SP Kennel takes 1st and 4th in the Tustumena 100 race early this morning. Allen brought 20 of the dogs down south on Thursday and meet his daughter Bridgett in Anchorage on the way to the Kenai for the Tustumena races. Bridgett and her husband Scotty flew in from Nome were they live. The 100 mile race started on Saturday at 12 noon. Allen went out in 1st position with Stormy, Venus, Pete, Betsy, Butterscotch, Spicy, JJ, Bisquit, Meg and Rose. Bridgett went out in 11th position with Hoss, Petunia, Reeses, Snickers, KitKat, Heeler, Roy, Garlic, Sparky and Homebrew. As always, the Tustumena is a “true” 200 or “true” 100 mile race. They calculated the 100 as a 101 mile race.
Kenai is typically much warmer than Fairbanks and every year Two Rivers falls into a deep freeze on the Tustumena weekend. It was no different this year where temperatures dropped to 40 below on Thursday and didn’t come up until Sunday. Of course, Kenai wasn’t much warmer. It was less than 20 below at the start of the race, but it warmed up enough to start snowing in the Caribou Hills.
The race began at the Tustumena Lodge in Kasilof and ran 50 miles up into the Caribou Hills to Caribou Lake. There was a mandatory 4 hour rest and then the race returns along the same route. There were blizzard like conditions during the run back down to the flats.
Bridgett went through the first checkpoint (Gravel Pit) in 12th position and reached the half way point at Caribou Lake in 3rd position. Because she started 11th, the time differential had her going out of the mandatory rest in 2nd position right behind Allen. After running into a snow bank and getting into a bit of a tangle, Bridgett took 4th place in her first mid-distance race and her first race since she was a little girl. She finished with 9 dogs, having dropped Garlic on her way back to the finish.
Next on the calendar is the Yukon Quest 300 starting February 9 at 8pm. Aliy dropped off food drops for the race on Saturday. SP Kennel will be running 3 teams in the race. Aliy, Allen and Randy Chappel will all be running teams in the race. It will be the first time Aliy has been on the trail since she won the 1000 Mile Yukon Quest in 2000 and the first time Randy has been on the trail since a blizzard caught him on Eagle Summit 2 years ago. This will be the first time Allen has run the entire 300 miles of trail.