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Old 02-08-2015, 02:19 AM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
1,745 posts, read 2,273,264 times
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Yes the Toughest Race on Earth started today in Whitehorse. I'll be going up to "my" checkpoint, Mile 101 on Thursday. Please feel free to follow the checkpoint adventures at https://www.facebook.com/checkpoint.mileoneoone?fref=ts.

Who is your favorite musher? This year mine is Matt Hall as he is the son of my friends and an awesome musher.


YQ 2014 - The Story - YouTube

As of tonight, Checkpoint Mile 101 has been opened up by assistant checkpoint manager Mike Bowman. If anybody needs help or a cup of coffee on the Steese Highway between 12 Mile Summit and Eagle Summit, please feel free to stop by.
At this point the weather is good and no problems are anticipated. For emergencies (but only for that) we are for now connected to the outside world by Sat-Phone.
Our checkpoint time table is as follows:
02/8: Delivery of straw and food drop bags for mushers, cabin repairs and set up.
02/11: Our communication manager Nathan Brisboise will arrive and open the communication cabin. He will stay until the last musher leaves.
02/11: Hughes net technicians will arrive and set up our internet link to the outside world. Thanks for being such an awesome sponsor !!
02/11 -12: An extra crew of trail breakers will arrive (not the ones who check the trail before the first musher) to go over the trail from Central over Eagle Summit down the Birch Creek drainage and up to Rosebud again to add markers and gather last minute trail reports. At least two trail breakers will then be stationed at 101 for trail care or emergencies until the last musher leaves.
02/12: Georganne Hampton will arrive to officially open the Mile 101 cook shack, which she runs for 6 years now with Kelly Kamper. She will also bring with her the awesome food Ivory Jacks, a restaurant in the Goldstream Valley near Fairbanks provides for us to feed mushers. Ivory Jacks used to be a sponsor of our little dog drop when no one cared. They are still providing us with food for mushers at what has now become a checkpoint more than 15 years later. Thank you again, again and again ! smile emoticon
O2/13: Kelly Kamper, the checkpoint manager Peter Kamper and all additional crew will arrive.
02/14: Final set up of the checkpoint. Stews and soups will be prepared and the dog lot will be laid out.
02/15: First musher will arrive. We anticipate this to happen in the early morning hours.
The weather is supposed to warm up considerably over the next week and we will keep you posted on this page about weather/wind conditions at 101 and the surrounding Summits as soon as information becomes available.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
Happy Trails to all... smile emoticon
Checkpoint Mile 101
The crew
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:50 PM
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Looking forward to you keeping us updated...

Last edited by Dakster; 02-08-2015 at 01:30 PM..
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:02 PM
Location: Interior Alaska
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Yay! Exciting stuff. Love the FB page... great updates. Thanks, Georganne. Allen Moore and Aliy Zirkle are family friends, so of course they are my picks but now I will watch Matt Hall this year, too. I grew a soft side for Brent Sass and Hugh Neff last year with the head injury... pretty scary stuff.

Who are you all's picks or favorites?
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:30 AM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
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Mushers are arriving in Dawson, the half way point. In previous years there was a 36 hour layover here. As of this year, the mandatory layover is 26 but with an extra mandatory layover required in Circle, Central, or 101. This is the only checkpoint where handlers can help the mushers. Normally handlers set up extensive camps for the dogs and care for them while the musher stays in town at the hotel. The handlers can create a covered space for the dogs but it can not be all the way enclosed. You can see our camp and a few others in my "Adventures in Handling" post from 2009 when I handled for Wayne Hall.

4 mushers have scratched so far, including my fav, Matt Hall (son of previously mentioned friend.) But it looks like Brent is doing great so I am happy for him.

There are still unconquered lands.
I saw a bumper sticker not long ago that said 'Alaskans For Global Warming.' I had to laugh. I think there are 22 mushers somewhere in the Canadian Yukon who would gladly support that cause right now.
The dwindling ‪#‎yukonquest‬ field has largely checked through Pelly Crossing, and is now making the 201 mile trek to Dawson City. Temperatures are reported to be in the -50 range.
We don't count wind chill up here. At -45 (the lowest windchill charts go) even the 10 mph wind speed created by a dog team drops the effective temp to 72 below. Anyone who's ever traveled the Yukon knows there is a near constant wind.
I say somewhere in the Yukon because we don't really know where the mushers are. They are carrying little GPS trackers, but there are places on this planet where GPS doesn't work. Where satellite phones say 'no signal.' Where you remember that no matter how many machines we put into space, how smart we can make a computer, or how many warplanes we can stack on a boat, humans are still not in control. We are very, very, very, small.
Right now 22 mushers are feeling very small. Their world consists of the 10' beam cast by the LED headlight. It shows 12 little dog butts, concertedly scurrying towards some unknown destination. They have no idea where they are, and rarely see markers. They are relying entirely on those lead dogs to follow the trail, on those little trail markers to lead to somewhere, on the 3 AA batteries in that headlight to last until daylight, on these 24,506 goose feathers to keep their core temperature slightly above hypothermia. The only thing they can hope to control is to make their fingers hold onto that handlebar. Never let go. But at -72, they're not even in control of their fingers.
Have you ever been in 50 below? Try to eat. A snickers bar might as well be a concrete block. A banana will drive a 20 penny nail into a plank. If spilled, freshly roasted coffee will freeze before it hits the ground. Same goes for bodily fluids.
If you're frustrated watching the GPS trackers, don't worry, they're not telling the truth. Jeff King (I'm 99% sure) isn't still stopped, and all those other blips DO NOT accurately represent where the teams that carry the signal actually are. We'll know when they get to Dawson. Fortunately the Yukon Quest Facebook page is doing a phenomenal job posting updates.
But Facebook doesn't work where those guys are either.

