Day 12: The Central Seven

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Four more across the line today, while up on the summits a convoy of mushers battle continued foul weather, and things could get interesting with the next five mushers out of Two Rivers.

Cody Strathe and Brian Wilmshurst were the first of four competitors to make it to the finish line today. Strathe made it in at 03:05 AKST to take twelfth overall, greeted by friends, family, fans and his wife, sixth place finisher Paige Drobny. Wilmshurst crossed the line just shy of 09:30 AKST in thirteenth, saying he had a smooth and peaceful race… except for Eagle and Rosebud summits, but that “gnarly excitement” is why he and dogs do the race in the first place.

Rookie of the Year honours were decided when Martin Apayauq Reitan arrived just before 17:00 AKST in fourteenth place. Reitan said his most memorable experience of the race was the trip over Rosebud Summit, which the Kaktovik, AK musher said marked the first time he has ever had to stop to wait out a storm.

Veteran musher Dave Dalton finished his 23rd Yukon Quest in fifteenth overall, crossing the line at 22:24 AKST. Dalton, too, named the trip over Rosebud as the most noteworthy aspect to his Quest run this year, saying it was the worst he’s ever seen it, but his dogs got him through.

Eagle and Rosebud continued to be disagreeable today, but an inspiring display of musher kinship and the code of the north began in Central as the seven mushers who’d waited out the worst parts of the storm together departed en masse early this morning to conquer the summits. Taking turns in lead to break trail and assisting each other when needed throughout the climb, the Central Seven were undaunted by the steeps and snows of Eagle, and by day’s end it appears they have all but bested Rosebud as well.

After a similar decision to wait out the weather and travel over Rosebud together, there will be some interesting jockeying for positions in store tomorrow with the next group of mushers leaving Two Rivers. Rookies Jason Biasetti and Deke Naaktgeboren are due to leave one minute apart, while a half-hour later Andy Pace and Rob Cooke are eligible to depart within three minutes of another, followed by Curt Perano 24 minutes after them. First mushers are expected in to the modified finish line at Nordale Bridge as early as 08:00 AKST Thursday morning.

Final and current standings as of 11:59 p.m. AKST:

  1. Brent Sass - FINAL
  2. Hans Gatt - FINAL
  3. Allen Moore - FINAL
  4. Michelle Phillips - FINAL
  5. Matt Hall - FINAL
  6. Paige Drobny - FINAL
  7. Torsten Kohnert- FINAL
  8. Denis Tremblay - FINAL
  9. Jessie Royer - FINAL
  10. Nathaniel Hamlyn - FINAL
  11. Ryne Olson - FINAL
  12. Cody Strathe - FINAL
  13. Brian Wilmshurst – FINAL
  14. Martin Apayauq Reitan - FINAL
  15. Dave Dalton - FINAL
  16. Jason Biasetti
  17. Deke Naaktgeboren
  18. Andy Pace
  19. Rob Cooke
  20. Curt Perano
  21. Remy Leduc
  22. Isabelle Travadon
  23. Laura Allaway
  24. Jim Lanier
  25. Chase Tingle
  26. Hendrik Stachnau
  27. Misha Wiljes