Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Night in the Quest

It was a pretty quiet afternoon here at work, so I took advantage of the relative lull to catch up on some on-line training courses.  I got most of my requirements finished today, so I can claim it was pretty productive.

Hans Gatt finished his required 4 hour layover in Eagle at 4:21 this afternoon, but gave his dogs an additional hour of rest and left town at 5:30.  I'm thinking his team was probably pretty tired after slogging over American Summit in poor weather.  Brent Sass actually arrived in Eagle before Hans, but the current standings show he is still there. Though the leaderboard doesn't show it yet, Live Tracking indicates that Brent Sass is also on the trail, moving at about the same pace as Hans. 

Gwen Holdman writes that Brent is one of those guys who actually loves the challenges of bad weather in the far north.  I'm not surprised, given his "wild and free" approach to live and general, and dog mushing in particular.  I can see him now, standing tall in the teeth of the gale, shouting a hearty "Hi-ho Silver, away!"  Oh, Silver really is his favorite leader's name, and Sass and Silver have faced many a hard winter blow head-on together.  

Ken Anderson and Sebastian Schnuelle have also rested longer than their mandatory time.  I suspect they may be planning on leaving together in a group.  Allen Moore and Dallas Seavey are both eligible to leave as I write, so it's possible this 'gang of four" could leave as a group and perhaps swap out trail breaking duty as they make their way to Slaven's Cabin dog drop. 

The temperatures hasn't quite dropped out of the bottom of the thermometer yet, though it is forecast to do so overnight.  When I checked about 5 minutes ago the temperature at Eagle was minus-6 degrees F.  It's forecast to drop as low as minus-21 tonight, and be down into the minus-30 range tomorrow night.

I doubt anyone is even thinking about trying to catch Hugh Neff, who has a huge lead over these teams.  Live Tracking showed that Hugh was stopped about 43 miles down river from Eagle for quite a long while today, but he's currently moving at about 6 1/2 miles per hour.  This gives him a lead of about 7 or 8 hours of running time. Still, it is a dog race and strange things happen out on those trails this time of year. 

It's close to rack time for me.  I'll be up before 4 a.m. to start another day here in the White Mountains, checking up on the race as I can.  Since I'll be getting off duty Tuesday morning, I can boast that I'm almost short, though I won't proclaim myself a true short-timer until Sunday night.  I'm looking forward to going home to spend some time with my dogs before heading to Los Anchorage for my annual paramedic refresher training. 

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