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Old 02-10-2015, 12:11 PM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
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You can listen to this here: Mushers navigate highs and lows along the Yukon Quest trail | KUAC

Lance is already missing one finger. Fingers are turning black and he is still mushing...


On Air
Talk of Alaska
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Yukon Quest
4:34 am
Tue February 10, 2015
Mushers navigate highs and lows along the Yukon Quest trail

By Emily Schwing

Pelly Crossing, YK - Along the Yukon Quest trail, Mushers experience all kinds of highs and lows. Sometimes their dog teams cruise. At other times a rough trail and harsh weather can make even the toughest musher question why they signed up for he race.

In the last three days, almost every musher has had something to say about the persistent deep cold that has settled in over the Yukon. “None of us had thermometers with us because none of us wanted thermometers with us,” said musher Matt Hall.

Hall said teams in the middle of the pack have been running close together in part because of frigid temperatures. “So it was kind of fun. It made us kind of stick together,” he said. “You’d come around a corner and there’d be mushers grouped together and a big fire going and even though you’re competing against each other everybody would sit around the fire together and talk and it’s just a different side of things versus when it’s warmer and everybody spreads out more and you’re just all on your own.”

Despite the camaraderie, Hall arrived in Pelly Crossing in low spirits. “Yeah, I think I’m at what they call the wall,” said Hall.

He said his team just didn’t seem geared up, but he was convinced his dogs were responding to his own low mood. “Oh, I think it’s me. Everything feeds off of you,” he said. “You’re the coach so I think once we get to Dawson that will be the light that pulls us out of it.”

Hall dropped two dogs in Carmacks, and four when he arrived in Pelly. His team left quietly from that checkpoint, but two hours later, he returned to scratch - perhaps an ultimate low for the up-and-coming musher who placed third as Rookie of the Year in 2014.

Highs and lows on the trail aren’t out of the ordinary for even the most veteran of mushers. “Just one minute everything’s great and then the next minute it’s like what the hell just happened? I’ve been referring to as being plugged in and unplugged,” said Lance Mackey.

Nearly every one of his fingertips is frost bitten in spite of battery powered glove heaters. “I can’t put it out of my head. It’s one of those things that’s a constant reminder,” he said of his aching fingers. “I need a replacement with a booty horn on one hand and a hook on the other or something,” he joked.

But the four-time champion is experienced enough to know the Yukon Quest is fraught with ups and downs even for the dogs. “Well coming through some of that jumble ice, I had [a dog] fall in a crack and as soon as it happened I knew she was going to be done,” he said. “So I stopped right away and apologized for not being able to control all the things and I go up there and I have my little talk with her and I’m walking back to the sled and then I fall in a crack and I fall on my head and I tuned back and ‘See?’ and we kind of laughed about a bad situation,” said Mackey.

And then there’s Thorsten Kohnert. “So far I was pretty leveled,” said Kohnert. “No high not low just average. But of course there will be moments you probably regret singing up like if you’re standing in your knees in some overflow in 40 below or something, that’s not so funny.”

The even-keeled Swede didn’t have much to report from the first 300 miles of his race. His plan is to take it easy into Dawson City.

“Well, I don’t believe in stressing things up,” Kohnert said. “Nothing good comes out of it, so I try to be leveled.”

Mushers are looking forward to 24 hours of rest in Dawson. A few say they might consider staying longer. Whether they are serious isn’t entirely clear. The weather forecast is calling for a break in the cold over the next day or two, but few mushers say the trust that prediction.

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Old 02-10-2015, 12:38 PM
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Very tough conditions.... Thanks again for the update Georganne. Keep them coming. I don't facebook so I can't follow the action on Facebook...
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:48 PM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
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I think you can read it even if you don't have a FB account. Here's the official Yukon Quest FB page.

And here is the Mile 101 Page.

And here is mine. All my Quest posts will be posted publicly so you can see them even if you are not a Facebook friend.
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:54 PM
Location: Back and Beyond
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Who won the gold by making it to Dawson first?
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Old 02-11-2015, 12:29 AM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
1,745 posts, read 2,273,264 times
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Brent did but Allan was right on his tail, only 7 minutes later!
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Old 02-11-2015, 12:31 AM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
1,745 posts, read 2,273,264 times
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You can follow it from the Quest's site with it's live tracker and leader board. Yukon Quest | THE 1,000 MILE INTERNATIONAL SLED DOG RACE .
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