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.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

YQ: The SPK Black Team’s March To Braeburn

I imagine many of you were nervous yesterday afternoon when Allen stopped to rest at Carmacks and Brent blew through the checkpoint. I know I was.

Allen rested his team the full 4-hour amount according to his strategy before setting off in pursuit of Brent, despite what must have been a very strong urge to hit the trail and not fall too far behind. It looks like that has proved to be an excellent decision, typical of Allen’s wisdom and experience both with his dogs and on the Yukon Quest.

It wasn’t a very fast run, but it was steady. As you can see on the summary plot below, the team made consistent progress, slowing slightly on the uphills and speeding up slightly on the downhills. Such was the team’s march to Braeburn.

As you know, the team arrived in Braeburn this morning and are well into their 8-hour mandatory rest. That may not sound like a lot, but it is plenty for SPK dogs to recharge, refuel and be ready for the last run of about 65 miles to the finish line.

Quite honestly, Allen is almost certainly feeling the worst of the bunch, but he’s as tough as they come and will certainly rally to the occasion. Allen’s primary focus is always on the dogs, but he’s also a staunch competitor who wants his team to do the very best they can. I’m sure we're all looking forward to the team's next march to the finish line!

On a separate note, I’m concerned for and about Brent. Through much of the night, he and Allen kept pace, with Allen inching ahead over the course. Brent suddenly stopped his team about 15 miles short of the checkpoint and stayed there for quite a while.

I can’t conjure up any tactical reason to stop so long just short of a mandatory 8-hour rest, so my thoughts run to him having some problem. There are many things that can happen on the trail: A dog can get loose and be hard to recover; a team can lose confidence and balk at a steep hill; a musher can have an accident and be physically impaired.

I hope none of those things have happened to Brent. He has run an amazing race and deserves to finish in good form. Perhaps someone will run out from Braeburn on a snow machine to check on him. I’m sure there are many of us who would like to know he’s okay.


Anonymous said...

Mac thanks again for your analysis. we all hope there is word soon on Brent.
padee santa rosa

Anonymous said...

Looks like Hugh is about 9 miles away from Brent's location. He will be able to check out Brent's status.

Rest well Black Team & Allen!

Nessmuk said...

Mac....your insight on the race is so interesting...thanks a bunch with walking us though! I had the same concern about Brent as you do. I hope he is ok. As for the Black Team...Allen is quite the savvy Musher....I'm so happy his strategy paid off....he certainly deserves a big rest and some cinnamon buns!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Macgellan!

My money is on the accumulated effects of dehydration on the dogs, if there can be such a thing.

And as has been pointed out in other posts, the temperatures are extremely low (???)so maybe it is Brent who is having the problem?

As everyone else has said here already, we hope all competitors, 2 legged and 4 legged, come out of this challenge no the worse for wear!

Woof, woof, woof!!!


Melissa said...

Mac, what's your best guess for the estimated time Allen will take on that last run of about 65 miles?? Looking for an eta at the finish line. :)

Linda Toth said...

Yes, when I heard the news from my daughter this morning, I felt very sad. I had seen Allen take the slight lead and being up very early, seen when suddenly Brent started to fall behind and the largest separation (2 full miles) begin.

I support SPK, but Brent was running the best race of his YQ career and I hate to see it come to this.

Anonymous said...

I am following the race from switzerland and I am extreamly concerned about Brent. Do you informe us as soon as you get some news?

Dawn from Maine said...

Glad Allen is getting some sleep! I've been praying for Brent for the last couple of hours as I agree with you Mac--he just stopped--then went not even a mile and stopped again. Looks like Hugh is about 2 miles from him now. Anxious to know he's alright.

Paula Nations Medlin said...

So proud of Allen and teams...Woo Hoo, Go Allen Go!!

marilyn cozzens said...

Ditto to above posts. Thanks Mac for your expert analysis & insight. I hope Brent & his team are okay. Glad Allen is sticking to his strategy.

Anonymous said...

We're with you, looking so good, so Allen... and wondering about Brent... hope it's just a gps glitch?
Yea, SPK, great job, we're watching!

Christian Ploetz said...

Thank you for posting in this great way.