We came ready for business this morning. We pulled out all the big guns and were going to throw 12 at them. The team consisted of Anker and Pepper in lead, Mikka and Quest, Ivan and Cheyenne, Billy and Sedona, Utah and Blizzard, Toppi & TJ. There was great snow in Alpine and we had trained on the trail when we first arrived so we knew it would be hard and fast. The temps had gone from 40 yesterday to 11 this morning so it was great dog weather. It was a blazing sun again, but this trail is shaded and the temps were cool enough we weren’t concerned. The team was amped and they almost lost Bruce at the starting line as the team tried to drag him right on by until about 3 guys helped stop them. From the looks of the teams going out and whispers going around, there were several teams that had dinged up dogs and were struggling to come up with the numbers. This is exactly how we hoped things would work out. Stage racing is about patience and depth. You have to make sure you have the dogs at the end to hit them with everything you have and you have to have enough everyday dogs and front end dogs to do this. Bruce had a blazing run and the team looked awesome as they came into the finish. We finished just 20+ seconds behind Melanie for 2nd place; which was too cool! Bruce said Pepper was the MVP as he set the pace and kept Anker moving when he hit a lull later in the race. Anker came back for a very strong finish. The young dogs were just phenomenal and Toppi was again an ANIMAL (that dog just loves to race)!! Mikka and Quest did a phenomenal job keeping pressure off the front end. Pepper and Anker never even blinked during any of the head on or regular passing — just awesome. We are super proud of Pepper leading us to our best finish yet in this race. I think he’s pretty proud of himself as he was the happiest of the crew after the run.
Jerry Bath who left in front of Bruce also had a tremendous run as they came in back to back and his team looked great. The health of his team is doing well so he is going to have the numbers to make a move. Mel has established herself a strong lead overall and it’s going to be tough to catch her. We are 3rd overall and just 5 minutes out of second chasing Sam Perrino. He has a few sore dogs as do we after this run. I’ve learned another level of dog care this year and I’m working my buns off trying to get these dogs back on the trail. When this is all done I think I will need a massage becuase I can barely stand up straight and my arms and fingers are cramping on a regular basis. I feel as if I ran some of the race. Tonight we will be up running dogs in the parking lot trying to get that lactic acid out of the muscles. I know we won’t be alone though becuase there are about 5 teams all fighting for positions in the top 5. We are only seconds ahead of Wendy Davis in 3rd. We have our work cut out for us the next 2 stages and this race isn’t going to be over until Park City unless something major happens. Tomorrow’s plan is a definite 11, but we may shoot for 12 depending on how everyone looks. The trail is supposed to be hard and fast.