At 5:48pm Allen brought 14 team mates into Carmacks looking fantastic! The run over from McCabe was around 5.5 hours and they will stay here a while to top up the rest they took there.

I was able to make good use of the wifi that the Quest Logistics team sets up in each checkpoint to FaceTime with Aliy (who is back at the kennel completing the Iditarod food drop bags) as the team arrived. She saw them arrive and I walked up and down the line as Allen was checking in so she could see those 14 happy faces. Pixie Ingram from the PR team then helped me get the phone close amongst the crowd for Allen’s media interviews, so it was almost as good as being there.

All three of us helped park the team behind the community centre as it is can be a tricky manoeuvre to bring them into the yard and take them on a big U-turn so they are facing the correct direction when they leave. Allen bed them down and fed them plenty of snacks, they are still eating everything as their metabolism kicked into efficient 1000-mile mode about 500 miles ago.

The temperature here is climbing with Allen remarking, as he was going about his arrival routine, “man it’s warm here”. I believe it is about -20F and forecast to get warmer and warmer as they head south over the next couple of days.

Dinner for Allen was pulled pork with coleslaw and potato salad with a jug of water followed by a nap. He said the sleep in McCabe made a huge difference and this nap will add to that and make him feel great for the trail ahead.

The conversation around the table now includes the finish line. We talk about the plan for the the next couple of runs and now, that includes Whitehorse. We all know that ANYTHING can and does happen in the Yukon Quest so we are certainly still checking the tracker and doing calculations to see where Matt, Paige and the chasing bunch are.

The next 78 mile section from Carmacks to Braeburn in the past has been a “long run”. This run has taken Allen and his team as long as 12-14 hours. He is hoping and anticipating with the rest he has built up to shorten this run significantly.

They’re on a perfect run-rest schedule with the temperatures climbing as they will be running in the cool of the night. Man, what a difference 24 hours makes – we were talking about how to keep them warm and now we are talking about how to keep them cool.

The team will start their run on overland trails with a good base despite low snow conditions. They go across multiple lakes and there was no overflow noted by the trail breakers last time they were in the area. There has also been reports of multiple moose on the trail and in the willows; so our 14 furry friends and one human will need to keep their eyes peeled as to what is lurking beyond the trail.

What’s waiting in Braeburn? The teams have a mandatory eight hour rest there and the dogs will get a thorough exam from the vet team. It will also be important in this final rest to walk the dogs around a bit to warm up as they won’t have rested that long since Dawson. For Allen there will be burgers the size of dinner plates and for us – the famous Braeburn Cinnamon buns! I’ll be sure to get pictures.

9 Responses

  • Thanks, Moira – and thanks for letting us in how on Aliy is watching. With the Iditarod dog drops tomorrow, and her time devoted to that (probably mentally and physically), I can imagine her appreciation of your walking down the gang line for her to see how they are doing.

    I am psyched to see Allen get on the trail again – and starting to get excited about March 3/4.

  • My intrigue with this race continues .. so different from times past. But, I have been watching Matt’s approach on the tracker, as of course any sensible person would. This is the stage where he is likely to reduce rest time, while Allen has increased it.

    So, I have tried to calculate if it will take him longer to get to Carmacks from McCabe or not. The tracker shows Matt as having been there @3.75 hours ago. With current speed, he will be in Carmacks in about two hours. If he stays 4 hours, and frankly, I don’t think he will stay over that, then he has cut Allen’s lead from 9 hours to 6 hours.

    Does that matter at this point in the race? If Matt is going to pour it on, then I guess this is where it will happen. It is true that his average moving speed is .3 mph less than Allen’s, but he may take more risks on rest now and could still be holding back a bit.

    Not being on the ground, not knowing how well the tracker actually represents speed, not knowing a single thing about how to keep a team fast and focused at the end like this means I am guessing like crazy if Allen’s gambling by staying as long as he did in Carmacks, or investing wisely. Sitting from the comfort of my armchair, my impression is that the SPK team’s strength has been in consistency.

    BTW, as it stands now 9:58 AKST, Vebjorn and Laura have the highest average moving speed, 7.9 mph. Paige follows with 7.5, followed by Allen at 7.4, Ed at 7.3 and Matt at 7.1.

    How do you guys make sense of all of this is planning and strategy?

  • Thanks Moira for once again another excellent post. Allen looks more awake in picture ready to ear, & hopefully he can get 2hours sleep inCarmacks. The team is still in excellent condition & look fantastic .
    After rest onward to Braeburn & those humongous cinnamon rolls[ took me 4 meals to eat one). At least there is a mandatory rest in Braeburn. The last hundred miles to Whitehorse. Keep mushing Allen & Black Team. Carmack & Braeburn are nice little stops.
    Go SPK.

  • Actually – If Allen waits for Matt to arrive at Carmacks, and my prediction is good about Matt not staying over 4 hours, then the lead is cut from nine to four.

    This race can drive an Armchair Musher CRAAAZZZZYYY!

  • I’m still in awe he has all Team mates still on the line! That is beyond cool and should help in these final pushes to the end. Allen has just left as Matt is making his approach….it is kinda “strange” so see the chase pack so close right now but I’m sure that is a calculated risk and the rest will give the dogs what they need to make it into “Cinnamon Bun Town” for the next mandatory 8 hour rest to the finish.

    Glad to hear Aliy got to see the dogs in…..its got to be frustrating for her to be at the kennel right now, but preparing Iditarod drop bags are a must!

  • I too have been watching as Matt is approaching Allen, but they are still many miles ahead of him. It is amazing that Allen still has all 14 athletes with him! GO BLACK TEAM! Keep mushing!

  • I am so thankful Allen and his teammates have the opportunity to take more/longer rests this year and see how the team performs. It’s nice to see how the dogs perform with the additional rest. It does look like Allen might shave some minutes off on this run.
    A lot is lost, including the Dawson gold, if the musher is so tired he falls asleep and off the sled. I’m super happy to hear Allen is getting a little sleep too!
    Love the picture of Allen with his dinner. I’m hoping for a picture of him with that big Braeburn burger. 🙂
    I’m interested to hear if they see moose.
    Stay safe and 15 strong SPK Black team.
    Wow! 15!
    Go pups.

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