Stage 2 A Real Bear

What a loooooooonngg day it has been.  We arrived at the start of the race to very gusting winds.  The mushers were told there would be lots of wind, drifting and areas with 10+ inches of new snow.  Most mushers still chose to take only 10 dogs due to the complexity of this trail; however, most of the rookies went with 12 as did a few other mushers.  The trail climbs 14,000 feet and descends 14,000 feet over 74 miles.  We ran Billy and Cracker in lead with the thought that Billy could keep the team moving in the wind and keep them climbing when they started to tire.  The rest of the team was made up of TJ, Quest, Pepper, Ivan, Toppi, Oly, Tanya and Dickens.  They went out with lots of attitude and made the first climb from the parking lot so fast I never got to see them.  The caravan of dog trucks left quickly having heard the pass was going to be windy with lots of blowing snow.  They weren’t kidding.  The wind was unreal and visibility was next to nothing at times.  It was a real white knuckler easing the truck through the pass and trying to keep it on the road.  It took us a little over 3 hours to reach the finish line.  When the time passed it quickly became evident that the trail was tough and the times were going to be alot longer this year.  Wendy was the first in and, although not official, will most likely take first on this stage with about approx. 20 minutes over Jacque Phillip and Melanie Swingley.  She came in with a young 2 year old leader in single lead.  Bruce and JR had great runs and we are anxiously awaiting the results.  It looks like the mid-west boys might have eased into some top positions!  All our dogs were in great shape and we had no injuries unlike last year when we found ourselves down 5 dogs.  Bruce said the dogs were great and were really impressive and he got to compare them to some of the other top teams and they really held their own.  The guys said the trail was unreal!  There was severe winds, major drifting and often you could not see the trail.  It was an extremely tough run for lead dogs fighting through the wind and deep snow.  The mushers are pretty tired and sore from over 7 hours of running.  Mary Gilbertson scratched as did Terry Adkins.  Unconfirmed rumors were that Mary struggled with her leaders and 4 miles out her team quit.  Lloyd apparently had to drive some leaders out to get her back in.  We are unsure what happened to Terry.  We know that at 8:30PM he was apparently still out on the trail.  We’ll know more by the next blog.  Sounds like tomorrow will be another slug fest.  The highways are shut down near hear due to the snow drifting.  The trail was not able to be groomed due to high winds and so they will be running in who knows what tomorrow.

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