We’ve seen both teams out of Sourdough checkpoint on their way to Mendeltna checkpoint.
First things first: Drop Dog Update – Olivia and Mismo are with us in the truck. Both dogs have the same issue as Dutch: tight triceps, and Allen and Aliy were so disappointed to lose them from their teams. I asked one of the vet team if there might be a reason for the same issue in all three and he suggested that the particular snow conditions can make some sections a little slippy and Dutchman, Big O and Mis might have simply made a miss-step which has caused some tightness in their triceps.
I’m sure we’ve all done exactly that – stepped weirdly and tweaked a muscle. Dropping them at first detection avoids a more serious injury and treatment is maybe some anti-inflammatories for a few days, with lots of rest and Algyval massage. Allen actually carried Olivia in the basket for much of his run from Sourdough as he noticed she was a out-of-sorts very early. Keeping that in mind, his run time was really good with the extra 45 pounds in the sled and one fewer dog!
Olivia and Mismo join Dutch in the dog truck for the rest of the race
A quick word here about the vet team – they are always so very generous with, not only volunteering their time to the race, but their advice and caring. You can tell the mushers really respect their opinions and they are only too happy to help us handlers with advice about the ongoing care of our dropped dogs. Thanks to the team of Nina (Head Vet), Al, Hector and Liz supported by Stephanie, Donna and Karleen. Thanks so much! We appreciate you!
Black Team – Allen and the team pulled in with Scooter and Schmoe even MORE enthusiastic, if you can believe that! The two of them are so great to have on any team as they really gee up the others. Scout and Kodiak led the team in looking frosted and happy. Once again, Allen was pretty self sufficient at the checkpoint, eating his freeze dried meal and sleeping next to Felix and Sissy in his sleeping bag and bivvy sack.
They shot out of the checkpoint after five hours of rest looking refreshed. This next run is a long one and Allen has switched the configuration of the team somewhat to mix it up a bit. He’s brought in the big gun: Quito will lead with Kodiak. He decided to keep Kodiak in front while he was still enthusiastic but could switch him with Chica if need-be. Swing is hard-charging Nelson and Chica then Izzy and Scout, Schmoe and Scooter, Willie will run on his own then Felix and Sandy sill in wheel.
L-R: Allen sleeps with his team in Sourdough, The Red Team at rest
Red Team – Aliy and team arrived also looking a little frosted. She was pleased with her run and happy with how her team looks nearly two-thirds-ish of the way through the race. Aliy spent her rest stop with her dogs, snuggling with Mac and Outlaw. We said goodbye to them at 8.08pm, also after five hours rest. Junior and Waylon are doing the business in front so will stay there for this leg to Mendeltna. The rest of her line up now is Scruggs and Boonie in swing, Clyde and Chemo, Mac and Outlaw with Pepe and Biscuit bringing up the rear. You will have noticed that the two teams are currently running the same schedule.
The trail from Sourdough to Mendeltna checkpoint revisits the familiar Golkana River then the trail crosses over a lake system including Fish Lake for around 21 miles before skirting around Middle Lake, onto Crosswind then Lake Louise. Last year the checkpoint was at the Lake Louise Lodge but this year they bypass this lodge and continue on for another (roughly) 20-25 miles. The trail report on Friday evening warned there may be some open water early on so the mushers will be on the lookout for that.
The race schedules for the Black and Red teams are now very noticeably different to Spencers R&B team as Ray and I haven’t seen him since he pulled into Meiers Lake around noon. He’s currently on the trail to Sourdough still with 12 dogs after resting them around seven hours. We briefly caught up with Joanna and Mark at Sourdough and they reported Spencer was in great spirits when he left Meiers Lake and was looking forward to the run to Sourdough. The dogs rested well and ate like alligators. We’re all so excited for this team!
Mendeltna Lodge at midnight
Ray and I have just arrived at the beautiful and welcoming Mendeltna Lodge, while Mark and Joanna will sit in Sourdough waiting for Spencer and the R&Bs.