Day 8: Birch Creek or Bust

Saturday, February 9, 2019

With the miles ticking off one by one and a brief respite between summits, the lead pack continues to keep a close eye on one another’s run/rest schedules, searching for any weakness or opportunity to exploit for precious seconds.

Allen Moore and Sass were first out of Slaven’s Roadhouse around 4:30 a.m. this morning, followed by Yukon veterans Hans Gatt and Michelle Phillips roughly an hour later, and Paige Drobny a little after 9 a.m.

Moore was first into Circle just before 9:30 a.m., a scant ten minutes before Brent Sass. Sass would lead out of Circle after three hours rest with 14 dogs, followed an hour later by Moore and his 13. Gatt and Phillips were next in, and after some food and rest gave chase around 4:30 p.m. with 10 and 11 on the line, respectively.

Paige Drobny made it to Circle at 3 p.m., where she rested until 8 p.m. and then departed for Central with a team of 10. Matt Hall shortly before 7 p.m., leaving just shy of midnight with the same 10 who brought him in.

Day’s end finds our top four camped out at roughly 10-mile intervals along the formidable Birch Creek section of trail, Sass in the lead 16 miles from Central, Moore at 26, Gatt at 34, and Phillips at 35. Drobny is still on the move 45 miles out, followed by Hall.

Denis Tremblay presently has the comforts of Circle all to himself, with Ryne Olson, Torsten Kohnert and Nathaniel Hamlyn enroute from Slaven’s, where Jessie Royer, Cody Strathe, Brian Wilmshurst and Martin Apayauq Reitan are stopped.

Further back, Perano through Pace are all making their way to Slaven’s, Travadon and Lanier continue to rest at Trout Creek, and Strachnau, Leduc and Allaway remain in Eagle.


Standings as of 11:59 p.m. AKST:

  1. Brent Sass
  2. Allen Moore
  3. Hans Gatt
  4. Michelle Phillips
  5. Paige Drobny
  6. Matt Hall
  7. Denis Tremblay
  8. Ryne Olson
  9. Nathaniel Hamlyn
  10. Torsten Kohnert
  11. Jessie Royer
  12. Cody Strathe
  13. Brian Wilmshurst
  14. Martin Apayauq Reitan
  15. Curt Perano
  16. Dave Dalton
  17. Jason Biasetti
  18. Deke Naaktgeboren
  19. Rob Cooke
  20. Andy Pace
  21. Isabelle Travadon
  22. Misha Wiljes
  23. Jim Lanier
  24. Chase Tingle
  25. Hendrik Stachnau
  26. Remy Leduc
  27. Laura Allaway