage to having a partner is to split the cost - it's an expensive trip - and to help push/dig in case you get stuck.... otherwise that Ural will handle WAY better with only you driving and the extra storage room in the sidecar will be a Godsend for extra safety provisions while travelling in that environment.
I've done lots of motorcycle ice-racing including hardcore endurance races covering almost 2,000 km. but I don't think I'd want to be in Siberia during the winter on an air cooled Ural... good luck!
PS Investigate helmets.... many racers use motocross style helmets with goggles to prevent fogging... that's fine for short track racing but since you'll be living in you helmet for hours/days at a time you might want to consider a full-face totally enclosed helmet for more protection from frostbite. With a good balaclava you should be toasty warm inside, but fogging will be an issue.
I'm a heavy breather so for long distance endurance racing I have a snorkel that covers my nose/mouth and I exhale/inhale through the snorkel's inlet/outlet tube at the back of my helmet. It sounds ungainly but it keeps me warm, no issue with frostbite and most importantly no fogging/icing on the visor... Might be overkill for most people but I also wear glasses (no contacts) so it's super important that my glasses and visor stay completly ice free.
No matter what you choose be sure to test it beforehand... get in the back of a buddy's pick-up truck and stick your head into a cold winter wind for 20 minutes driving at 80 km/hr just to be sure you can still see...
You're going to have a gas.
You seem to have a good bit of experience under your belt alright. It is going to be cold, but from what I've heard it is amazing once you are up there. Am looking for a team buddy, because for these kind of trips it is always good to have four sets of hands rather than 2!
I will definitely look into getting the right helmet.
One advantage you have over an ice racer is that you can wear just about anything... you can dress up as the Michelin Man and still be completely comfortable sitting upright on the Ural. The only issue will be boots... you might not be able to shift with big Sorels on (standard boot style for super cold temperatures) but who knows, I've never driven a Ural outfitted for cold weather driving.
I see the organizers supply your outerwear... I'm too anal to trust that, personally I'd be shopping for a nice one piece snowmobile suit and some fleece/wool layering underneath.
Never forget that wind chill is the killer here. Hit up your local motocross/enduro motorcycle store and buy the biggest bushwhacking hand protectors you can find... getting your hands out of the wind will be a HUGE help in allowing your mitts/gloves to keep your fingers warm. Also, bring some pliable plastic sheeting and mount it around the carburetors and in front of your knees, etc. Bring a shitload of plastic zip-ties to hold all this stuff in place.
Bring some gas line antifreeze for the really cold days and throw it in the tank when you're filling up. A little insulation to wrap around the gas line wouldn't hurt either.
No clue what kind of cables the Ural uses, but unless they're stainless steel sealed in a teflon liner then consider some cold weather lube like Purple Extreme. I see you're riding crappy old school Urals - not the modern ones - so I'm betting the throttle/brake cables are a major weak point in the cold weather.
The more I think about this the more fun it sounds.
Oh, and a recovery/tow strap (not chain) at least 6 metres long, haha...