SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Story So Far

Our team, both canine and human, has been in Dawson for about 16 hours now and have all eaten like horses and rested well. The number of steaks and eggs Allen has eaten since 3pm yesterday would blow your mind! Although I think Quito is challenging him for the title of "Greatest Meat-Eater in Dawson."

Allen said, on the whole, the trail has been good with just few sections of soft, fresh snow, a little overflow and some windblown patches. He said the trail breakers have done a really good job. The hardest part has been actually getting into Dawson checkpoint up the riverbank as it was really slick.

He considers the temperatures to be pretty good right now for mushing, it was a bit too warm further south in Whitehorse and there was a danger of dogs dehydrating but as they have moved north it has cooled down a bit. The forecast for later in the week, however, is for it to warm up again.

Allen said a unique feature of this race is with the long distances between checkpoints, and particularly when they run the trail in this direction, you have to be prepared for all weather conditions. He is carrying dog coats and extra clothing for himself in case the temperature plummets, extra booties to deal with wet overflow and, of course, enough meals and snacks for the dogs and himself to keep energy levels high. The snacks he is carrying for the team vary greatly also; in the warmer weather the dogs prefer leaner meats with higher water content, for example salmon whereas if it is colder they prefer fattier snacks such as poultry skins and fatty beef.

One thing Allen is particularly pleased about right now is that all the dogs are eating really, really well. It is bad news if dogs stop eating as their energy levels drop, they lose weight and it can become difficult for them to continue. Everyone, with no exception, is eating all he puts in front of them and when it is time for their big meals during longer rest breaks he will keep feeding them as much as they will eat; until they start to refuse. In some cases that is A LOT of Eagle Pack kibble and snacks. We are seeing that here is Dawson also (with both canine and human) which makes us all happy.

Allen believes the change to the route, eliminating American Summit and cutting 50 miles from the trail will be significant but, in typical Allen Moore fashion he says "Oh well, it is what it is". There has also been another change to the rules this year making the layover here in Dawson 40 hours instead of the usual 36. This is to take into account this alteration of the route and the fact that the frontrunners are travelling pretty quickly, logistically it would be more difficult than usual to get race officials, vets, volunteers etc in all the different places at once. This will make the team's leaving time 7.09am Thursday.

The timetable for today for the dogs includes more food, sleep and massages with Algyval. We will also stretch them out a bit by walking them around the dog lot. They will start getting restless by this afternoon and evening so we need to get them moving a little.

All-in-all, Allen is happy with his race so far and he is looking forward to getting back out on the trail, after a little more rest and a few more steaks!


Macgellan said...

Good appetite is the best news!... Excellent update... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I will be having some serious SP Kennel withdrawal when this is all over. But then we can look forward to getting amped up again for the Iditarod!


Linda Toth said...

Ah that Quito - what a woman, er bitch (In the correct and proper use of the word).

How is happy spirit, Scooter?

Moosekahl said...

keep the munchies coming!

Lisa B said...

Rules question - do the dogs that Allen dropped have to stay on the truck with Ray and Moira for the entire rest of the race, or can they be dropped off at the kennel when the truck goes near it on the way to Circle City? Or perhaps Ryne was able to take them when she left Pelly with all the YQ300 dogs????

I can understand if it's a rule that must be followed and they have to be present at the finish line or something, but since all the handlers have to drive back on through Whitehorse anyway it's kind of silly that Susie's or Normand's dogs can't go "home".

It's not a question of excellent care the dogs will get from the handlers on the truck, which I know they will, but just if there is an opportunity for them to get back to their home kennels before the race ends.

Thanks again for all the updates and taking time away from caring for the Black Team dogs to give us content for the DogLog. No rush on the answer to above question.

Anonymous said...

I would think that dogs who have been signed out by vets are officially out of the race, so they can go home (don't they do that on Iditarod?)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if everyone would have raced differently had they known the layover was going to be 40 hours instead of 36.

Linda Toth said...

To answer Lisa B.'s question,
it is all a matter of logistics rather than rules. Once a dog is signed out of the race, they are no longer required to be in any specific location. In the case of SPK dogs, those who have been dropped prior to Allen leaving Dawson will return to SPK. Once the handlers reconnect with the team in Circle City, if he drops any dogs at that point, they may stay in the truck until Allen leaves Mile 101, if no one from the kennel is around to return them home sooner. That is when teams go off road to summit Rosebud before descending near Chena Hot Springs.

Lisa B said...

Thanks - I know with the Idit that they go "home" via flying to Anchorage or Nome and getting picked up by designated contacts. It was just that the twist of having handlers at nearly every checkpoint with dog trucks made me wonder if YQ expected them to stay with the handlers the whole time.

It seemed logical to me that given the opportunity (i.e. driving past your hometown, or having other kennel folks who can come pick up the dogs) that the dogs should be able to return to their kennels rather than remain on the truck, but just wasn't 100% sure.

Bob Crane said...

Thanks for the update, all that talk about steak and eggs is getting me ready for a big breakfast.

Lourdes, VT said...

I wish there was a 'Nobel Prize' for Mushing!!! If there was, you guys would winn it, ALL OF YOU, mushers, DOGS, of course, and handlers!!! Definitelly, paws down!!! :) :) :)