Hello Race Fans,
This is an introduction post for the 2020 Pedigree® Stage Stop Race which is turning a quarter century this year. I have to admit, that while being a musher now turned race follower, my knowledge about the Stage Stop is pretty limited. The reason being that the Pedigree® Stage Stop Race usually happened while I was in the middle of Yukon Quest preparations myself or busy guiding dog sled tours that time of the year, once I hung up my racing boots.
I feel honored to be invited to do the commentary. Likely I will end up asking some stupid questions at some points, knowing less about the race than I should and finding things out along the way. I also like to apologize in advance for spelling mistakes. Thank god for spellcheck. Yet it does not catch all blunders and sometimes my spelling is so bad, that spellcheck does not even understand what I mean to write. The joys of not being a native English Speaker. My last name easily gives away that I hail from the land of beer and Octoberfest. On the upside I do bring a bit of experience with me doing race commentary for the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Both races I had run several times before being let loose in public, to talk about them.
Racing sled dogs has a special place in my heart. Their enthusiasm is contagious. They live and breathe to run. Most of them also live to please their mushers ( there are exceptions to that rule, most mushers have had a knucklehead or 2 in their dog yard ) Watching a well trained team effortless move down the trail, in perfect harmony, is a sight to behold. It takes years to prepare for a world class event like the Wyoming Stage Stop Race and it usually even takes many more years to rise to the top.
I used to follow the Iditarod via Snowmachine. It gave me a boots on the ground view and feeling. All of the checkpoints are not road accessible. Flying or snogo were the only means out there, other than by dog team. Flying down the Iditarod trail is ( somewhat ) comfortable, but the risk of getting stuck in weather is high. And thus missing following part of the race. If notorious trail sections like the Dalzell Gorge were ugly, meaning low snow, I somehow had to get my machine through there also and very much could feel what the mushers had gone through.
The Stage Stop Race is a ” different animal “. Looking at how much works goes into the well groomed trail, I am fairly certain that trail boss Matt Redwine would have a few choice words for me, if I would be out there and being in the way…. as media sometimes can be. So following the race will be a new experience for me, driving from checkpoint to checkpoint in a truck. That was another reason I never made it down to the Pedigree® Stage Stop Race myself. While I had great trust in my dog team to get me to a finish line, I most certainly would not have had the same level of trust in my dog truck actually getting me to the starting line. My rigs were usually well aged. I have to chuckle seeing that the Stage Stop Race has a race mechanic with Bob Hatton. Dang, on the Yukon Quest, tending to the broken down dog trucks would be a huge challenge and my handlers would have kept Bob very busy. I can’t wait to see what fun Bob has….
If anybody has any advice on how to best cover the race, I am all ear. Same goes for wishes of what and how to cover the race. Shoot me a message on Facebook or email at Sebastian.firstname.lastname@example.org Happy trails.