The mushers are amped to be coming back to the Upper this morning. The weather should be perfect for running dogs estimated to be 9-26 degrees with light winds 8-15 mph.
The first 7 miles will be common trail then they will be running it in reverse for the last time we were here. This may be a challenge to some without competent leaders. It’s the perfect mix up of running the old in a new way. Does it make a difference? Perhaps, but does add another part of race strategy. The elevation gains and losses will be the same, just in reverse.
I would expect to see larger teams today as the Lander stage was shortened to 30 miles with a lot of 10 dog teams. It was a fast course and more than 10 dogs proved to be too much.
I would expect to see the overall stay pretty much the same but Jeff and Dennis may switch rolls with Dennis, Austin and 17-year-old Greta all starting to make there move.
A strong team without a good leader may cost some teams a little to a lot today.
The wind can come out of nowhere causing poor visibility at key intersections. Going the wrong way with no place to turn around or set a strong hook could cost critical time at this stage in the race with only 2 more days of racing after this.
Predictions? Well, I’m just not feeling it yet. I’ll try and reassess at the starting line and get back to you.