Leaders in the 2020 Yukon Quest have begun the long wait, 36-hours to be exact. Brent Sass checked into Dawson City, what is considered the halfway point in this race, early this morning at 5:43am (PST).
Michelle Phillips is the second and only other musher to reach Dawson at this point. She pulled in just before 7am Pacific Standard Time. And just a reminder on time zones, now that the race has crossed into the Yukon Territories, all checkpoints from Dawson onwards will be using PST.
Both Sass and Phillips have a mandatory 36-hour layover before they are allowed to continue on the last 500 miles of the trail. Race Marshal for the Quest, Peter Reuter notes that trail conditions leading into Dawson were similar to the rest of the trail, drifted over with snow and very punchy.
“You know that’s kind of manifested into slightly slower run times than you might be expecting…”– Peter Reuter
Having their own private battle outside of Dawson are 3rd and 4th positions, Cody Strathe and Allen Moore.
Strathe left Eagle yesterday morning ten minutes ahead of Moore and according to the unofficial GPS tracker he is now about two miles ahead of Moore. After crossing the Alaska-Yukon border, Moore had overtaken Strathe, beat him to the Clinton Creek hospitality stop, and then left in the wee hours of this morning with the advantage. But within the last couple of hours, the GPS race tracker shows Strathe caught back up and passed Moore. Strathe has 13 dogs on the line while Moore still has a full team of 14.
Reuter is excited by the tight race we’re seeing at the front of the pack in this field of 13 mushers.
“I think it’s fantastic. The opportunities I’ve had to see all of the mushers’ dog teams, the dogs look great, so they’re taking great care of them.”
The next musher expected to arrive into Dawson will be Strathe, if he maintains his lead over Moore for the next 25 miles.
Image at top: Musher and team rest at Circle checkpoint in 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from Whitney McLaren, Yukon Quest, used with permission.