As many of you noticed, Allen's and Lance Mackey's trackers did not update for a few hours during the last leg of the run to Dawson. Those of us waiting in Dawson had no real idea where or how far apart they were. Hugh Neff's tracker was working, and we knew Allen and Lance would be close to him. NO ONE knew who it would be. Nail/glove biting and pacing took place!
Just as the first musher's light blinked in the trees on the edge of the river, a green band of Aurora Borealis blazed across the sky. We could see the team moving fast down the edge of the river under a full moon. However, the headlight wasn't bobbing back and forth--we worried that such a steady light couldn't be Allen since he is ALWAYS poling and pedaling. We waited as the musher drove up the landing and IT WAS ALLEN! He was riding comfortably on the runners with the dogs at a steady trot and tails wagging down into the chute.
Allen had seen a light behind him about an hour or so outside Dawson, however he didn't know who it was. He knew he was being chased and began pushing to the checkpoint. With a dog inthe bag, Schmoe-with a sore wrist, he was moving as fast as possible. He said as he went through a slough, he could see the lights of Dawson, and the musher's light behind him. He realized at that point, that whoever it was could not catch him, unless he took a wrong turn. He stowed the poles, and began focusing on the trail to ensure he didn't get sidetracked. He had noticed the trail had little to no evidence of dogs on it, but figured it was because the trail groomers had been out working on the trails.
The dogs immediately ate their midnight meal at the dog tent, and settled down for a long rest. The Race vets were able to do their dog check immediately on arrival. They declared the dogsto be in good shape, with no serious injuries that rest, dog care and and food could not fix. They were quite complimentary on the good condition of the dogs. Aliy and handlers tucked in the dogs and massaged their feet while they relaxed. Some woke up and ate a bit of a second meal before laying down for the rest of the night. As Aliy and I walked back to the hotel to catch a nap, the Aurora came out and danced over the mountains in celebration. More updates throughout the day.