Armchair Musher: Mile 101

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2-10-2019 11:09 PM

Well the front four are all in Two Rivers with the clock ticking down on the mandatory 8 hour rest everyone takes at that checkpoint. Paige, who by all accounts has been running a great race is over Eagle Summit and into 101. As I type this Matt and Denis are starting the steep part of the climb. Folks if you have not already used the red course profile below the tracking map, Eagle Summit and Rosebud are the place to do it.  Click on any of the blue dots that are scattered along the red graph and the name of the musher who at that point/elevation will pop up.  It gives a good visual as to how steep some of these sections of trail really are.  And like the other graphs you can double click it to zoom in. Click hold and drag to move to the section of trail you want to see. And right now I see a nice looking pack of strong teams at the base of that climb. The visual for me really helps illustrate things.

I had the chance to drive out to 101 briefly this afternoon; it was so good to see so many Quest friends. The traveling roadshow of handlers, vets, media, and officials is a part of the race mushers do not get to experience. Until they swap places and handle. Talking with Checkpoint Manager Georganne Hurt-Hampton (who was head cook and Mistress of Making Bacon the year I ran) I had to admit I was not only nostalgic for being out on the trail. I was even missing handling for the Quest, as it is its own special kind of adventure. Even though today I was just a drop in visitor, it was fun to see old friends. The 101 checkpoint is known for being in a difficult place, and making up for it with exceptional hospitality. Not sure if folks know this, but the 101 checkpoint has been supported for as long as anyone there could remember by Dick and Joni at Ivory Jacks (free parking :)

Today the weather was warm, and the sun was shining. But that can change in a heartbeat. I am guessing every team leaving Central will be asking about the run times and the weather. There is usually a board at checkpoint that gives a running list of the in and out times for teams. It is all publicly available for everyone to see. So a musher can look at the teams that are ahead and see how long a run has taken them. And they do this knowing full well that the numbers of variables that can affect a team’s run time are almost infinite, so you cannot know your time will be the same. But in a world of uncertainties sometimes assumptions and estimates are the best you have to work with. So you see how long the run has been taking people, and then you ask about the weather. On a section of trail like the run over Eagle Summit, weather matters. I found a site that gives current conditions and forecasts for wind speed and direction around the world. Here is the Eagle Summit Page. It took me a few minutes to figure out, but if you are interested in knowing what conditions mushers are facing this is a good resource for you. Actually I got sucked into the site, they have a map and you can find wind forecasts for all over the world. I had no idea, but I bet wind surfers, sailors, and extreme kite-fliers did. 

So back to our racers, Cody and Ryne took a relatively long rest in Central. So it may suggest they are setting their teams up for a pattern similar to what Brent did, camping later on Birch Creek to then skip Central and stop at 101. Dave is appears to be moving up the standings. And Jason seems to be having very good steady runs as well. 

As of now there are only three teams who have scratched, and statistically that is low. Of course we always hope to see teams finish, but that is not always the case. In an earlier post I mentioned how this race is a very personal journey for the mushers that run it. One that started years earlier as they amassed the skills and resources, and it although the race itself was a public spectacle the journey was very personal. I want to take a minute to publicly thank Lisbet for her honesty and candor in sharing her story with us. She posted an update to her Team Anadyr facebook page on Saturday. Again, thank you Lisbet for sharing your story with us, and I hope you will all join me in wishing her the very best and looking forward to seeing her back in the future.

Well I typed long enough for Matt to make it over the Summit, and although I could stay glued to it all night with everything that is going on. But I better get some sleep, I think tomorrow is going to be a pretty exciting day.

Mush Love


Jodi Bailey