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.
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 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.