On the trail - Eagle to 40 Mile
Eagle felt a bit like home, as I have been there a few times with the Percy de Wolfe, though first time seeing it in daylight. Finally I had all the meat I wanted again, as I shipped out lots (too much) to each Checkpoint. Brownies left front leg started swelling a lot on top of the elbow. I put 2 wristwraps together and massaged it with algyval and DMSO before wrapping it. So did I do with Coons and Marmots wrist. Libbies cut on her foot also bothered her, although she never missed a step. Geez if only Anette Kriller the vet would be here, I really believe in her massage skills. Mentally I was down, with 4 dogs being a bit sore of 12. Amazingly I still stayed in 5th position. I decided to take a long rest, although only running 5.30 hrs I stayed for almost 8 hrs. Libby, Coon and Marmot looked good. So did all other guys, I was amazed with Otto � the Dreamer � and Herring � mister fussy �. They were both absolute maintenance free after their feet swelling went down. SO were Paws and Wondar, they never demanded any special attention. And of course Tang. She had been in lead every meter. Short before leaving I noticed a sore on Pianos right hind leg, which I missed upon arriving. The luck was on my side and Annette quickly stopped in on her way to Dawson and was able to massage Brownie. Some other vet tried to pressure here to hurry up because their plane had to leave, which miffed me a bit..... as should not be the dogs well being first and 5 or 10 minutes could not make such a difference. I decided to take Brownie along, his leg was still swollen a bit but he did not favour it. Eagle is also a great rest spot, with good food and warm and quit sleeping quarters in the school house. I got 3 hrs of sleep in, my body still demanding more, but time to boot up and go. I ended up doing a lot of night running, where specially the after midnight hours get long, very long. Peter Ledwide was just ready to leave ahead of me, when one of males decided it�s breeding time. His dogs could not have been very tired if they still only think about that. We both left short before 19.00. He soon passed me on the road leading up the American Summit and I could see his light for a long way. Brownie was doing good, him being a very solid leader it would be a big loss to drop him.
I think I totally overpacked on this run....having too much weight in the sled. Although the weather being nice, I could see the stars and northern lights, the run over the summit was hell to me. On the way down, the trail had sidehill and I flipped 3 times. What a grunt to get the sled upright again, just to flip again a few meters down the trail. The word exhaustion does not really describe my state of mind. I sat down on my seat (I love that one) and just dozed, drenched in sweat while the dogs were chugging along. But even here the sled went off the trail I do not know how many times, because it was so top heavy and flipped in the deep snow beside the trail. I could not believe it, and got more and more frustrated even kicking my sled...... not that that would do much good. One time laying in the deep snow beside the darn trail again, I all for sudden noticed John Schandelmeier behind me...... answering my question how long he�s been there he said �quite a while�. Seeing me fall off the trail so many times, must have been quite an entertainment for him. I let him go by and used the time to snack. Lot`s..... to get rid of some of that weight. The Trail on the Highway here is quite a bit up and down, a lot more than I thought.
This was a real real long night, in retrospect the longest of the race....... I wondered if that O�Brians Bridge would ever come reaching it at 2.30, after 7.30rhs running, which felt like 20hrs. It was cold down there, I should have stayed a little further up where I�d passed Peter Ledwidge, if felt a lot warmer up there. Dave Dalton and Dan Kaduce were also parked at O�Brians bridge. Soon after I arrived Frank Turner pulled in and sometime in the night Thomas Tetz.
The dogs did not eat as well as I thought, I snacked them too much on the trail, the same old mistake again. I tried to sleep in the sled, could not close an eye, than layed down beside the sled on my foamy and my sleeping bag over me. When I woke up I was unbelievable cold........ I was too lazy to take my bunny boots off, to really crawl in my sleeping bag, a mistake I would not do again. It took me a long time to warm up. Brownies swelling went down slightly but still worrying me. On top he had a harness rub. Marmot limped again on his wrist, although it was not even swollen. I cannot exactly remember anymore, but I think I left O Brians at 7.30 after resting for 5 hrs, which meant I cut rest by 2.30 hrs or in that range.
I heared all kind of Stories about that trail on the 40 Mile River, from being monster cold, with lot�s of overflow, to being punchy and slow. Well we had good luck and neither of it and with it being daytime running it warmed up to about 25 to 30 below. The River has quite a drop in it and you can feel and see that you travel downhill. The riverbanks go steep up, very beautiful. There are surprisingly many mining camps on it. About 2 hrs down the trail was a heated 2 story cabin, a spot to remember for the future, sure beats sleeping on O�Brians Bridge. I tried to make out on the map where I was on the river, but being so tired small tasks like that take too much effort, after all what difference does it make where I am, somewhere on the 40 mile anyways...
The dogs slowed down in pace, this was the first time I cut rest
and that must have been the effect of it. Sure enough Frank Turner
caught up to me short before 40 Mile, I wanted to let him go by
but he stayed behind to snack. He soon came up again from behind
and went by..... I felt like standing still. Good that 40 Mile bridge
was in sight. I arrived in 40 mile at 14.45. (or 15.45 Yukon Time)
only a some 6.15 running time, I guess we were not moving that slow
after all. Funny what your mind can play tricks on you when you
get worked up in certain thoughts. Still we travelled a bit ahead
of schedule about 2 hrs. Looking back at it I made a small mistake
here of resting too long and should have left after 6 hrs resting,
specially with the long 36rhs coming ahead in Dawson. Instead I
rested 7.30 hrs, thinking I need to make up that cut rest of O Brain�s.
The dogs ate and drank well and my big load of the sled was almost
gone, all in their bellies. Amazing of how much they eat on a trip
Shelly and Sebastian opened their cabin to us, there were mushers sleeping all over the floor and Shelly cooked a great stew for us. Again I felt very thankful for their hospitality. What would be the race without?