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!