The Black Team handler crew are in Carmacks now and we’ve managed to get some sleep on the gymnasium floor. It’s cold here, when we pulled in around 3am it was -25 degrees F - great mushing weather but “brrrrrrr” for handlers.
Our drive last night was accompanied by a bright, bright moon and swirling green auroras. It was gorgeous!
Wendy is also on her way here.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
Allen and the Black Team are making their way to Carmacks checkpoint now. Last night they camped along the trail for around three hours, 60 miles from the start line, and went through Braeburn checkpoint, stopping briefly to pick up supplies and straw. They stopped again around 60 miles from Carmacks for four hours.
The team came into Braeburn loping energetically and all were lunging and yelling for the 5-10 mins it took Allen to load his sled with new supplies. Allen said they were all doing great and he was really happy at their enthusiasm. We didn’t really get much opportunity to speak as he was getting his supplies and I was standing on he brake on his sled. As far as I could tell he hadn’t changed the line-up from the start line with Kodiak and Commando still in lead.
Standing room only in Braeburn Lodge; obligatory cinnamon bun picture
You'll see mushers stopping their teams to camp between checkpoints during this race as the checkpoints can be up to 200 miles apart. It is one of the reasons this race is term known as the toughest sled dog race in the world, because no matter the weather, camping outside of checkpoints is the norm.
Both Allen and Aliy are very happy to camp and sometimes prefer a quiet campspot to the hustle-bustle of a checkpoint. There are a number of mandatory checkpoint stops for the teams to ensure enough time for vet checks to be carried out.
From the race rules: "In addition to Dawson City [a 36 hour mandatory stop], for each team there will be a mandatory four (4) hour stop at either Braeburn or Carmacks, driver’s choice. The starting time differential is added to the layover time at the chosen checkpoint. There will be a mandatory four (4) hour stop at Eagle and a mandatory eight (8) hour stop at Two Rivers. During each mandatory stop, every team will be evaluated by a YQI veterinarian.”
As Allen went through Braeburn he will need to spend at least four hours, 39 minutes here in Carmacks to tick off both his mandatory rest and the time differential (the time added to racers to even out the staggered start times).
RED TEAM UPDATE
Aliy and her team are also on their way to Carmacks, as I write this they are crossing Coglan Lake and are around about 60 miles from the checkpoint. During the night they camped around 50 miles from the start - half way to Braeburn. She stopped them 3.5 hours in Braeburn before hitting the trail again. Wendy reported that Aliy was really pleased with her run, the dogs are happy and wagging and she is right on her expected schedule.
In the Yukon Quest 300 there is a mandatory stop for six hours in Carmacks checkpoint. It’s possible both teams will be here at the same time.
Edit: thanks to Holly and her fantastic crew of volunteers for a well run checkpoint.