Sunday, February 5, 2012

Easing Into the Day

It's about 6:30 as I start typing, and I've been up for about half an hour.  The puppies are outside having been rushed down the stairs, through the garage and out into their pen.  I can't believe they let me sleep almost 8 hours before needing to go out, but the need was acute.  Little pink paws hit the tail and little gray mottled tails pointed skyward nearly simultaneously.

Now I'm relaxed in front of the glowing screen, enjoying that first wonderful cup of coffee of the morning.  I just looked at the thermometer and it's reading an almost balmy +14 degrees F (- 9.4 C).  I'm easing into the day, which is a luxury in which I frequently indulge.

Of course during a Yukon Quest race week, easing into the day includes checking out the current standings, live tracking and news media to try to mentally envision what is happening out there on the race trail.

This morning comparing the standing with the live tracking gives me a picture of who came out to race versus those with less lofty goals in mind.

Abbie West's big smile captured by Scott Chesney at the start of the 2012 Yukon Quest

Based on that combination of data, it appears our top-11 mushers thus far in the race include Brent Sass, Sonny Lindner, Allen Moore, Hugh Neff, Jake Berkowitz, Dave Dalton and Kristi Berington and Lance Mackey are all up at Mile 101 dog drop, arriving in that order.  Approaching the dog drop from Rosebud Summit, the live tracking feature shows Mike Ellis, Kyla Durham and Abbie West rapidly approaching.  These 11 mushers all people with experience and are all well positioned for the long trek to Whitehorse.

The only other musher in the race to have topped Rosebud thus far is Joar Ulsom.  There is also a small group of mushers still hanging out at the Two Rivers checkpoint, who are obviously out for a long, supported camping trip.  I'm rather disappointed that this group includes the musher from Chotkotka with his traditional Chukchi dogs, Michael Telpin.  I was hoping that his 9 big coastal dogs would give us more of a show.  Telpin may be suffering a personal issue, though.  At the Quest start banquet I noticed he had a very obvious limp as he moved across the room to draw for his bib number.  I believe he may be mushing in spite of a significant lower extremity injury.

Here at the house, Tiffany is handling for Quest 300 musher Jimmy Lebling so I will soon be wandering over to let her pet dogs out for a bit, and give them some food and fresh water.  I'll do that while the feed for my dogs is soaking so I can do dog chores in a somewhat organized manner.  I'm planning to run at least 1 team of my own dogs later today. 

So, it's now 7 o'clock, I've donned clothing for the day, and it's time for me to stop easing along and start some significant motion toward another beautiful day playing with dogs at the Stardancer Historical Sled Dogs kennel.

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