Monday, February 11, 2013

The Dash for the Cash on the Quest Trail

It's 3:40 a.m. and I'm again sipping coffee and checking out the action on the Quest Trail.  Here's where things stand at the moment.

As expected, both Allen Moore and Hugh Neff left the Two Rivers check point as scheduled.  Allen's tracker has crapped out (DAMN those things), but Hugh Neff appears to be turning onto the baseline trail near Pleasant Valley Store.  According to a FaceBook post made about an hour ago, Allen crossed Chena Hot Springs Road at the 28 mile crossing at 1:51, and Hugh did so at about 2:40.  That means that Allen is actually leading the race by a pretty good margin.

Allen's wife, Aliy Zirkle, was the Yukon Quest champion in 2,000.  If Allen wins the race to Fairbanks, he and she will be the first husband/wife team to share championships in any of Alaska's long distance races.  Aliy remains the only woman thus far to win the Quest, and that's something I doubt Allen can match.

Brent Sass appears to have gained ground over Jake Berkowitz overnight, as well.  Brent checked in to the Two Rivers checkpoint at 11:50 last night, and Jake at 1:45.  This gives Brent nearly a two hour lead in the race for third and fourth places. 

Scott Smith is on the trail between Mile 101 and Two Rivers, running by himself.  No one else has yet arrived at Mile 101.  Normand Casavant, Markus Ingebretsen and Abbie West are all at Central and Dan Kaduce and Susan Rogan are out on Birch Creek. 

Some of Brent's handlers have posted video of him assisting Jake Berkowtiz' team over Eagle Summit.  It can be viewed at  We are likely to here more stories of mushers helping their fellow dog drivers before the end of the race.  It's one of those things that makes dog mushing such an interesting sport.  Even folks who are bitter rivals out on the trails will stop and lend a hand if it's needed. 

That's all I have for now.  I have one more full day here at work, and part of tomorrow.  Both are likely to be pretty busy on the job, but I'll try to keep an eye on the race and provide a reasonable report this evening.

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