Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday Morning News from the Trail.

Part of my early morning routine while at work is to read the local news on the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website.  The paper sends a reporter out to cover the race and usually has something of interest to share.  This morning is no exception.

Yesterday I reported that Christina Traverse, a rookie in the race, was withdrawn.  Apparently she fell ill while en-route to Dawson and used the "help" function on her spot tracker to request assistance.  She was taken to Whitehorse for care, and is reported to be doing well.

In a comment on last night's blog entry, Aussie Alaskan noted that there is a difference between gastric volvulus and intestinal volvulus.  She is correct.  Gastric volvulus, most frequently associated with bloat, occurs when an active full stomach twists inside the dog, blocking off the blood supply as the juncture of the stomach and small intestine.  In intestinal volvulus, which is quite rare, a portion of the small intestine flips.  The physiology of the injury remains the same.  It blocks the circulation of blood to a portion of the intestine causing cellular death (necrosis).  If not diagnosed and surgically corrected in a very short time, it is invariably fatal. 

Quest head veterinarian Kathleen McGill said " the cause of the condition, which causes severe bleeding, is unknown and that it’s unclear if the stress of the race was a contributor.
“It could have happened during the race, it could have happened in the truck, it could have happened at home on the couch,” she said.  A more detailed tissue sample analysis will be completed in four to six weeks, McGill said."

There is only one major change in the Quest leader-board this morning. My friend Abbie West has left the Eagle checkpoint, as has Susan Rogan.  According to data presented in the live tracker, Allen Moore is running about 13 miles ahead of second place musher Hugh Neff, and is about half-way between the Slaven's Cabin dog drop and the checkpoint at Circle.  Jake Berkowitz and Brent Sass appear to be resting at Slaven's.  Scott Smith, in fifth place, is about 18 miles out from the dog drop.  He is followed by Marcus Ingebretsen in sixth, and Abbie West in seventh place and Susan Rogan in eighth.  Normand Casavant and Dan Kaduce round up the top 10.

Apparently we can look forward to some exciting racing today.  In an interview, Brent Sass and Scott Smith have both promised us some head turning action as a result of their racing strategies.  Smith has already made one big move, racing from Dawson to Eagle without stopping to camp in order to gain some serious ground.  I have no idea what they might be planning for the next leg of the race, I can't imagine how one might do anything particularly spectacular with negotiating the endlessly meandering trail on Birch Creek between Circle and Central, so I imagine I'll be as surprised as everyone else. Brent said he is planning a new strategy for the race between Eagle and Fairbanks that he believes will help improve his position in the race.

Meanwhile, it's time for me to shower, shave and prepare for the work day. 

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