Good morning! It's 9.30am Friday morning Alaska time.
Aliy and 14 team-mates pulled into Galena at just after 6am this morning and are currently stopped. We will bring you information about who she left in Ruby as soon as we can. There are pictures of the team pulling into Galena and we have an idea but it is a little difficult to know with certainly as she does shuffle dogs around on the line every now and again.
As the first musher into Galena, Aliy won a new award for this year - The Bristol Bay Native Corporations’s Fish First Award”. She wins a check for $1,000, 25lb of Bristol Bay salmon, some canned salmon and smoked salmon strips and commemorative jacket.
I remember a story from Aliy's 2012 Trail Notes where she was coming in to Galena and decided to do some "cheerleading" for the team and spell out G.A.L.E.N.A. - "Give me a G" - oh… whoops…
The Red Team's camp stop just prior to Ruby allowed the team to head through that checkpoint and continue on to Galena. On paper it could look like she is "cutting rest" because the official rest time recorded in checkpoints is less than some, but if you are able to access the tracker analytics it is clear she is giving the team plenty of rest as they camp along the trail. Aliy and Allen believe that camping can give the dogs an even better rest than in a checkpoint as it is quieter with fewer interruptions to their sleep.
The Anchorage Daily News' morning update discusses this (click the picture below).
The overall picture is still a little confusing as some of the teams have taken their mandatory Yukon River eight hour stop (Buser, Sorlie, Petit) and others have not (Aliy, Burmiester, King, Seavey, Lindner etc). Once they all have that second green tick on the current standings we will have a better idea of the "real" standings.
We've heard the rumours about an error in the exit time during Aliy's 24 hour break where her leaving time was miscalculated by officials and she left 6 minutes early. I cannot confirm that nor find anything official about it so we will have to wait and see when she does her mandatory eight hour layover on the river.
Allen and his Black Team-mates left Cripple and are on their way to Ruby. The current standings haven't quite caught up with that information but it looks like they stopped there for about 5.5-6 hours (of course, as soon as I hit "publish" they will update).
One thing I keep having to remind myself is that this race is still just only half over! Breathe, sleep, refresh…
You may be wondering why my insistence on knowing for sure who is dropped from teams before writing in the blog. I'd like to avoid "taking a stab at it" and getting it wrong if I can. We do have a bunch of us who know the dogs well pouring over the photos and videos and if it is truly obvious to all of us we'll let you know.
Every single one of our racing dogs, yearlings and puppies has an individual dog sponsor and Aliy, Allen and the whole team feel we want their sponsors to be one of the first to know if their dog has been dropped from the team. Sponsors have a vested interested and feel very close to their dog and so, where practicable, we try to email them before we publish it here. Sometimes that's not possible but that's our intent.