Aily Zirkle came in about an hour after Jeff King. She and Jeff are sleeping now after getting their dogs settled and having a quick snack for themselves. It sounds like she had a rough run. Someone chewed through two ganglines and Quito got loose and took off after Jeff’s team. She obviously got Quito back, she arrived with all her dogs! I didn’t quite hear the whole story, but I will see what I can find out later.
Dallas Seavey just pulled in. His checkpoint routine was to get the dogs hay first and get them settled. Then he set up his cooker to start heating water. Here, the mushers are given a bucket of water from a hole cut in the river. They have to use their cookers to heat the water. Dallas started his cooker by poking holes in three bottles of Heet and pouring it in to the bottom of the cooker. Then he grabbed some hay and lit it and went from there.
He says he has a young team and he’s pretty impressed with how they have done. His current leader is just two years old, and the rest of the team is three. He also spoke of the glare ice and how the dogs were slipping and sliding. He even talked about doing 360’s with the team! He seems to think the future with these dogs is bright. He said he pushed them this last run because he didn’t want to have any regrets or be able to wonder, “What if?” as he tried to catch the leaders. He asked after Christian Turner who is running his puppy team. He says those dogs will be on his team next year, so he is anxious to learn if they are having a good run. Dallas admits that he is tired, but there isn’t that much further to go.
At the White Mountain checkpoint, a few unique things happen. This is a mandatory gear check location. So when the teams are parked, the vets swarm in and check the dogs and then they and the musher sign off on the vet book. The musher also has to sign in on the checker sheet and then the mandatory gear is checked. Technically, if the musher is missing anything, they could have a fine or be withdrawn from the race. The mushers can ask for a wake-up call on their way into the sleeping area. Interestingly enough, Jeff did not ask for one and Aily did. As the mushers leave the checkpoint after their mandatory eight hour stay, they will be given back their racing bibs. They will put them in their sled for now and will put them on when they get to Safety as they have to have them on for the finish in Nome.
We have another lull in the action and then the next mushers will begin to roll in. I’m hoping to get to Nome today so that I’m in time to see the winner cross the finish line! Cross your fingers for me!