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The YQ 300 is under way

The race started on time, 6PM CST [3PM AKST] but only 8 of the 9 teams are apparently racing:

1. Luan Marques (51)
2. Josh Cadzow (52)
3. Jimmy Lebling (53)
4. Rob Cooke (54)
5. Ava Lindner (55)
6. Cindy Abbot (56)
7. Blake Matray (57)
8. Ed Abrahamson (58)

I’ll have to wait to see if they say what happened to Peg Harpham (59).

Unlike the 14 dogs on the YQ 1000, there are 12 dogs on the 300 teams. This is an additional measure to ensure that the two groups don’t interfere with each other.

The lead team musher, Luan Marques, is a Brazilian pet shop owner. Rob Cooke moved from the UK to Canada to race Siberian Huskies. Ava Linder is the daughter of Sonny Linder, the winner of the first Quest before she was born. Blake Matray is easing back into the sport after failing to finish the 2009 Iditarod.

The YQ 300 is a qualifier for both the Quest and the Iditarod, but I would have found another race. The section of the trail from Fairbanks to Circle is a nasty piece of work, even in the ‘good’ direction.

You have to make the double summit climb up Rosebud and then Eagle, and then you descend into the ‘deep freeze’. Between Central and Circle there is about 30 miles of trail on Birch Creek which is the coldest section of the entire trail. Veterans expect that section to be at least 15° colder than Central, without a wind.

That section will be even colder this year because Carl Cochrane, who provided a stop at his cabin on Birch Creek since the start of the Quest, died in June at 77. No one knows if the caretaker who lives there now will welcome visitors.

February 4, 2012   Comments Off on The YQ 300 is under way

They’re Off!

Yukon Quest map even years

Sled DogThe teams started leaving at 2PM CST [11AM AKST] with 3 minute intervals between teams. Kurt Reich (8)R was a no-show, but no one is sure why at this point.

The initial order is:

1 Allen Moore (1)
2 Kristy Berington (2)I
3 Sonny Lindner (3)
4 David Dalton (4)
5 Misha Pedersen (5)R
6 Hugh Neff (6)
7 Kyla Durham (7)
8 Jason Weitzel (9)R
9 Brent Sass (10)
10 Brian Wilmshurst (11)R
11 Paige Drobny (12)R
12 Jake Berkowitz (13)R
13 Nikolay Ettyne (14)R
14 Marcelle Fressineau (15)R
15 Lance Mackey (16)
16 Joar Leifseth Ulsom (17)R
17 Mike Ellis (18)
18 Yuka Honda (19)R
19 Gus Guenther (20)R
20 Abbie West (21)
21 Trent Herbst (22)I
22 Maren Bradley (23)R
23 Michael Telpin (24)R

It will be several hours before anyone reaches the first checkpoint but you can follow them with GPS tracking using the ‘Live Tracking’ link in the Quest area of my right sidebar.

The Quest 300 will start later this evening with 9 teams. The 300 miles of this race in even years from Fairbanks is over the worst of the Quest’s trail, ending at Circle. That reality and the bad economy are really keeping participation down. Providing 14 dogs with an of 12,000 calories of food apiece every day on the trail really adds up.

Update below the fold:

[Read more →]

February 4, 2012   Comments Off on They’re Off!

About That Free Market …

When Caterpillar took over the Progress Rail Services, Corp. of London, Ontario, a manufacturer of diesel electric locomotives, there were all kinds for assurances that nothing much would change and everyone would prosper.

Then the union contract at the plant expired on January 1st when the union failed to agree to the company’s demands for a 50% pay cut for workers. The workers were locked out.

Immediately following a “Right to Work” law in Indiana, Caterpillar closed the Ontario plant and announced that it was hiring in Muncie, Indiana.

I can see why Caterpillar would do this. their record profits might not continue, and the workers don’t do anything but make the products that generate those profits with skills that require years to master.

I feel certain that in addition to changing their laws, the state of Indiana won’t burden Caterpillar with any tax bills, because they are ‘job creators’, even if the jobs come with no benefits and burger-flipping wages for skilled jobs.

Slavery by any other name…

February 4, 2012   10 Comments