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.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

YQ: Black Team in Pelly

Sorry for the internet silence. Since updating you of our arrival we had a complete internet failure in Pelly and despite a technician from North West Tel going over-and-above and driving up all the way from Whitehorse to try to fix it, we were without connection for the rest of our stay. That coupled with a cellphone dead zone made for a frustrating few hours from a comms perspective but from a dog team perspective it went absolutely according to plan! We’re now in Carmacks with limited connection so I can update you quickly on the team arriving and leaving Pelly. I don’t hold out much hope that I can upload any video; I will try, but in the meantime I took a few pictures to share with you.

In the foyer of the community centre that is doubling as the Pelly checkpoint during the Quest, are posters drawn by the children from the local school welcoming each musher to Pelly Crossing.

It's a lovely touch from the community and I'm sure it will be much appreciated by all the mushers that come in for a chilli and corn muffin!

Allen and the team pulled in first to the checkpoint at 10.15pm and, boy, they looked great. The dogs were very vocal, Mac even sounds like he is losing his voice from singing and cheerleading a little too much! Allen came in with Quito and Scruggs in lead, I’m not quite sure when he swapped Scruggs and Olivia.

The temperature in Pelly was around 20F below - both musher and dogs looked frosty and the dogs are wearing their wind jackets and Allen was wrapped up in his cold weather Northern Outfitters gear.

Allen arrived with 12 dogs having dropped Chemo in Scroggie Creek. Chemo developed a sore shoulder and Allen felt it best to leave him there.

Allen enjoys running with Chemo in the team so was disappointed to leave him behind. The pace of the race is such that Allen won't be taking any chances of risking further injury to any dogs so will have made the decision with Chemo's future, and the rest of the racing season, in mind.

He was taken back to Dawson so we’re very lucky that Meghan and Thomas who are handling for Cody Strathe are bringing him with them to Pelly and one of us will head back that way to pick him up when he arrives. He is in great hands and they will take good care of him. We’re looking forward to seeing him and giving him some loving which I am certain he will lap up! He is a big, tough racing dog but enjoys some smooching too.

Allen himself is tired but still looks good. He hadn’t slept since Dawson but he works hard on his fitness and it is at this part of the race that it really shows. That he can still be efficient with his chores and hold a coherent conversation on so little sleep is testament to that.

After a quick nap and a couple of bowls of hearty beef and barley soup he gathered his gear ready for the 70-odd mile run to Carmacks. The dogs got almost three hours of rest, interrupted only to eat dinner. He did some switching around on the line and left with Quito and Scruggs in lead, Nacho and Olivia in swing followed by Scout and Chica, Mac and Boondocks (can you imagine – our biggest dog running with our smallest dog!), Schmoe and Clyde with Biscuit and Beemer still in wheel.

While we waited for the team to leave we were treated to a stunning Aurora show – I tried to capture it on my little “point-and-shoot” for you.

L-R: Quito and Scruggs lead the team in to Pelly; A frosty Allen arriving in Pelly.

L-R: Dr Mike, Aliy and Meghan watch on; a show of Aurora as we waited.

The team left quietly – they were more than happy to leave and looked ready to go. When we caught up with them at McCabe Creek Dog Drop they were loping along, looking comfortable. When Allen stopped there briefly to check in with officials Mac managed to get himself over the top of Boondocks and she was standing under his belly - it look hilarious and even Allen stopped what he was doing for a moment and said "well, that's freaking funny right there!"

We expect to see the team here in Carmacks soon. Not sure when you will hear from me again… "stay tuned".

FYI: In Pelly the officials are changing the batteries in everyone’s trackers with you in mind. Little things can make all the difference.

- Moira


stormy said...

Thanks SOooooo much for even doing these updates during a race,with the brutal weather,logistics etc!! I am so impressed at the depth of the entire SPK racing team,support people ,handlers and the way you treat your dogs! Please know that cheechakos like myself deeply appreciate it and are stoked to be even a miniscule part of the SPK experience!Rock ON!

Nessmuk said...

Well put Stormy!! The SPK Crew is top notch for sure!! I would have loved to see Mac standing over Boondocks...I bet it was a hoot! I was bummed to hear Chemo got dropped, but knowing he is getting some TLC from the Crew makes me smile!! He is such a sweet looking dog! I'm staying glued to the tracker....wow what a tight race! Go Allen and the Black Team....your looking AWESOME!

Dawn from Maine said...

Ditto to Stormy. I appreciate the updates and know you guys are working your tails off to help Allen and the Black Team. Thanks for the visual with mac and Boondocks! That made me laugh :) Just goes to show that even during an intense race, they are playful and funny.

MG said...

love the updates. SPK has the dogs best interest at heart; True athletes. HIKE ON!!!!

Anonymous said...

Always the ultimate professionals, so great to watch you, hoping you get some rest, too!
Thanking you so much for any and all updates!

marilyn cozzens said...

Thanks, Moira, your pictures & posts are great. Your "point & shoot" as you called it does a fantastic job. The Aurora shot is beautiful. Am glad Allen can still find humor even though he must be exhausted. How far ahead is Allen & Black team? Am glad Chemo is okay-if you call a sore shoulder okay.

Mike Frerichs said...

Thank you so much for these updates. Go Allen!

A-town's Becky said...

Awesome update. Great shots especially of the Aurora Borealis. What a beautiful site while mushing through the wilderness!

Anonymous said...

I got up early to read your update! Cheering for SP!

Lisa B said...

Great post, great tale of the Mac and Boondocks line tangle and great Northern Lights photo. You rock Moira - as does everyone at SP Kennel including that fabulous Black Team that is stormin' down the trail. Go Dogs!

Lori Schneider said...

Allen's comment about Mac and Boondocks made me laugh! As exhausted as he is, he still has a sense of humor!