Sunday, February 6, 2011

YQ Morning Report

Yukon Quest 300

As of 6:40 (AST), only the front-runners of the Yukon Quest 300 have arrived at the Braeburn checkpoint.  Gerry Willowmitzer led the charge, arriving at the checkpoint at 3:47 am (Yukon time, which is Pacific Standard Time), slightly more than half an hour ahead of Ed Hopkins.  Susie Rogan is currently in third place, followed by Matthias Beck, Dyan Bergen and Aliy Zirkle. 

The Big Quest

It looks like the on-line leaderboard for the Quest has been moved to a new page on the website.  Once I found it, I learned that Hugh Neff was first into the Braeburn checkpoint, and also first to leave.  He was followed out of the checkpoint by Sebastian Schnuelle, Wade Marrs, Brent Sass, Hans Gatt, Kelly Griffin, Ken Anderson, Michelle Phillps and Josh Cadzow making our early "Top-10". 

In between checkpoints we have to rely more on the Live Tracking feature, which isn't always as reliable as we might wish.  Sometimes mushers forget to reset their SPOT satellite messagers devices each day, and sometimes the devices just can't maintain a connection with the GPS satellites on which they rely.  That noted, it appears that Hugh Neff is indulging his need for speed, running roughly 10 miles or so ahead of Quest rookie Wade Marrs.  Hans Gatt seems to be cruising along just behind Marrs and is followed closely by Brent Sass, Michelle Phillips, Ken Anderson, Sebastian Schnuelle and Allen Moore. 

The trail between Braeburn and Carmacks is considered to be one of the more challenging runs in the Quest.  It is marked by narrow trails, creeks with potentially deep overflow, plenty of trees to bounce off of, long sections of frozen lakes, and the first taste of Yukon River jumble ice.  Don't be surprised if mushers arrive into Carmacks with broken sleds and battered bodies.

Once Quest officials in Braeburn have a chance to wake up and perhaps ingest a cup or two of coffee I imagine they'll update the leaderboard, giving us more of an idea what has happened as teams went through the first checkpoint of the race. 


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