Yukon Quest festivities and formalities start Wednesday evening here in Whitehorse so Allen and I travelled over Tuesday night.
Tonight is the Yukon Meet the Mushers event where public and fans get to meet all the starting YQ1000 mushers and get signatures and photos. It’s a fun, social occasion so if you are in or near Whitehorse come along and say “Hi”!
Both dog teams, escorted by Aliy, Mark and Wendy (who is handling for Aliy in the YQ300) travel over on Thursday while Allen is in musher meetings and at a luncheon for the “Quest Guest” auction winners. Moira has a handler meeting during the day also to learn about the checkpoints and the rules that apply to the handler team.
The teams will arrive on Thursday evening in time to get the dogs a hot meal then the humans go into the Starters Banquet and Bib Draw where we will learn when the Black Team will leave the start chute on Saturday.
Friday is a day of final preparation and rest for the 1000 mile racers while Aliy and the YQ300 team have compulsory vet checks and their musher/handler meetings and bib draw. The vet checks were not able to be completed privately prior to the race, and every dog racing with Aliy, regardless if they completed a vet check as a “potential” for Allen, will get a comprehensive top-to-toe check over by the volunteer vet team.
Then, Saturday from 11am the YQ1000 teams will leave from Shipyards Park, Whitehorse followed at 3pm by the YQ300 teams, on their way to the first checkpoint in Braeburn.
For more information about these and other events see the Yukon Quest website.
Chris and Ruth are staying at the kennel for the Yukon side of the race, caring for and continuing to train all those left behind. There’s still more racing after this so it’s important those not doing this race keep in shape.