We have some pictures from the start!! This is down the road from the start line, where the trail is running along the Richardson Highway.
Allen along Richardson Highway
Allen out of Glennallen
Aliy Out of Glennallen
Aliy Off Richardson Highway
We got a update from our “reporters on the ground”. The trail towards Chistochina is looking better than it has in years. There is a bridge the trail traditionally goes under that in the past few years has caused problems with lack of ice or heavy overflow. Two years ago, the trail actually had to go across the bridge. This year though, the river is frozen solid with no overflow. It will be icy there but a smooth trail otherwise.
The last 10 miles or so of the trail into Chisto runs along the road. Hopefully the snow is deep enough to cover the willows. Nothing like getting hit with those little whips! Often people go out a bit too fast because this section can be “speedy”. New racers can easily “burn” their team out in this section and end their race early. Pacing them is a necessity.
I expect both Aliy and Allen to pass at least 5 or 6 people before they reach Chistochina, possibly more. Allen is one of the front runners to win. Sigrid Ekran (part of “Team Norway”) has an amazing looking team. Lance Mackey will have an excellent team as well. Sebastian Schnuelle always has a steady, strong team that could win this race. The dark horses are Brent Sass (a Two Rivers musher that does very well on mid-distance races with fast, strong dogs), Ann Ledwidge (a Yukoner who continues to get better and better each race she runs) and Aliy with the talented younger SP Kennel dogs.
The weather was holding steady at about 10 below with cloudy skies. There is a possibility for snow this afternoon and evening.
We are expecting Allen and Aliy into Chistochina sometime between 3 and 5pm depending on trail conditions.