We all sat down for breakfast together and caught up with Allen where he told us some stories of his trip so far.

I think the main thing on many mushers’ minds when they arrived into Dawson was the extra “hill” they had to climb. Allen said he must have misunderstood the trail report when they were told they had AN extra climb over A hill. Turns out it was about 50 miles of UP. He said he kept wondering at what point there was going to be some downhill!

When we look at the tracker elevation map of the whole race (below) you can see the obvious peaks: Rosebud and Eagle Summit at the start, American Summit is next, the BIG wide one is the Clinton Creek “hill” right before Dawson. After Dawson you’ll see King Solomon’s Dome which, up until this race, was the highest peak they climb then it is followed by the Black Hills.

Elevation map of the whole race

When you see the elevation map expanded you can see the nature of their additional climb. For much of the time they are travelling along the Top of the World Highway and Allen said it is so far up – you are above the treeline and higher than everything else around! So, I think all the mushers and dogs will be pretty happy to get that climb behind them and have 36 hours of rest!

A closer look at the Clinton Creek Hill

Along the top of the ridge when the Black Team went by, evidently there were some Caribou on the trail. Allen said as soon as Mac saw them he went completely crazy! He started barking and lunging and the whole team perked up and flew along the road for a few miles chasing them. “If only they’d seen that 20 miles earlier” Allen quipped.

You may have seen the Newsminer article that told us Allen broke his handlebar just before Eagle. He said that they had been travelling on jumble ice for miles and miles with the sled crashing and banging all the way. On the very last ‘jumble’ before Eagle the handlebar broke so he had to navigate his way into Eagle without one. He was able to fix it at the checkpoint well enough to carry on to Dawson. Mark was on hand to reinforce the fix once he got his hands on the sled in Dawson.

Over breakfast Allen told us about his scenic excursion through Eagle.

We tell you about the dogs and how and what they eat on the trail but what about the musher? Allen works incredibly hard behind the sled ski-poling and running up hills that he burns a lot of calories also. He was talking to Bridgett and I last evening about how hungry he is right now.

On the trail he eats oatmeal bars, nuts and bacon as snacks then freeze dried meals or seam-sealed “proper” meals for a bigger meal. Once at a checkpoint, however, he will eat all the food he never eats at home: burgers and sandwiches and more burgers… and he said at this point he is always hungry. Aliy and Allen are very strict and regimented with their diets during the year but when racing Allen he can and will eat anything. And he doesn’t put on weight.

Bridgett and I thought that sounded like the perfect scenario so Allen suggested we could do it too “just run up Rosebud, Eagle Summit, American Summit and Clinton Creek Hill and that’ll do it!” Thanks Allen, but I think I’m okay.

10 Responses

  • Grand!!! Tho I could find no el markers on the topo mapping – following the tracker info – the speed of the teams gave a pretty good hint at the climb.

    Gruelling – very long… All of you, 2 & 4, more than two thumbs up!

  • Great stories Allen. I am glad you are ok. I do not know how you would do it without a handlebar, but you do. And the image of the dogs staring in the window is just a riot. Safe travels.

  • Yup, I'm okay with not running uphill too….anywhere, I cannot imagine the number of calories burned while mushing, poling, running uphill or on flat terrain. Love the story-telling. I think Allen has a gift for that. Hysterical about the pups and the headlight in the window. Too funny! I guess it will be sometime after midnight Alaska time when the black team heads out again. I've been watching the tracker to see how the other teams have been doing during this rest period. It's been fun becoming familiar with them and where they are on the trail, but starting tomorrow my focus will mostly be on the black team's progress.

  • I am not sure how I did this (Moira or Mac could probably straighten me out), but when I took a 360 degree video of Top of the World, it became linked to a video from our day on the Yukon River with Tommy Taylor instead of the post for Top of the World (??). But I am adding the link to that River Post .. just stay on board after the fish wheel and it should appear.

    When I unexpectedly found myself looking at it, I thought it might be a good way to show some of what Allen was seeing as he crested along the top of everything.


  • Great summary. Watching the live tracker it was obvious that the mushers were on the top of that hill for a long time. What a great group of dogs to pull their way through and get to Dawson for a good rest – but ready to go the next 500. Any idea what time Allen plans to pull out of Dawson; probably early in the am.

  • What an adventure! The team will remember doggies and musher headlamps in the windows, and will want to do it again next year.

    A little excitement getting to know one of the locals, seeing a few extra streets, and Allen still pulled in ahead of Hugh, wow!

    That guy's grandkid is going to get Allen's autograph one day, and he'll say, "Hey, that's the nice fellow I directed to the checkpoint."

    Glad you're getting some rest Allen.

  • Great story about the scenic tour of Eagle – terrific that Allen has a sense of humor about these things – well maybe he wasn't laughing at the time…

    Hope the sled repair holds up and I expect that Allen will be paying special attention to the trail report he receives in Dawson when they talk about going up the "hill" to King Solomon's Dome.

    Thanks SPK crew for giving us these great background stories in the midst of everything else you have going on.

    Go Black Team! Go Dogs!

  • What an adventure is right. Allen is a great storyteller, & I love his accent. The dogs looking at the headlamp in the windows is funny. What tales they can share with the kennel will be priceless. What a remarkable feat steering with a broken handlebar. Hope the repair in Dawson holds up for the remainder of the race. Go SPK.

  • Wonderful post – great story telling skills by Allen!!!

    And a brainstorm to use a sound recorder!!!

    I particularly enjoyed the image described of the team staring at their reflections…Woof!!!

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