Trying to follow the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog race while simultaneously doing a credible job here at work has been a test of divided attention, and for the most part work had to win out over recreation. I was able to check the leaderboard and live tracker a few times today, though.
As I write, leader Hugh Neff has been resting his team at the Scroggie Creek dog drop for some time now, two or three hours at least. Meanwhile, Allen Moore is marching on up the trail, and is currently only 20 miles or so behind Neff. In third place, Jake Burkowitz is about 15 miles behind Allen, and still has all 14 dogs on the gang line. Brent Sass is about 20 miles behind Jake. That gives a spread of 55 miles between first and fourth place. It sounds like a lot, but at this point in the race it really isn't so much. A lot can happen over the course of the next. From Scroggie Creek, the next checkpoint is Dawson City, 100 miles distant and the half-way mark of the race. These teams still have a good 600 miles of racing ahead.
Lance Mackey seems to be having some issues with his all male team. He has now dropped 5 dogs, leaving Pelly Crossing with only 9 dogs on his gangline. Given he's that short handed, I can't imagine a scenario in which he might somehow come from behind to be a contender in this year's event. I'm sure he's incredibly disappointed. His boys just don't much care for the warm weather and soft trail they've been trudging over.
Abbie West, on the other hand, still have all 14 of her dogs running and isn't so far back that she couldn't make a dash for the cash. Probably not a bid for the half-way money, but she certainly isn't out of the race.
This evening I reviewed some of the run times posted on the Quest site. Hugh has been averaging 9.4 miles per hour in between checkpoints, while Allen Moore has been averaging 10.9. In order to maintain his lead, Neff has been resting his team less than has Allen. That can have a big impact on the team's relative performance later in the race.
It looks like the weather is going to be pretty stable over the next few days, with temperatures higher than normal this time of year, and perhaps light snow showers off and on. It should be interesting to see how the teams progress as they make that final leg between Scroggie Creek and Dawson.