At 12.53pm Allen and the Black Team arrived as the first team into the Pelly Crossing checkpoint.

The dogs looked so good and happy coming in and, as usual, Mac was slamming his harness and screaming while Allen had his mandatory gear checked by the officials.

Mac yells! Izzy and Chipper get their straw beds

Bridgett then led the team to a nice parking spot just off the main trail and Allen set to and methodically completed his chores. First up is always giving the dogs snacks of beef and poultry skins and a little dry kibble right off the snow. What I thought was great was that the dogs weren’t so tired that they flopped down immediately, they snacked and settled and only once the straw was down and booties off did we see them stretch out and enjoy the sun. Mismo decided he wanted to sleep right on the snow rather than straw. Allen massaged and wrapped a couple of wrists, just as a precautionary measure and the vets came to have a quick check-over and consult with Allen if he had any issues.

There were a sweet moment during the busy-ness: we all know that Dutch is a lover and when Allen was kneeling next to him taking is booties off Dutch was kissing and nuzzling him.

When the race goes from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Pelly Crossing is where Allen gets light! He took off the caboose of his sled and will now be travelling as lightly as he can while keeping enough food, supplies and equipment to keep them safe out there. You know when you clean out your kitchen cupboards and it looks way worse until it looks better when you pull everything out, sort it then put it back in? Well, that’s what his camp spot looked like while he was repacking!

Allen works on his sled

Allen then came inside and devoured two plates of lasagne, answered a few questions from the media and then took his place in the mushers’ sleeping quarters for a fast, but hopefully rejuvenating sleep. Allen himself is looking good and is extremely coherent. The potential strategies and timing of other mushers Bridgett was working out this morning – Allen was doing the same thing during his run. His math is better than mine right now and he’s been on a sled since Saturday!!

Allen is not that fond of this weather. When one of the reporters asked him if he preferred this weather (around 30-34F) to last years 50 below he said he preferred last year! He said it is so much better for the dogs to be cooler and if he had to choose between the two he’d choose 50 below. The advantage he said is that the team is now resting during the heat of the day compared to a few other mushers who are still mushing through the afternoon.

Once Allen and team pull out of Pelly we (handler crew) will need to clear up the camp spot then tuck tail to get to McCabe Creek Dog Drop to meet the team there. You won’t hear from me on here again until we get to Carmacks so keep an eye on the Yukon Quest website and Facebook page for updates. I may be able to post a few pics to our Instagram and Facebook so check them out also.

Anything can still happen in this race. There are a bunch of them in striking distance of a win or a top five placing and we could still see some big moves and surprising tactics. It’s a long way from over!

I have video of the team arriving but don’t want to use up all the checkpoint’s bandwidth so I’ll catch you up at the end.

16 Responses

  • Good for Allen and the Black Team! It has been thrilling to watch the tracker and see how close the top 5 are to each other. Thanks once again for the insightful and informative reports. You guys are the best!

  • Every year, I am in awe of the vocation of Allen and Aliy to do these amazing races!!! AND of these wonderful athletic, beautiful, faithful dogs who do it, and last BUT NOT LEAST of these amazing handlers who, along with the mushers and the dogs perform miracles!!!
    Love you all!
    I'm with you SP Kennel! Go for first place because you deserve it!!!

  • Thanks for the info SP Crew! Your fans are with you all the way!
    Allen and dogs are doing an amazing job! Go Black!!!!!

  • The team looks fantastic arriving in Pelly. Mac is looking right at the camera, ha ha, "Is that my buddy Moira?"

    Excellent team work crew.
    Smart move lightening the load, and waiting for Pelly for lasagna.

    I hope everyone is well rested and enjoying the remaining 280 miles of the race.

  • Great race so far! Sorry it is too warm for the dogs to feel their best but maybe they can rest in the hottest times and run at night. Really appreciate the inside reports and good news so far that the Black Team is doing super!!
    Yip, yip, yip!!

  • Zero degrees in Weston CT now!

    Go Black Team!!! Woof, woof, woof!!!

    Thnaks so much for this excellent update – ditto to the comments above congratulation the entire SP Kennel Team!!! WOOF!!!

    Love you all, and a special lick to Dutch!!!

  • Ditto to all the comments above….Allen is doing an amazing job with this somewhat young Team….go Black Team go!!! Minus 12 here and falling….SO wish I could send the temps your way for the dogs sake!!!

  • Thank you for these great updates and photos. I am so glad to be able to join you on this race through these reports. Many thanks for the reporting. Go SP Kennel!

  • That is quite an assortment Allen is going through. Lighten the load so the Black team can fly down the trail. The team looks so fantastic. Glad you enjoyed the lasagna Allen. Mac is certainly showing the youngsters on the team how to be enthusiastic. Good boy Mac. Go SPK.

  • Ditto and ditto….minus 10 here in northeastern Minnesota – yes – I wish I could send you the cold temps, too. My god. This is incredible. Go SP Kennel! GO ALLEN! GO BLACK TEAM!!!!!!!!! It's incredible to think that a team with so many youngsters could be doing so well in this long race. Way to go. And thank you to all the SP Kennel 2-leggeds who keep us up to date. This is so exciting.

  • Lookin' Great! Go Black Team! This is where the different strategies come into play and hop scotch runs abound. Will be glued to the tracker. Hoping for the best but always proud to be a fan. Allen is doing a fabulous job getting those rookie dogs down the trail and set up for future superstar status. Thanks for the update during this hectic time. Love it!

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