Good morning Pedigree Stage Stop Race fans from Big Piney. Dang, it is cold out, 15 below F. That is a big change from the 1st day of the race, where Temperatures climbed above freezing. Mother Nature pretty much has thrown different conditions at the teams each day, with yesterdays snowfall adding some excitement.
Looking at some speeds. During the 1st stage in Alpine, the top Teams were traveling at about 16 mph. That dropped to 14.5 mph by yesterday. Considering the freshly fallen snow, that drop in speed it to be expected. Looking at the slowest team, Allan Berge with his beautiful Siberians, he travelled at 8.7 mph on Day 1 and 8.7 mph on Day 3. Each day his team returns, they look like they could go on forever.
Quebecois and last years Champion Anny Malo has been defending her Yellow Bib each day. She has been gaining a bit of a lead each day, with 2 minutes in Alpine, 2 minutes in Pinedale, 3 minutes yesterday in Kemmerer. At last nights banquet in Big Piney 2nd place finisher ( and 2 time Champion ) Lina Streeper was quick to point out: ” It is not over yet “. And looking at last years runtimes, it was during todays stage, that Lina put on the heat. She ran 5 minutes faster here in Pinedale than Anny in 2019. For that Lina would need a clean run. And this year she has not had any of those yet.
Trail conditions should be really nice with the fresh snow and freshly groomed trail. The snowcat went out over night and of course trail boss Matt Redwine will be out already as we speak.
There is a real battle going on for 3rd Place After day 2 Jeff Conn held on to 3rd place solidly. Having had a bad run, with getting off trail yesterday in Kemmerer, that changed and he dropped to 5th place ( about 10 minutes behind 3rd ). Alix Crittenden has has very steady runs each day and so does Rachel Courtney. Specially when looking at their split times, they both run an impressive race. The split times are taken along the trail by Race Marshal Warren Palfrey who is out on a Snowmachine.
Austin Forney finished very strong yesterday in Kemmerer He is running in 6th place, but has 2 strong teams breathing down his neck with Maria Torgerson and Bruce Magnusson. Bruce has a ” run to remember ” yesterday. And not to remember in a good way, with getting into some very deep snow. Looking at the last split time from Mile 24.5 to the finish yesterday he traveled the fastest of the trio. So if Bruce avoids any mishaps today, I am sure his sights are set for that 6th place and to make up some lost time from yesterday.
JR Anderson and Rafael Nelson are rounding out the Top 20. They are traveling 1 minute 20 seconds apart. There are quite a few races within the race going on. On this 4th day of racing, it will start to show, how well each musher managed their teams and how much ” gas. ” they left in the tank. One thing is for certain. All of the mushers will be well fueled after a very nice banquet here in Big Piney last night. What a great spread they put on in the Seniors Centre. The dutch oven desert were talked up by the crew yesterday afternoon. And boy…. they were right. While the mushers sure can use the calories…., for this armchair musher…., well all those calories do not help in the diet department.
Time to head for the trailhead. Of course, once again it is ” off line ” there. Any updates about todays stage will follow, as soon as we get back into the reception area. Here is what Trail Boss Matt Redwine has to say about todays stage:
Big Piney is a 35 mile course that crests two summits carving through Snyder Basin. Most of the trail is forested but several miles in the valley floors are exposed and windswept. Great base underneath , with soft wind blown slabs on top. The climbs are about 4 miles out and again around 13.5 miles out. I have seen wolves here twice this year.