I'm planning to take my team out for a run later this afternoon. We got about a 1/2 inch of new snow. It's not a lot, but it will help put some padding between the dog's paws and hardpack on the trail and perhaps make it a bit easier to drive the sled, especially if I elect to take them over the "Swamp Trail".
Meanwhile, I'm LOVING this race. Does it show?
Since my last update Gerry Willomitzer, Ken Anderson, Sonny Lindner, Brent Sass and Abbie West have all left the Circle checkpoint and are out on the river. According to the Quest Facebook page Josh Cadzow and Dave Dalton were feeding their teams in preparation to launch about half an hour or so ago.
The Live Tracker seems to working more accurately this morning, and it shows Hugh Neff has recently passed Zach Steer, with Lance Mackey, Hans Gatt and Ken Anderson all making good time upstream, just trotting along at between 7 and 8 mph.
Because each musher establishes his or her own "run/rest schedule", we can expect to see a lot of passing back and forth through most of the race. The general feeling among mushers is that sled dogs need to rest just as long as they run, though some recent performances have called this rule of thumb into question. Most mushers run long distance races in five or 6 hour segments, running 5 or 6 and then stopping to rest a more or less equal amount of time.
Some of the front runners in this race are experimenting with shorter schedules, running for only 4 hours before resting for 3 or 4 hours. Zack Steer and Ken Anderson are among them.
Here is a cute note on the YQ Facebook page, sent by Hans Gatt's girlfriend, Susie Rogan: "One last thing! If any of you trail officials see Gerry Willomitzer, maybe you could tell him he has 5 new pups as of Saturday just after the Quest start. All are healthy and the mom is happy, everything went well. Born on the day of the Quest start!" So, here is an example of the modern version of the old 'Mukluk Telegraph' at work.
Not much else to share at the moment. I'm sure I'll have more to write later.