On the trail - Fairbanks to Angle Creek
before the Quest I have spent at Judy Cooper in Fairbanks, very
relaxt in a cabin, often slept until late into the morning, this
normally I cannot do very often. Unfortunately it was very very
warmly, plus 8�C only 3 days before the Quest, so I couldn�t do
anymore the planned training runs. Therefore the dogs where quite
"giddy" and "keifig", which led promptly to a fight, where everyone
was against Skipper. No outside injuries, however he limped always
in the left hind leg, and could not be touched anymore.
On Wednesday before running Birgit Beyer, a guest, and Roland a Handler for Gerry Willowmitzer came also to Fairbanks. Kai Wohlgemuth had a room in the Princess hotel, where the start banquet was held. The last days were filled out with last minute preparations, fodder pack, making new lines, copying of trail cartes, etc.. My head was again not correctly with the thing, I still was thinking about emails and Blue Kennels, a long-known problem, I can not switch off. At the mushers banquet I didn't feel very well, I had a "Geh�rsturz" the day before and I simply feeled bad. What dishonor, particularly considering the fact that there were a "all you a can eat" buffet. I drew number 29 of 31, would liked to start earlier, particularly because of the few parking lots in Angle Creek. The Mushers meetings didn't inspire me particularly, and at the "Rookie meeting" they told us more or less the same as at the Mushers meeting, the actually important information, which Cabins where open, how the Trail is, nobody knews.
On Saturday 14 February it was finally for the race, at 8 o'clock we left at Judy, at 9 o'clock we should be at the start. We arrived briefly after 9, however nobody knew where we should park our Truck, they called us that there are sticking plates with the numbers up there, and it had but they ended with 27. We received a parking lot, beautifully calmly for the dogs, however more than unfavorably for the start, because directly at the beginning a curve with 120� waited for me. Gisela and Dieter Dolif came to help me with the booties and to get the team ready. The teams were braked with a Skidoo, very good solution, contrary to human aids, they step sometimes the dogs on the paws. The time passed somehow too fast, suddenly I was already on the Trail, I hardly could believe, unfortunately I wasn't yet in running tendency. The weather was not particularly pleasantly, windy and it easily snowed. Much to my astonishment the team fell immediately in a slow but equal trot, even Chevy, which otherwise never trots. After some minutes I was last because the 2 teams behind me passed me quite soon. After approx.. 3 hours Paul Geoffrion came into view, whom I passed still before North Pole. In North Pole we had suddenly to return the starting numbers, although it was meant that this will happen only in Angle Creek. It was not well planned since I had to pull of my warm jacket to take off the "bib" and that with 14 dogs, which after only 3,5 hours does not really want to wait. Generally I must say completely clearly, in a organizational point of view the Quest still is in the child shoes.
After North Pole we left the Chena River and continued the Trail in the forest, there the first teams rested. I had already selected a parking lot, but I remarked that he was everything else as ideal, so I had to look for a new one. Also that was not mad, driven one way into a trail, there turned my team around to get them in direction to the Questtrail. Unfortunately the place which I selected, was the entry to the Kennel of Rick Swenson, and accordingly good visited, everything else then calm for the dogs. Also my leaders Tang and Brownie was too near to the Questtrail and at each team passing they yapped, instead of sleeping. More badly, my whole team didn't drink reasonably, this is the worst which can happen, because dehydration is the largest enemy. Normally you hardly feeds the dogs the last day before running, so that they become really greedy but I didn't bring it over the heart, against better knowledge, and now I should pay hard in the first running days. Emil Inauen also rested in the proximity and we visited us, instead of sleeping as planned. On the first day directly thrown all principles over the heaps, not good, internally I wasn't very proud on myself. The travel to Angle Creek was more or less in the convoy, I could see 3 team behind and at least 4 in front of me.
Arrived Angel Creek, at 00.24 o'clock we had to wait a very long time in a very windy corner for check-in. It did not run particularly well. Then nobody could find my Dropbags and it didn't gave straw, aghh, fortunately I toke a bundle with the fooddrop. In the Vet check, then the feared certainty, the heart frequency of 5 dogs is too high, because they are dehydrogenated. And I had to drop Skipper, because he does not only limp at the hind leg, but probably when compensating the injury he got a injury in the other shoulder. I was heavily discouraged and Dieter and Gisela had to talk a lot, I even thought to give up at Angle Creek. At least the dog all the dogs drank good. When I did not want sleep a little bit nobody knews which is the Mushercabin, really a chaos in Angle Creek. I toke the first hut I found, I believe it was reserved for the veterinary. There I slept 2 hours and then again to the dogs. Again none wanted to drink, why didn't I have them flared out before the race.