Just to ensure the teams experienced the whole gamut of weather conditions: this morning we enjoyed some freezing rain and +20F temperatures. It's the Quest... what do you expect?
Allen got up from his nap a couple hours before leaving time and gave the dogs another meal and packed his sled. Each dog got to stretch his or her legs then went back to nap for a wee bit as Allen ate more eggs and made final preparations. As the temperature was 'warm' he took off their puff jackets and cold weather gear.
Allen readies to leave as Paige Drobny goes about her chores
At 10.05am he and and all 12 Black Team athletes pulled out of the checkpoint ready to run the final leg to the finish. We were so excited to see them trot out of the chute - they've run this route many times this winter in anticipation of just this moment.
Mismo and Izzy led the team out with Commando and Junior in swing, Spark and Dutch, Kodiak and Amber, Rodney and Champ with Felix and Chipper in wheel. We will watch the tracker all day and maybe try to catch sight of them as they go by Pleasant Valley Store and through the neighbourhood.
Family and crew sending them on their way; Stephanie and the "pee stick"
Another important thing that happened at Two Rivers (as well as Dawson and other checkpoints along the way) was the urine testing of the dogs. Stephanie expertly manoeuvred the "pee stick" to gather samples from random dogs, recorded the microchip numbers of the sampled dog and the urine will be sent away for testing. They are checking for banned substances including pain killers and caffeine among other things. It's really important for the integrity of the race to ensure no athlete has anything illegal in their system, but mostly it's in the best interests of the dogs.