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, January 31, 2016

The Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest is an important race for SP Kennel, both currently and historically. Aliy and her team won this race back in 2000 and we have Pedro's Golden Harness hanging on a rack as the first thing you see as you walk in the house.


Aliy and Pedro in 2000

Allen and the Black Team won in 2013 and 2014 and Quito's golden harnesses hang alongside Pedro's. We love this race and it's history.


Allen and Quito at the finish line in 2014

I asked Aliy about why she loves the Quest: "The Yukon Quest... the word "intimate" comes to mind. You are intimately connected with your dog team in a way that other races, training and the "real world" don't allow. The reason behind this is because for long periods of the race you see no-one. You don't see the thousands of people standing cheering you on; you don't see the hoards of volunteers at multiple checkpoints; you'll be lucky if you can stumble across a cabin that you can find and the bears haven't ravaged it the summer before. So the Yukon Quest route is definitely travelling back in time and not forward. It's rare that you can do that these days.

It's really cool that a person can experience that as a dog musher but at the same time be able to carry a tracker and therefore be able to carry thousands of fans down the trail with them, even when the mushers don't know who every one of them are.
"

Allen says he also enjoys the "going back in time" aspect of the race. "Every time we run the Quest we go back in time to see what it was like when our great-grandfathers were alive. We like challenges and there are always challenges on the Yukon Quest. It reminds us of what our forefathers went through."

The Yukon Quest website is a great source of interesting information about the history of the race so check it out!

"At the top of the world in the Yukon and Alaska wilderness of northwestern North America, an epic winter sports event takes place every February: the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race. Covering 1,000 miles (1,600 km) between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska during the depths of winter, the Yukon Quest is known for excellence in canine care and fostering the traditions of northern travel by dog sled."



In less than a week, 23 mushers will leave the starting chute in Fairbanks and head 1000 miles up mountains, over rivers and down the trail towards Whitehorse. A few hours later another 24 mushers leave for the 300 mile event, finishing this year in Circle City.

The route for the 1000 milers has been changed slightly this year from Eagle to Dawson City. You can read in the updated trail report that "Mushers will be re-routed up the Clinton Creek secondary road to the highway and follow that into Dawson. This results in a 2,500-foot climb over the course of about 20 miles up out the Forty Mile River valley to the highway and another 30 miles in high country into Dawson." When Allen read of the change in route he immediately looked up the history of the area and said he was looking forward to seeing a new part of the country.

We're excited to get this race underway! There are a few events happening this week leading up to the race start and we'll let you know about them soon, along with a coverage guide of where you can get the best information (hint: right here)!

14 comments:

The Roads Less Traveled said...

Love your photo with Pedro. We will all be watching, go, Aliy, go, Allen, and dear dogs,

Barb, CO said...

It is that spirit of optimism, Alan 'looking forward to seeing a new part of the country' at word of a new route featuring a 2500 foot climb over the course that makes SPK so great. Keep on teaching us, all of you intrepid SPK team mates. I get the best information about many things right here at the spkenneldogblog. We will be right here for the race, with you every foot of the way.

Nessmuk said...

Im SO excited the Quest is coming up! I finally tuned into this race a few years back and it really stole my Sled Dog Racing Fan heart! Watching Allens traker last year chug on up and over Eagle Summit kept me up all night refreshing, and refreshing and refreshing...it was thrilling for us fans to watch! Its awesome you can "take us along for the ride" via the GPS, while at the same time being alone in the wilderness with your Team. Looking forward to seeking full coverage of this race from here, there and everywhere!!! Go SPK!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am excited to see this race get underway. As always, I'll be rooting for the little bouncing dog icon on the GPS map. Yes, I am one of the many fans being "carried" down the trail because of the GPS on Allen's sled. I'll be looking forward to the commentary, pictures, and videos as always from the home team. Thank you in advance for the coverage of this great race.

