Dave’s years of experience is obvious on race day. As other mushers, handlers, and loved ones scramble about leaving miscellaneous gear in their wake, Dave and I enjoyed a rather leisurely morning before the start. As Bib #3, the Dalton Gang was scheduled to leave at 11:09 am and approached the starting line with confidence as the crowd jacked their excitement. The temperature was a balmy 5 degrees F.
Dave’s Official Starter/Quest Sponsor was Melissa from New Hampshire. Her willingness to lend a hand was very much appreciated and, instead of joining Dave on the runners or hopping on the snow machine hitched the rear of the team, Melissa chose to help me guide the runners from the dog (parking) lot, down to the Chena River, and to the starting line. Klejka Family Representatives Jessica and (Jennifer?) and friends, and Nina Schwinghammer completed our escort.
Approximately 40 miles down the trail, I met the Gang at 3:59/4:15 pm at the Twin Bears Checkpoint. A handful of teams had arrived and most chose to lay down straw and stay awhile. Dave, as planned, ratcheted a bale of straw to the sled, put the meat on hot water and headed back out with Ganges in single lead. Tonight, I’m crashing north of Fox and will head out the Steese Highway to Mile 101 in the very early morning!
Dave and gang rolled into Mile 101 at 5:28 this morning. Most folks report the trail is in decent condition, however, the few that have complained are rather vocal about it. There’s a mandatory 2-hour layover here; the Gang is taking at least 4-5 hours. Dave was in good spirits upon his arrival last night; jovial even. The team went through their vet check without incident and quickly took advantage of the straw. Musher and dogs are currently asleep. Four mushers have departed this checkpoint to conquer Eagle Summit; Looks like Dave will be making his ascent in the early to mid afternoon – hopefully the long rest will charge them up for this tough climb.
Entry filed by Alexander Beebe-Giudice, Dalton Gang Handler for 2010 YQ Race