Day 3: The Proving Grounds of Pelly

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Musher wisdom has it that the third day of a long distance race is when competitors face The Wall: self-doubt, second-guessing strategies, reassessing expectations, adapting to the rhythm of the team and fellow competitors, sometimes all of the above.

Rookie or veteran, all mushers face The Wall, all mushers wear it in different ways, and all were on display as this year’s field of competitors came through the Pelly Crossing checkpoint. From the steely and stone-faced to the forlorn and fatigued, here’s how Day 3 went down.

Allen Moore led the breakaway pack into Stepping Stone around 2 a.m., joined by Hans Gatt and Brent Sass roughly an hour later. While all three stopped to rest and indulge in the famed hospitality and cuisine, a surging Michelle Phillips caught up and carried on to gain some trail around 5:30 a.m. Paige Drobny and Denis Tremblay employed a similar strategy.

Moore, Gatt and Sass resumed the lead by 11 a.m., staying close together until Scroggie Creek, when Sass continued up trail about 10 miles before stopping to rest. Phillips and Tremblay arrived at Scroggie a little before 7 p.m., where Phillips again opted to forge on, taking the lead in the process.

Paige Drobny’s trail strategy bore fruit today as well, with the Alaskan veteran moving up four spots to third place.

Most of the remainder of the field is now either resting in Scroggie or are on their way, with Jimmy Lebling still on the move toward Stepping Stone and Remy Leduc and Lisbet Norris continuing their rest at Pelly Crossing.

Standings as of 11:59pm:

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