Quest preparaton timeGreetings from the Yukon
The Yukon Quest start is nearing, count down time, 8 days to go. For much of the early winter I had been debating to withdraw from the Quest and concentrate on Kusko300 and Iditarod instead. Well the dice were rolled again. After I did not make it out to the Kusko, the decision was made to stay in the Quest after all.
Right now our job is to keep the dogs in shape, just doing fun and short runs. Besides that we are sure busy with many logistics. Which dog runs in which team? Moving back from Alaska to Whitehorse, Iditarod Food Drop, Quest Food Drop times 2, Iditarod Blood work and vet ceck, Quest Vet Check times 2 , musher meetings ... and the list goes on.
While still in Paxson we finished the Iditarod Food Drop. Unfortunately it is due for delivery right while I am on the Quest. Scott from 49 er Feeds in North Pole will deliver it for me. But that meant the mountain of food ( 48 bags of aprox 40 lbs each ) , and gear still had to make it to his place. Instead of doing a special trip, we made a detour on our return trip to Whitehorse. Traveling with 41 dogs, 2000 lbs of Food Drop and all our Quest Gear sure was fun. Packing, repacking, unpacking, leaving one truck in Fairbanks for the finish, stuffing everything in the other truck and trailer, more unpacking and repacking, but somehow it all fit and we made it back to Whitehorse safe and sound. I am always glad when all the driving goes smooth, there sure were some very slick roads after the recent melt we have had.
The dogs seem happy to be back in their houses at home. There is more snow here at Blue Kennels than I have ever seen since living here. Nice surprise, the trails are great, we can hook down big teams easily. Both of us Mark and I still have nice strings of dogs to pick and choose from. I have narrowed my gang down to the final 14, baring any last minute injuries, and still have 4 dogs on “ standby “.In my list are some of my good old faithful dogs, this will be Herrings 10th Thousand Miler in 6 years, Austin is not far behind with 8 of them.
Nemo - Popcorn
Inuk - Herring
Vasser - Grisman
Skunk - Finn
Austin - Saffron
Scruggs - Bonzo
Desi - George
On Standby are Maule and Dozer as well as Yonder, who has not proven himself during the Copper Basin and Sheep Mountain, but he looks good now and is injury free. A dog I really would like to take, but am running out of spots is Stevie. It sure if fun running a big string of 18 dogs right now.
Mark has even more choices. He still has a pool of 20 dogs as follows:
Polar - Kiana
Callie - Denali
Diesel - Gas
Moose - Par
Simon - Batman
Battier - Bananas
Ricky - Gizzy
Casper - Happy
Cosno - Libby
Eagle - Beast
Vet Check is tomorrow, we will take 17 dogs there each, so he will have to make some choices here tonight.
Of course I will now get the Question of what I expect from the Quest. Until about 2 weeks ago, I had an easy answer to that: I will use the Quest as a training run and go camping with Mark to Fairbanks. That was before Lance Mackey and Ken Anderson withdrew. Of course there is still many good teams in the Quest and a stiff competition, but the 2 top places from last year all for sudden sit vacant, but also the chances to make at least a little bit of prize money just rose by 2 spots. So I have a plan A and B. Until at least Carmacks I will take it easy and go camping with Mark. From Pelly on I will take a close look of what I got in front of me. If the competition has not left me in the dust too far by than and I am happy with the team I am driving, I might switch from Camping to racing after Pelly.
Have fun following the Yukon Quest on the PC! Check back on the website, as Andy will have updates going on regularly.