As I hinted in my prior post, there are some changes taking place with the Yukon Quest trail. Due to the lack of snow in the Whitehorse area, race officials have opted to adjust the route with some rather significant changes. Check out the full press release here:
For the 1000-mile race the big changes are:
1) Mushers can decide to start with anywhere from 8 to 14 dogs. The remaining dogs will be added back farther down the trail (Carmacks to be exact).
Ryne’s Commentary- Hm… I’d like to start with the entire squad because we are doing this as a team, but hurtling down a trail at 15 mph also seems like a bad idea. So if we start with less dogs, who has to ride in the truck? Should we take older dogs? Or younger dogs? Leaders? Only 8? Only 10? Only 12? Or an odd number like 9?
2) Teams will run from the start to Braeburn, which is a distance of 100 miles. Once at Braeburn, mushers will load their teams in trucks and drive to Carmacks. Twelve hours after arriving in Braeburn, the teams will leave from Carmacks with their full team of dogs. This will keep teams more or less on the same timeline (for logistical purposes) as if they had run from Braeburn to Carmacks instead of trucking.
Ryne’s Commentary- Excellent. I get to sleep a nice long while after only 100 miles of mushing. But now, how long should we rest on the 100 mile run since we’ll all have 12 hours upon arriving in Braeburn? I’m guessing some teams will try to run it straight, but that seems like a bad idea for the Ryno crew. It’ll be like stage racing! Except for hundreds of miles!
3) For the second year in a row, the Dawson City dog yard will be located at Bonanza Road instead of the campground across the Yukon River. The Yukon River is still not safe to cross.
Ryne’s Commentary- We weren’t in Dawson last year, so this will be new. There apparently aren’t trees or things to construct a tent for the dogs. We’ll have to bring that along- note to Derek and Kalyn. Thanks Mom for getting us a hotel room at the hotel right next to the dog yard!
Another speculation bouncing around the mushing gossip circles is the possible effect of the government shutdown on Slaven’s Dog Drop. Slaven’s Roadhouse is located between Eagle and Circle on a stretch of 150 miles without a checkpoint. The Roadhouse is a Park Service cabin and typically staffed by Park Service Employees for the race. The stop is known for its welcoming atmosphere, copious amounts of food, and toasty, warm building after traveling on the Yukon River for 90 miles. Seriously, they normally have a menu of food you can pick from! And while I do tend to think with my stomach, the bigger loss would be the dog drop itself. I love how the Quest has 150-200 mile stretches without a checkpoint, until I realize 80 miles in, someone needs a ride. The prospect of carrying a dog for 70+ miles takes away some of the magic. Or it could be something as simple as hoping a vet can look over a dog during the course of two days of mushing (which is how long it takes to go 150-200 miles). By no means is it a game changer to not have Slaven’s, all I’m saying is that it will be missed! And losing it due to a government shutdown seems rather silly. And me complaining about it seems rather silly too. I’m sure other folks have a lot bigger issues than that!
Overall, I’m thrilled that the Quest is taking action to keep the teams safe. I can’t imagine the volunteer hours that go into the logistics of this race, and then throw in no snow! Phew! Thank you, thank you, thank you Quest volunteers! We can’t wait to hit the trail, wherever it may be.