SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Aliy in the Lead into Nikolai

March 6, 2012 Day 3 Midday

Day 3 started with Aliy pushing into Nikolai. She arrived at 9:14 am AST in the first position. On the surface, she has been running a very different race than she has in the past. There seems to be speculation about her plan, going so far as calling her the "rabbit". I think it is important to remember two things about Aliy and how she runs any race.

She will always run the race that "her" dogs can run. What I mean by this is that she doesn't look at Hugh Neff, Lance Mackey or anyone else and say "he or she stayed at Rainy Pass for X amount of time, so I need to leave at that same amount of time." She plans a schedule based on what she thinks her team will be capable of doing, usually 3 different contingencies, and then runs that schedule, watching her dogs to pick what is best for them. I guarantee Aliy isn't trying to be in the lead at this point in the race, not that I think she is complaining! Her dogs and her schedule are allowing her to be at the front!

Secondly, she doesn't like to stay in checkpoints during the early part of a race and will choose to camp between checkpoints if that is the best schedule for her dogs. Staying in early checkpoints means staying with lots of other teams and people. They are loud and the dogs don't get as much rest as they could get out by themselves. If you watch any of the videos from the early checkpoints, it is hard to hear the announcers because of dogs barking, teams coming in and out, airplanes landing and snow machines (mobiles) zooming around. More quality rest means happier, healthier and faster dogs. Also, anytime there is a large group of dogs together, virus' and sicknesses begin to move through the teams. Aliy likes to limit the dogs exposure.

It is critical to have a strong dog team on the coast. Aliy will not jeopardize that by trying to stay in first place now. She will continue to run her dogs as they need to be run. It's a good sign that they are in the front pack, but it isn't critical for her to stay in first for her and the dogs to have a great race. And to win!

17 comments:

Macgellan said...

Hi Kaz -- You beat me to it! I was trying to think up a way of describing for SPK fans what's probably going on with Aliy...

Your summary/description is excellent and I'm sure folks will benefit from it!

Plus, now I can spend all my time hitting the refresh buttons!

Thanks... Best, Mac

Anonymous said...

Wonderful update and information about how Aliy runs, thank you so much. I do not think I would want to stay at the checkpoints when there are 10-20 or more teams camped out. that means 160-to 320 dogs. So wonderful that she is the front. Keep up the great work Team Aliy, Go Aliy and dogs Go. Maureen W

Anonymous said...

Well said!!

Mrs. Jaybird said...

Aliy is such an admirable musher. I hope this is her big year! Go Aliy! Go Ryne!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Kaz. Thank you for the info.
Now, can you forward it to the male reporters.
LR

NCL said...

Very helpful post!

Anonymous said...

I know it is always about the dogs first with SPK and I love that. I am always torn between hoping the dogs don't get too tired having to break trail and being so excited to see Aliy in 1st place!

Deb said...

Kaz, thanks for the update. Isn't first into Nikolai the "Spirit of Alaska" award?

Lisa B said...

Hi Kaz, Wendy, Wes, Mac and everyone else manning the Dog Log - you probably already discovered it, but there's a great interview with Aliy in Nikolai on the KNOM radio site. She has a message for Bridgett in there! Gotta get back to staring at the GPS tracker...
Go Dogs!

Libby the Lab said...

Dogs looked outstanding on Insider!!

SP Kennel - KAZ said...

To McGrath.

Anonymous said...

Gooo SPKennel Red Team!

I'm a life long Alaskan and this team has been my fav. for many years. I wish I had extra money to donate to one of your lovely dogs but unfortunately, I do not however, that don't mean the thought isn't there. One day I will save enough money to go on one of the tours you all do.. It's on my bucket list to be honest.

You have a family of myself (mom), 3 lovely children, my two dogs and 2 kitties all rooting for the safety and selfishly, continuing to go on strong through the 2012 Iditarod.

Lots of miles on your team.. you all are winners to me!

Smiles and Cheers from Anchorage,

Marie

MBB said...

you know Aliy's drivin as hard as her dogs are!
i love her focused expression at the check points.
don't mess with her more than a minute...

katkreek said...

It's 9:30 p.m. California time, and it's nerve-wracking watching the GPS. Aliy's at mile 260.3, with Baker at 258. It looks like she's going to be #1 into McGrath. Yipee!
Thanks you'all for wonderful communications. Herb and Tonia

Linda Toth said...

Hi SPK crew. Any news on which dogs Ryne dropped? I hope we get some videos of her too at some point.

By the looks of it, Aliy just received the the Penn Air award. Congratulations to the SPK team. They look wonderful in Sebastian's video.

KB said...

Congratulations Aliy on getting to Mc Grath first!

Anonymous said...

Kaz, regarding the negative reaction of some people,
ignore them .....
We (SP Kennel fans) know better!!!
Thank you for keeping us informed.
Edwin Le Doux.