Overnight, Allen and the Black Team were first into the Mile 101 checkpoint, arriving 15 minutes ahead of Cody Strathe and 42 minutes ahead of Hugh Neff. I reprise my caution that it is way too early in this very long race to read much into that, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be at the front of the pack!
Allen has elected to take his first mandatory rest at the Mile 101 checkpoint. It may seem odd to use the words “elected” and “mandatory” in the same sentence, but you can chalk that up to its being just one of the complexities of this race.
According to the race rules, each musher must take a mandatory 4-hour rest at either Mile 101 or Central, whichever they elect according to their run/rest schedules and overall race strategy. That explains why Brent Sass arrived at Mile 101 about 3-hours after Allen but blew through and went on to Central. He will take his first mandatory rest there… Got it?
Mandatory checkpoint rests are important in long-distance racing because they are when veterinarians can be assured of having time to carefully examine all the dogs. There are four mandatory checkpoint rests on the YQ, and I have noted them on the trail map:
Unlike the CB300 where top teams take only the mandatory minimum amount of checkpoint rests, they will take much, much more rest at various points along the YQ trail. They will also take different amounts of total rest, based entirely on their relative strategies, style, fitness, etc.
This is why, frankly, there’s no point in keeping a running spreadsheet on the teams. A team may take more total rest than others, but run faster in between. Or, they may take more short rests that total less overall time. In my opinion, we won’t really know much about the teams’ relative speed until the very long mandatory rest at approximately the half-way point in Dawson. (Even then it will still be a crap shoot!)
There’s a lot more to say about the mandatory 36-hour rest in Dawson, but I’ll save that -- and a number of other notes/analysis -- for future posts.
Meanwhile, the tracker shows Aliy and the Red Team leading the YQ300 pack as it approaches the Mile 101 checkpoint. There is a mandatory 2-hour stop for them there, and another mandatory 6-hour stop at Circle. They will take more rest along the way, obviously, and there’s just no telling who will do what.
Basically, the YQ300 is impossible to evaluate until the teams arrive in Circle and complete their long mandatory rest before sprinting back to the finish line in Central. That said, however, it’s obviously a good sign that Aliy is leading the pack!
Bottom line for your morning update: Both SPK teams are looking great!