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They Are At It Again

I told you about the FAA messing with a whooping crane recovery program because they used an ultralight aircraft to mimic a mother bird taking young birds south, now they seem to have it in for sled dogs.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the Yukon Quest has had to cancel its volunteer pilots program because paying for the fuel the volunteers use in support of the Quest makes it a commercial enterprise. That’s why there is no dog drop between Circle and Eagle.

Eagle is connected to the rest of the world by the Yukon River and bush aircraft. In the winter that means that you need sled dogs or an airplane to move. Using a snowmobile is very chancy on the frozen Yukon, and fuel is not cheap when it is available.

This year any dogs dropped at Eagle will be taken to Dawson, because Canadian pilots can make the trip with a Canadian field at one end, but they can’t fly to another Alaskan location that has a road connection.

The Iditarod ‘Air Force’ has an exemption in place for a couple of more years, then they will have to jump through the hoops that the Quest is facing.

This is like requiring that the guys who drive the vehicles that pull floats in local parades have commercial licenses with a bus endorsement because there are people on the floats. Hell, with Mardi Gras floats you are lucky to find someone who isn’t too drunk to drive.

February 7, 2012   2 Comments

Day 4

Yukon Quest map even years

Sled DogJason Weitzel (9) who was collecting for the Wounded Warriors charity on his rookie run has had to scratch at Circle because of injuries sustained on the trail. If you can’t take care of the dogs, you can’t continue.

Everyone has been getting their teams vet checked in depth at Circle, because there is no ‘dog drop’ at Slaven’s this year, so you only want to take dogs that you feel will make it all the way. Small problems get larger when you are 160 miles from a vet.

Update at 7PM CST: Maren Bradley (23) returned to Circle and scratched. As she was on the trail for over 14 hours, it sounds like she or the dogs weren’t feeling good.

Update at 11PM CST:

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

These are the official standings. That means they are official, not that they are correct. Things jump around a lot as people decide to update the standings. This problem is especially bad in the back of the pack, as no one bothers to update those standings when the lead is changing.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, the small “I” indicates a Quest rookie who has competed in the Iditarod, and the small “R” indicates a total rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 7, 2012   2 Comments

YQ 300 – Day 4 – Cadzow Wins

At 8:35AM CST [5:35AM AKST] Josh Cadzow and 7 puppies pulled into the Central checkpoint to win the 2012 Yukon Quest 300 after just under 10 hours on the trail.

The standings as of 11PM CST are:

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

Luan is impressive, not just because she is a rookie from a moderate to tropical environment, but she has been running alone and doing well, with all 12 puppies still on her team.

Rob Cooke ran races in Europe, and Ava grew up with mushing, but Luan has done this mostly on her own – a pure rookie.

February 7, 2012   Comments Off on YQ 300 – Day 4 – Cadzow Wins