On the trail - Stepping Stone - Pelly Crossing
Stepping Stone was a heaven, nice signs with calling for burritos, lasagne, hot water and other goodies leading the way in there. The rigged up „ short term parking „ and „ long term parking „ , quite sight. In my weak state of mind I of course opted to the long term one. The volunteers there treated us like Kings, it was just great. After only running for 2 hrs I should definitely not have stayed 6, but so I did...... having me to leave at short before midnight, right another ugly night run again. Worse of, that would get me in the heat of the day later leaving Pelly. I surprised myself by that thought....... I guess my scratching thought was erased by Franks lecture. By this time Thomas left ahead of me with his 8 dogs. I put Coon back in the team and he looked fine, not even a hint of a limp. At least that decision I did right. Soon I caught up to Thomas on the Steward River. The ice was mostly flat, just some little jumbled spots here and there, enough to keep me from totally falling asleep.
11 dogs were still pulling me steadily along. Because of the uneven number Tang was running single lead. She had run every step of the race in lead. Chevy really surprised me. The old loper made it all the way, still switching between loping and trotting. Paws, Otto, Wondar, Chevy, Tang, Herring and Micky were absolute trouble free. Even more amazing with Micky being only a bit more than one year old. He is the only young dog in the team. Marmot is also only 4, all the rest is 7 and up. Coon I had a tight eye on, Marmot’s wrist needed constant massaging. Libby’s cut in the paw I had to nurse along so did the Sore on Pianos foot I missed way back in Eagle cause trouble now. All in all nothing to serious though. After less than 5 hrs we pulled into Pelly. Right when we left the River Bank some playing Foxes greeted us. It was very strange to rest right next to running trucks at a rest stop. Annette Kriller came over I was glad to see her as I developed a trust in her skills. She again pointed out sore muscles in Wondar and Herring I would never have found. Massaging and Algyval did the trick again. Finally when I had a minute I talked to Markus to ask him why the hell he did not tell me that Brownie needed to be rechecked in Dawson. He was startled, and did not quite know what I was talking about. Nobody had told him to tell me anything. Whatever happened there in Dawson was very bizarre. Even more, that none of the Vets had talked to Markus after I left Dawson. Anyhow there were now only 2 possibilities. The vets talked to a total stranger, or this thing was a setup. After having a lot of time to think about the whole thing on the trail, I figured also out, that the vets did break an essential rule, which we were told to follow in the mushers meeting. All communication has to be between vet and musher only. Not between handler and vet. Not that this did me any good now, but some changes have to come out of this in the future. The should be a mandatory „ vet in „ and „ Vet Out „ check in Dawson. In my case if the vets really had such a concern about Brownie, that should have at least taken the time to tell me and come out when I leave. How am I supposed to know their concern exists. Done is done. Mentally I at least was able to close this chapter now and focus on the last 250 miles coming ahead.
The long stretch, 200 Miles between Dawson and Pelly were quite a concern to me before the race. It definitely can be run in 4 long runs, one past Indian River, one to Scroggy Creek, one to about 2 hrs before Stepping Stone and the last into Pelly, each being some 8 hrs long. I did it in 5 and rested quite a bit longer than I ran. That did pull me out of the top 5 group and into the 10th place group.
My new schedule put me out of Pelly at 10.20 , yippee right in the heat of the day...... (just joking) but I felt that it really did not matter no more. Racing as racing for positions was over for me. It was just getting the team to the finish now and having some fun while doing so. Off we left Pelly, and again Thomas leaving ahead of me. I missed the company of Frank and John, but Thomas was a lot of fun to travel with also. 11 dogs were still in my team.