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The Yukon Quest 300

Six hours after the Yukon Quest starts, a second race gets under way, the 300 mile race from Whitehorse to Pelly Crossing. When I saw Allen Moore’s name on the Quest starting grid I wondered if his wife, Aliy Zirkle, might be running in the 300. Aliy is the only woman to win the Quest, she did it in 2000, and has been trying to win the Iditarod ever since.

Allen and Aliy’s kennel is actually running two teams in the 300, probably as a warm up for the Iditarod, and to help her select her team for the race. And Aliy’s isn’t the only familiar name in the race. Longtime Iditarod mushers Jessie Royer and Gerry Willomitzer are also in the race, probably for the same reason as Aliy, warming up, without tiring out, their Iditarod teams.

But there were some lesser known names that were familiar to me, that I don’t expect to see at the Iditarod.

From a 2009 Yukon Quest post: “Yuka Honda (24), the Japanese school teacher, scratched at the Mile 101, another victim of Eagle Summit. She spent nearly 32 hours on the trail from Central to Mile 101 getting over the mountain. She made an attempt to climb Rosebud, but had to turn around.”

Ms Honda’s experience is why it takes almost a day longer to go from Whitehorse to Fairbanks than in the reverse direction, and no doubt is why she is in the 300 instead of the Quest. That Eagle Summit – Rosebud climb at the end of the race is brutal.

But the real surprise was another individual I talked about on that same Quest: “But the best is the reporter for the Yukon News who has been covering the Quest, Genesee Keevil, who plays the stand-up bass with Sasquatch Prom Date, a local band.”

Ms Keevil isn’t writing about the races, she is participating with a team of “waifs and strays”. I will miss her interesting take on sled dog racing. Actually, I’m a bit annoyed by the way the Canadian media seems to ignore the sport. There was a lot of coverage in 2009, but not much since.

February 4, 2011   Comments Off on The Yukon Quest 300

The Starting Grid

Sled DogThe Quest starts tomorrow at 11:00AM PST [1PM CST] from Whitehorse with 25 mushers and 14 dogs per musher. The two fastest mushers for the two versions of the race are in the field. Hans Gatt, who has won the Quest four times, holds the record for the Fairbanks to Whitehorse trail of 9 days and 26 minutes. Sebastian Schnuelle, 2009 winner, holds the record for this year’s trail of 9 days, 23 hours, and 20 minutes.

1 Kelley Griffin (1)
2 Denis Tremblay (2)R
3 Dallas Seavey (3)I
4 Michelle Phillips (4)
5 Mike Ellis (5)
6 Johannes Rygh (6)R
7 Didier Moggia (7)
8 Hugh Neff (8)
9 Christine Roalofs (9)R
10 Dan Kaduce (10)
11 Sebastian Schnuelle (11)
12 Tamara Rose (12)I
13 Hans Gatt (13)
14 Kyla Durham (14)R
15 Wade Marrs (15)I
16 Joshua Cadzow (16)
17 Jodi Bailey (17)R
18 Ken Anderson (18)
19 Hank DeBruin (19)I
20 Allen Dennis (20)
21 Jerry Joinson (21)R
22 Brent Sass (22)
23 David Dalton (23)
24 Allen Moore (24)I
25 Clint Warnke (25)I

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.

February 4, 2011   Comments Off on The Starting Grid

Egypt Phase 3

Shashank Joshi, Royal United Services Institute, London, has a backgrounder of the role of the Egyptian military since the overthrow of the monarchy. Read it to understand the real power structure in the country.

The CBC has coverage of the brain-dead policy regarding the media in Egypt condemned for attacks on journalists.

Dr. Cole continues his informed coverage of the situation.

If anyone is interested, I think we are in Phase 3. In Phase 1, Mubarak failed to control the protests, so the military decided that the government must appear to change so the protests would end. That failed.

Phase 2 was Lt. General Omar Suleiman’s opportunity to grab the brass ring, so the military stepped back and the thugs went to work, while the media was being intimidated. The psyops department was pushing out rumors that the protesters were agents from Iran, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Israel, Amway, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, AOL, et al. The protesters were portrayed by the state media as the aggressors and trouble makers – the ever popular “outside agitators”. This was also a failure.

In Phase 3 it is Air Marshal Ahmad Shafiq, the new prime minister, who has been anointed by the military to lead the country out of its problems.

It won’t work. The protesters have invested too much work, blood, pain, and lost too many people to accept anything but real change. I have no great hope that the Egyptian military will give up quickly, but they are courting trouble from their lower ranking officers who know that their soldiers are getting restless about the extension of the situation.

The BBC’s crisis media crew is now in Egypt, so you can expect higher quality pictures from random locations, not the easy targets of Al Jazeera’s fixed camera positions, supplemented by cell phone cameras. Even the US media gets angry when you beat up their reporters, and will start reporting facts. The Egyptians have even attacked Fox News, so “he said, she said” is probably not a viable option.

February 4, 2011   6 Comments

Not Their Year

So, while Queenslanders are picking up the pieces after the two cyclones that followed hard on the floods, the Australians’ weather focus turns South to Victoria: Thousands call for help as storms lash Victoria

Severe thunderstorm warnings have been cancelled but wild weather continues to wreak havoc across large parts of Victoria as heavy rain pummels the state and forecasters say more chaos is yet to come.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has rescued 51 people and received about 3,000 calls for help after dozens of homes and businesses were flooded during super-cell storms last night.

Frequent commenter, Kryten, is in the middle of a move in Victoria, and has been out of contact waiting for the connection at his new place, so, it’s a matter of waiting and hoping for the best. 2011 is just over a month old, and Australians want to forget it already.

February 4, 2011   12 Comments

The Yukon Quest Trail

Yukon Quest trail

Sled DogIt’s time for the Yukon Quest and this year it goes from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, the hard course. Don’t expect the race times to be close to last year’s pace because the worse bit of the trail is at the end when you go West, and the teams and mushers are tired.

Whitehorse 2089 feet [637 meters] Start
Braeburn 2326 feet [709 meters] 100 miles [161 km] 4 Hours + Start Offset Stop
Carmacks 1722 feet [525 meters] 77 miles [124 km]
Pelly Crossing 1558 feet [475 meters] 73 miles [117 km]
King Solomon’s Dome 4002 feet [1220 meters]
Dawson 1050 feet [320 meters] 202 miles [325 km] 36 Hour Stop
American Summit 3920 feet [1195 meters]
Eagle 880 feet [268 meters] 147 miles [237 km] 4 Hour Stop
Circle 597 feet [182 meters] 159 miles [256 km]
Central 435 feet [133 meters] 74 miles [119 km]
Eagle Summit 3685 feet [1123 meters]
Mile 101 2250 feet [686 meters] 33 miles [53 km]
Rosebud Summit 3640 feet [1109 meters]
Chena Hot Springs 750 feet [229 meters] 42 miles [68 km] 8 Hour Stop
Fairbanks 440 feet [134 meters] 45 miles[72 km] Finish

It is around 1000 miles [1600 kilometers].

The trail between Central and Chena Hot Springs checkpoints is really a nasty piece of work, going up and down two mountains at the end of the race. In the even years it is out of the way early while mushers and teams are fresh.

The race starts on Saturday.

February 4, 2011   Comments Off on The Yukon Quest Trail

Friday Cat Blogging

This Is Florida?

Friday Cat Blogging

The rodent lied!

[Editor: The crew don’t believe the groundhog. We haven’t had snow, but the weather is damp and miserable. There is a stiff North wind that cuts through you when you go outside. I’d rather be in the middle of that pile.]

Friday Ark is back

February 4, 2011   13 Comments