Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dash for the Cash

An Honest to doG Sled Dog Race

I got off work right on time, and made a mad dash home, hoping to be able to reach the Two Rivers checkpoint in time to check out the leading teams.  I was too late to catch Dallas Seavey and Ken Anderson, but I was able to watch Sebastian Schnuelle as he prepared his dogs and launched his team.  The dogs look great, but poor Sab looks like he was shot at and missed, the crapped at and hit.  He's taken a beating in this race, and readily proclaims it the most grueling Yukon Quest he's ever run.  

Sebastian Schnuelle Preparing to Hit the Trail

Grueling or not, he obviously came here to race.  Dallas Seavey left the checkpoint at 12:40, Ken Anderson at 12:53, and Sab launched right on time at 1:26.  By the time I got home shortly after 4:00 Live Tracking showed that Sebastian had caught up to Anderson.  After feeding my dogs and scooping the yard (and giving everyone extra hugs and pets), Sab had left Anderson behind.  

I headed up to Two Rivers Lodge for my supper, and now I see that Sebastian has been consistently gaining ground on the much younger racer, and is less than 2 miles behind him.  They are about 2 miles from where the trail drops down onto the Chena River.  Meanwhile Ken Anderson is 6 or more miles behind, at the base of Jenny M Creek hill.  

Brent Sass was just starting to prepare his team when I left the checkpoint, and he launched as scheduled at 4:00.  He's running about 20 miles behind Ken, and I doubt the trail is long enough to permit him to catch up.  At the speed the two front running teams are going, I'd guesstimate that a winner will cross the finish line shortly after midnight.  I gave thought to driving down to watch, but I'm just too tired to muster the energy to do so.

Kelley Griffin arrived at the Two Rivers checkpoint at 7:27 this evening and will eligible to leave at 3:27 in the morning.  She'll probably get to see one last sunrise on the trail before arriving in town.  Allen Moore is on his way, and is currently about an hour and 1/2 out.  Dave Dalton, Jodi Bailey and Mike Ellis all left the Circle City checkpoint about mid-morning.  All three are past the bad overflow on Birch Creek and approaching the checkpoint at Central.  Thus far, no one has scratched or been withdrawn today.

There are still no details being released regarding the death of Hugh Neff's dog, Geronimo, and surprisingly little speculation among the mushers I encountered today.  

It's another clear, cold night.  The temperature in Fairbanks is currently minus-22, and here at the house in Two Rivers it is minus-24.  I've had a pretty busy day, and I'm fading fast.  Barely able to keep my eyes open, so I'm going to let Torus and Grace in for the night, and hit the rack.  

See you in the mornin'.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks again - have sure enjoyed this race from afar - maybe one of these days...