After the race start at Sheep Mountain Lodge -- and my time using their slow, but stable internet connection to edit and upload the previous posts -- I finished packing up the truck and drove about a half-hour down the road to the Eureka Checkpoint. My job as "handler" for the race is to scout the area, find the teams' parking places, recon where water, food, etc. are, then be prepared to help handle the dogs upon arrival and inform Allen and Aliy about what's what at the checkpoint. I arrived as the sun was setting and got this shot of their parking places just before it turned pitch black.
Allen had told me that his strategy was to start out a little easy, noting that the first part of the trail has a lot of hills and mushers who push their dogs too hard too fast suffer later on because their dogs don't have a chance to catch up on energy. Because of this, I was expecting Allen -- who started number 11 in the race -- to arrive in a modest position. So, I was caught quite by surprise when Allen was the third musher to arrive. In his first "taking it easy" portion of the race, he had already moved up eight places!
I hustled down the line just in time to help him park the dogs, then observe him go about his dog tending chores in his usual swift, sure and quiet manner. Based on this experience, though, I was paying close attention when Aliy arrived just 20 minutes later, and I was able to catch some decent night-video of her parking and dog tending.