We got both teams off onto the trail earlier today! There is always to much to do in the lead up to the race it is a good feeling to get them started safely and as planned.
They each went through their usual pre-race routines of packing the sled, checking it twice, harnessing and booting the dogs then the crew helped bring each do to the line and walked them up to the start chute. It was very well organised by the YQ team, especially as it was the first time they had staged from that area and didn't have much time to plan!
Right now both are on their way to the Two Rivers checkpoint. It appears that Allen is camping before the checkpoint. You will find both Aliy and Allen often doing this as, especially in the early part of the race with all the teams bunched together, it is quieter to camp outside a checkpoint and the dogs get a better rest. Allen and Aliy enjoy camping and as the weather is so mild (around 0F) it will be a pleasant stop for them. The vet team will get to look at the team when the arrive into Two Rivers but we might expect him to not stop too long at the checkpoint.
Aliy has just passed Pleasant Valley Store. She may be running the same race strategy as Allen and camp early or she may stop at the checkpoint, we will need to wait and see on that one.
I have 100s of photos to sort through and am uploading some start videos as I write this but here are a couple of pics from the start for those that missed it on our Instagram or Facebook page.
Allen's line up when he left was: Scout and Waylon in lead, Kodiak and Chipper in swing, Mismo and Scruggs, Schmoe and Dutch, Willie and Commando, Izzy and Mac, with Clyde and Felix in wheel.
Aliy left with Chena and Lester in lead (not pictured, they were too fast!), Spark and Boondocks in swing, Chemo and Daisy, Violet and Driver, Iron and Champ with Sandy and Amber in wheel.
PS A wee story of a touching moment from this morning... As we were loading up the dogs for Allen's team he did a walk through the yard just to check we had everyone. As he passed by Quito's house she jumped up at him, he gave her a cuddle and told her she was a 'good girl Quito'. She didn't seem upset or confused at being left behind but perhaps she wanted to wish him luck.