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.
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!
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.