We are very happy to have both teams on the trail now! Phew!
The start line in Fairbanks was moved to 2nd Avenue this year due to some concerns about the river and it turned out to be an inspired idea! It was well organised and well executed and was great for the fans and supporters to get up close to the mushers and dogs while they were getting ready to go.
The SP camp was relaxed yet focussed and as the time grew closer for the Black team to leave, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, got their game faces on… handlers, musher and every single dog. These dogs are professionals and it really showed: at the truck they were not screaming to go nor nervously circling or panting - they were calm, focussed and serious. Some of them enjoyed some quiet words, an ear scratch or a kiss on the nose and others preferred to just chill quietly. They each have their on personalities and quirks.
The Black Team's promotional booties; Puppet-dawg shows off her promo booties
Boondocks, for example, sometimes needs baby-sitting once she is bootied. Boonie is a smart little dog and likes to keep her mind occupied and we think she finds booties a great puzzle to be solved. They don't bother her but she has a tendency to try to remove them as soon as they are on. We asked Linda Steiner (from Clarion Suites in Anchorage) to please baby-sit to make sure she didn't remove them!
Linda baby-sits Boondocks; Allen's start bib
Once we started to hook the dogs up their excitement went up a notch and once at the start line they took off like they knew they have a job to do. It was exciting to watch and gives me chills thinking about it. They were ready!
I'm working on some video from the start line and I also caught the Black team mushing by the Pleasant Valley Store, just a few miles from home, so I'll get that up as soon as possible. I'm also hoping for some pics and/or footage from Aliy's YQ300 start so keep an eye out for that.