As promised, I crashed relatively early last night, and slept soundly for the most part. Something must have been moving around in the woods around here last night, as Chinook woke me about 3 am with his barking. Whatever it was must have been small, because Chinook quit when I called his name and asked him to be quiet. It it were a moose or wolf all of the dogs would have been going off.
At our last update, the four front-runners were sitting around the stove at the Eagle checkpoint bantering about and waiting to see who would blink to start the dash over American Summit and down the Fortymile River. Well, Zach Steer blinked, starting the rush out of the town. Zach started the run at 6:18, followed by Hans Gatt at 6:21, Lance Mackey at 6:22 and Hugh Neff at 6:23. According to the Live Tracker data, it appears that Hugh Neff and Lance Mackey have crossed the Canadian border, have come off the Fortymile, and are currently at the junction of the Fortymile and Yukon. According to the data they haven't moved in a while, so I think they are camping and resting their dogs for the run down to Dawson City. Hans and Zach are spaced out pretty well behind the two leaders but are nonetheless well along the way on the Fortymile. This could easily become a 4-team race for the gold.
The remainder of the top 10 teams appear to have all cleared American Summit and are either on or are approaching the Fortymile. They include Sonny Lindner, Brent Sass, Ken Anderson, Gerry Willomitzer, Abbie West and Josh Cadzow.
In the middle of the pack, Quest veterans Dave Dalton and Kelly Griffen have the potential to move up into the top 10 should an opportunity arise. If either Brent Sass, Abbie West or Josh Cadzow have to drop more dogs it might create that opportunity. These three teams have been plagued by recurring injuries that forced them to drop more dogs from their teams than they would have liked, according to an article in this morning's edition of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
With the exception of a trip to the post office to mail off some Nor' West Company orders this afternoon I plan to stay home today. Since I plan to run dogs with a friend tomorrow I'll let my team rest today. We haven't been training enough this year to ask them to do two days in a row, especially since I'm not sure how far or fast we will be running while chasing my buddy's teams. For now, I need to go out and give them some breakfast and some lovin'. I imagine I'll post an update later or perhaps this evening. Who knows, at the pace the leaders are setting I may even be able to boast of the first team into the half-way point in Dawson City.