Acute Medical IssueShortly after posting the update on today's earlier post I suffered an acute medical problem that sent me to town to be checked. It was one of those things that can range from "no big deal" to potentially life threatening. Even though I sure my case qualified as "no big deal", the healthcare worker who treats himself has a fool for a patient, so I elected to be seen by a friend, who is a physician's assistant at the Fairbanks Urgent Care Center. Jan confirmed my impression, gave me some sound advice, chatted about races and mushers and dogs and such, and then sent me on my way. It pretty much messed up my day, though. I was planning to run dogs, but it's wise for me to wait a day or two before doing so.
The Other Race this WeekendWhile the Yukon Quest mushers are mostly in Dawson City, enjoying the hospitality of their 36-hour lay-overs, another group consisting of many high profile dog mushers is launching on a middle distance adventure on the Denali Highway. The Denali Doubles race is the brainchild of Iditarod racer and multiple champion Jeff King, and has roots in historical tradition.
During the early 20th century freighting and mail hauling mushers frequently hauled astoundingly heavy loads behind their teams. These men often works in teams of two, with a musher controlling the sled with a gee-pole, and the swamper helping from the rear of the sled. In the Denali Doubles race, each team is managed by two people, and the rules allow for teams of as many as 20 dogs. According to the rules, " Single sled, Tandem sleds (drag sled), Gee Pole Sled, or sled and an attached skier are authorized team configurations. At no time can a team be changed into two separate units. Additional configurations must be cleared by Race Marshall prior to race start.
"The list of participants in this new race reads like a "Who's Who" of dog mushing. Basically, any top ranked musher not currently on the Quest trail has signed up for this race. My friends Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore have two teams entered in the race. You can read of their adventure in the race on their SP Kennel Blog, in the "Links to My Favorite Sites" column on the left. The full list of participants in the Denali Doubles race is available HERE. Jeff King has promised to post updates on his Husky Homestead Blog.
"Middle of Pack" Arriving in Dawson City
16 of the 24 Yukon Quest mushers have arrived in Dawson City for their mandatory 36 hour layovers. Race Leader Hans Gatt is eligible to return to the trail at 6:35 PST tomorrow morning. As the teams leave Dawson they face the formidable King Solomon's Dome and the longest stretch of trail between checkpoints, about 210 miles. We may be able to glean some information from an official dog-drop at Scroggie Creek or a hospitality stop at Stepping Stone. Much of the information will have to come from the Quest's "Live Tracking" feature, but as I'm sure you are aware by now, the SPOT data can be a bit spotty at times.
Trail conditions for the second half of the race are reported as being excellent, so we can expect to see some hard, fast racing for the next days. I'm very much looking forward to it.