Armchair Musher: Dawson-bound

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2-5-2019 10:45 PM

Good evening y’all. If, like me, you had a busy day and are just now getting caught up on all things Quest the Yukon Quest Facebook page has videos of the front runners coming into Dawson. You can watch them all online at your leisure. Seems to be a tight bunch, and that means an exciting second half. I am sure I am not the only one who will be looking at the mushers individual history on the Tracker to try and guess what they will do next based on the race so far. 

Of course there is also current action on the Trackers to watch. As I type Martin, Jessie, Cody and Curt are within hours of straw-filled dog camp and a warm bed. And there is a group following that appears to be camping or have camped in preparation for that last final run into Dawson. Personally I enjoy watching all the teams. I would be lying if I didn’t say the front end of a race is exciting. But I know well enough that it is still too early to get excited, there is a long hard second half and anything can happen. I also know there is so much more to the race then race for first. Mushers call it the race within the race. After the 36 in Dawson historically teams have continued to spread out, the front runners pull father ahead, and waves of teams follow at various intervals. So although it may be unrealistic of a musher to make up a significant gap on the leaders, there are still people in front of them. After all, this is a race, a challenge, and maybe you can do a little bit better. So as the race unfolds in the second half, be on the lookout for the races within the race, they are fun to watch too. 

And then there is the other race, the race one runs with them self. The standards each musher holds themselves too, and the goals they hope to achieve; those are personal and often private. But they hold just as much importance and can be just as motivational.

Join me in cheering for all the mushers still out there working their way to Dawson.  And in looking forward to what the second half will bring.

***Edit***  I am seeing now that while I was typing Martin Reitan arrived in Dawson, making him the first rookie to reach Dawson. He is also the youngest musher racing this year. But do not let his age fool you. He is very experienced, and comes from a mushing family. His brother Vebjorn Aishana Reitan was the 2018 Yukon Quest Rookie of the Year. And their father Ketil ran in 1989. In addition to being an experienced distance musher he works in his family business  Kaktovik Tours and lists his occupations as, and this is just so cool, Polar Bear Tour Guide. Mushing fans may have noticed he is also running the Iditarod this year, and personally I am rooting for him to have a grand and successful adventure as he competes in back to back races as a rookie. Something I can say with assurance is a major undertaking!

Till next time,


Jodi Bailey