It was a two-summit, three-checkpoint day for the leaders, who stopped at the Central, Mile 101 and Two Rivers checkpoints, tackling Eagle and Rosebud summits along the way. While the top four sit out their mandatory eight-hour Two Rivers layover before bolting for the Fairbanks finish line, much of the rest of the field got a welcome change of scenery after being on the Yukon River for 160 miles.
After camping for a few hours near the tail end of the Birch Creek run, most of the leader pack started moving again around 3 a.m. Brent Sass reached Central a bit after 4 a.m., Hans Gatt an hour later, followed by Allen Moore and Michelle Phillips 10 minutes apart around 5:30 a.m.
Sass stayed in Central only long enough to hit his drop bags before setting off for Mile 101, while Gatt and company opted for a few hours rest in anticipation of the arduous ascent of Eagle Summit. Moore and Gatt were first back on trail on either side of 9:30 a.m., Moore with 13 dogs, Gatt down to 8. Phillips left at 10:41 a.m. with 10 dogs on the line.
By 9 a.m. Sass was resting at Mile 101, and was already nearly an hour into his run to Two Rivers by the time Moore blew through the checkpoint just shy of 2 p.m. Phillips and Gatt likewise skipped any 101 respite, into and out of the checkpoint 13 minutes apart starting at 3:19 p.m. Phillips would drop one dog to leave with a team of nine.
Sass reached Two Rivers shortly before 7 p.m., approximately an hour and a half before Allen Moore. Gatt was next in at approximately 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. respectively. Earliest departures tomorrow begin with Sass at 2:53 a.m., Moore at 4:32 a.m., Gatt at 5:13 a.m., and Phillips at 6:03 a.m., with mushers potentially beginning to arrive in Fairbanks as early as 11 a.m.
Further back, Paige Drobny made Central shortly before 11:30 a.m., joined by Denis Tremblay not long after 2 p.m., and Matt Hall around 3:30 p.m. All three mushers would leave the checkpoint with nine dogs, Drobny circa 4 p.m., Tremblay and Hall two minutes apart just after 8 p.m. Drobny was into 101 just shy of 9 p.m., where she was still resting at day’s end, while Hall and Tremblay continued to tangle with Eagle Summit.
Torsten Kohnert presently has the Central checkpoint to himself, with Ryne Olson, Nathaniel Hamlyn, Jessie Royer, Cody Strathe, Brian Wilmshurst and Martin Apayauq Reitan on their way to join him.
In Circle City, Perano through Naaktgeboren are all availing themselves of checkpoint comforts, with Wiljes, Lanier, Tingle, Travadon and Leduc enroute. Laura Allaway and Hendrik Strachnau are posted up at Slaven’s for the time being.
Earlier in the day it was announced that Strachnau was issued a time penalty of eight hours for failing to haul a dog in a secured and protected manner into Eagle, Alaska, as per Yukon Quest rule #41. This time penalty will be served in Two Rivers.
Standings as of 11:59 p.m. AKST:
Martin Apayauq Reitan