TWO RIVERS, ALASKA
As the sun rises on day two of the 2020 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race, two thirds of the field of 15 sits at the Mile 101 checkpoint where teams are simultaneously recovering from tackling Rosebud Summit and preparing to climb Eagle Summit.
As of 9 a.m. local time on Feb. 2, 10 mushers are at the Mile 101 checkpoint and five mushers are on the trail between the Two Rivers checkpoint and Mile 101.
2019 winner Brent Sass was the first to reach Mile 101, arriving at 4:20 a.m. local time.
Sass was followed by Yukoner Michellle Phillips, who arrived nine minutes later at 4:29 a.m.
Allen Moore was third into Mile 101 at 5:53 a.m. and Cody Strathe was fourth, arriving at 6:16 a.m.
Jason Campeau, who was the first to arrive at the Two Rivers checkpoint, was fifth to get to Mile 101 when he arrived at 6:27 a.m.
The Two Rivers checkpoint was a busy place the evening of Feb. 1, with Moore arriving just over an hour and a half behind Campeau.
Moore hadn’t planned to stop at the checkpoint, intent on resting further down the trail, but decided to stop after the portion of his sled he stands on broke.
Speaking to the media, Moore said the trail was in excellent condition and that his team was running well.
Phillips was next to arrive, followed by Denis Tremblay and Cody Strathe.
“They did awesome,” said Phillips about her team. “Pulled right along.”
She also agreed with Moore’s assessment of the trail out of Fairbanks.
“The trail was beautiful. A really nice trail,” said Phillips, adding the fans along the trail made for a lot of fun on the run.
Temperatures at the Two Rivers checkpoint were down to -40 C later on Feb. 1, but the fire burning on the edge of the dog yard to keep the water from freezing provided light and warmth for the mix of race officials, volunteers, handlers and spectators waiting under starry skies for teams to arrive.
Mount Lorne’s Rob Cooke is one of the five mushers en route to Mile 101, currently running 13th with a full team of 14 dogs.
So far 12 of the 15 mushers are still running full teams. Richie Beattie, Dave Dalton and Olivia Webster each dropped a dog at the Two Rivers checkpoint.
From the Mile 101 checkpoint, teams have a 45-kilometre stretch of trail before the next checkpoint in Central that includes Eagle Summit, a 1,123-meter peak.
Mushers are required to take a four-hour mandatory layover in either Mile 101 or Central.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org