There is a book called "Ten Thousand Miles by Dog Sled: A Narrative of Winter Travel in Interior Alaska by Hudson Stuck (available on Amazon). The author describes some of the very trails you will be traveling on. For example, he describes Eagle Summit: "one of the most difficult summits in Alaska. The wind blows so fiercely that sometimes for days together its passage is almost impossible...The only way to avoid the Eagle summit...would be to tunnel it."
Circle City: "established as a flourishing mining camp and boasted itself the largest log-cabin town in the world....a population of about three thousand."

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all comments already posted! Magnificent post on the website. Thank you SP Kennel Crew!!!

It is awesome to follow SP Kennel 2-legged and 4-legged participants in the Yukon Quest in this great adventure.

And is just as I hoped, that the website here made notes of the fact that Aliy is the Yr. 2000 winner of the event, and the only female musher to have ever run her team to victory in this 1000 race!!!

And what can I say but "woof, woof, woof" to Black Team musher (translation - have a great race, be healthy and have fun with your pals with 4 legs). Fondly,

Margaret
P.S. Some years ago I found a YQ2000 parch for sale and bought it - to go with the SP Kennel Red and Black outfits I'll be wearing the entire race!!! WOOF!

Kathy said...

Anxious for the Quest to start!! Good Luck to all of SP Kennel
participants--we'll be watching ya!


Mary Lynn Roush said...

Back in time....you are so right. My great grandfather was literally on the trail from the Chena up toward Rosebud, in 1898. They were the first steamer up the Chena, Left the river somewhere between Fairbanks and Two Rivers (neither was there yet), and headed up into the Tanana Hills in a less-than-successful attempt to find gold. Say hi to them for me!

Cindy Eckhoff said...

Looking forward to an exciting race, lots of new champions up and coming.. We will be cheering you on both human and dog athletes. Beemer & Viper love watching and hearing the videos and will howl along in delight !

Gaye Morgan-Walton said...


Your comments are so powerful and inspiring. YQ still does not get the publicity of the Other Race (smile) and I think that is probably for the best because it is thus more "real" in some ways and as a history buff--as well as a sled dog fan--I think that aspect is very special. I wish all the SPK folks a wonderful run this season and maybe some more golden harnesses to hang around for souvenirs. The new leaders will have some big booties to fill but I think they have that capacity because they have the bloodlines and the same great trainers and two legged team members that helped make the earlier winners. Hike, hike, hike!

Cindy Schaus said...

Go Red & Black teams. I'm ready to see it all unfold. I think last year was the first time I watched the YQ intently, refreshing the tracker, etc... I just downloaded the book Ten Thousand Miles by Dogsled. Thanks for the recommendation on that. Wishing the best for all involved....dogs, mushers, handlers and crew.

Anonymous said...

As always, the best and most accurate and most non-biased , but certainly the most cheerfull information source. So very grateful for your work and for beeing there, kennel crew. Cheers!
Very excited to follow the black team on the 1000 and see the red team in the 300. We wish the dogs and musher-friends all the success and fun imaginable. Cheers
Ingabritt

Anonymous said...

When l travelled to Melbourne Australia in May 2013 the first thing l had scheduled upon arrival in Alaska was to go to the headquarters of the Yukon Quest in Fairbanks . Though unfortunately it was closed the week we were there😢 . But l was still excited to to photograph themap of the race route (easily pleased ) . I will be sitting here in Australia watching the bouncing golden harnessed dogs on the tracker map and cheering the black team in the 1000 and the red team in the 300 . Thanks SPK l can't wait for the updates on the Yukon Quest .Denali 🐾🐾and Joanne 🇦🇺 .

Linda Toth said...

Has the 300 race been shortened? It usually loops back from Circle City to Central.

Marilyn cozzens said...

What a great race YQ. I was so excited to see Yukon Quest headquarters in both Whitehorse & Fairbanks this summer as well as several of the stops along the trail Very different in summer than winter however. Love the picture of Pedro & Aliy--first woman champ,yes! Great picture of Allen & Quito, also. Hopefully SPK will have another Golden Harness to hang on the wall this year. Go SPK in both races.