2-14-2019 8:10 PM
Congratulations to Remy, Laura, Isabella, Jim, Chase, and Misha! And with Hendirk less the 15 miles out the red lantern is practically his. In spite of weather and trail challenges this year saw only 3 scratches, a low number for a year with so many teams entered.
Special shout out to the last pack, which included the races oldest musher Jim Lanier. I know folks get nervous when it appears the trackers are playing possum with extended stays to accommodate weather, but that old dog proved he wasn’t dead yet! He can now add Yukon Quest to his list of accomplishments. Which fans may not know includes being a published author (Beyond Ophir), and having performed at many a finish banquet. *hint hint Jim ;)
As she was racing toward Fairbanks I learned a few interesting things about French Musher Isabelle. She has been mushing over 3 decades in Europe, and competed in many events from sprint to distance. And it has been a long time dream of hers to finish both 1000 mile races with dogs she had bred, raised, and trained herself. She finished Iditarod in 2015 and now she has made her dream come true. I also learned that in addition to working towards her own personal dreams she is involved with fundraising for children’s medical care. You can read more about her fundraising efforts here.
Looking ahead the Quest fun is not over, tomorrow you can go to a free Meet The Mushers event starting at 6 PM La Quinta Inns and Suites - Fairbanks, a great place to get signatures, photos, and talk to the men and women who traveled the trail. Also there is the Finish and Award Banquet. OK yeah, I know what you are thinking, we already know who won. But there are still some surprises. For instance they will be announcing the Sportsmanship Award, voted on by the mushers. The Challenge of the North Award, selected by race officials and presented to the musher who most exemplifies the "Spirit of the Yukon Quest”. And the very much coveted Veterinarian’s Choice Award, presented to the musher who demonstrates outstanding canine care for their dogs throughout the race, in the best spirit of the Yukon Quest.
While in Fairbanks I strongly recommend folks take the time to visit and support small local businesses. Some fun ones for mushing fans might include Cold Spot Feeds, a well-known long time mushing supply store. Another musher favorite (and also long time supporter of the Yukon Quest and the musher who run it) is Apocalypse Design, locally made, Quest proven gear. There are far too many good Coffee Houses in Fairbanks to list them all, why not try and try them all? Personally I love Lulu’s and Alaska Coffee Roasters, both on the College side of town. And they are both near the UAF Museum of the North, which is worth the visit if you have the time. There is also the Fairbanks Community Museum, downtown near the Yukon Quest Office. And please consider supporting Alaskan and Alaskan Native artisans and crafts-people for your gift shopping needs. And join me in thanking and supporting ALL the 2019 Yukon Quest Sponsors!