A number of you SP Kennel fans have asked via comments, email, Facebook, etc, whether we'll be giving you any "race analysis" during the Yukon Quest. The short answer is: "Sorry, no."
We were "green lighted" by Aliy and Allen to give you some analysis during the CB300 because it is such a straightforward race: Run, Rest at checkpoint, Run, Rest at checkpoint, Run, Rest at checkpoint, Run to the finish. All of the top teams took the same, minimum/mandatory rest at checkpoints. Speed between checkpoints was the only real factor. We were comfortable giving you that analysis.
The YQ is an entirely different race. It's so long -- and so far between checkpoints -- that virtually every team will have a different strategy for when to rest, where to rest and how long to rest. Teams will rest between checkpoints, making run times in between almost irrelevant. Their individual strategies are a crucial part of their competitive profile, and considering how many great dog teams are in this race, musher strategy may very well be the deciding factor in finishing order.
To analyze the SPK Black Team's strategy and performance -- in this wide-open, internet venue -- would greatly compromise its competitive advantage. As you know, last year's difference between first and second place was 26 seconds. There's no way we're going to take a chance of "spilling the beans" about what the team is up to.
That said, I can tell you this: SP Kennel has the best dogs it has ever had. Allen is a fierce competitor who works harder than any musher on the trail. This is his third time running the YQ, with a sixth place finish in his rookie year and a second place finish last year. You do the math!
Sorry, but we're just not gonna talk about it. Besides, you are all the best informed, most knowledgeable mushing fans on the planet. Watch this DogLog carefully, monitor the YQ site and Facebook stream, bang the heck out of the refresh button on the tracker, draw your own conclusions and hang on for dear life!
I'm already on caffeine overload, and it's only the first day of the race. I expect to get nothing else accomplished this week. I look forward to talking about it after it's over!