Hello Pedigree® Stage Stop Race Fans. Day 4 is a wrap. What a fun day this was. It started of cold in Big Piney. On the 45 minute drive to the Race Site we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. Up high it was about 20F warmer than in town. The trail had set up real nice over night. It was hard and fast on the way out AND on the way back in. Kudos to the trail crew. Once again the start went off without a hitch, all 18 teams leaving on time.
I parked with the Snowmachine at Mile 8.9 and Mile 23.5 to take split times and shoot photos. Definitely good weather for pictures, even with my cell phone. Of course I wish I had my real camera. Split times are always a good indicator of how a team is being run. When snowmachining out, I caught up with Ben Butler trying to pass Allan Berge. His leaders balked several times. That should have been a good indicator for him to take it easy. He did manage the pass after all…., but then things started falling apart. In the end Ben finished nearly 1 hour behind his nearest competitor ( averaging 7.5 mph ) , Allan Berge. Allan with his purebred Sibes ran his fastest average speed today on day 4 with 9.3 mph. That is a pretty good clip for Sibes, specially considering the big hills they had to climb.
Tim Thiessen ( 11.9 mph ) looked real nice out there, he made up quite a bit of time on Doug Butler ( 10.8 mph ) who is traveling ahead of him in the overall standings. Rafael Nelson is running a solid 10th place and at 13 mph is moving really well.
Maria Torgerson had a slower run today. That is mostly due to some issues at the turnaround. Her dogs decided to run that teardrop loop twice. So her mph average is likely off 12.9 mph.
Bruce Magnusson and Austin Forney are duking it out for 6 and 7th place. My take is that Bruce will put on the afterburners after yesterdays mishap ( getting off trail ). Jeff Conn is solidly in 5th place with a nice cushion to the 2 teams behind. Jeff was very pleased with his run today. His dogs traveled effortless on todays fast trail.
Before the run today Rachel Courtney and Alix Crittenden were just a few seconds apart in 3rd and 4th place. Alix put in a stellar performance in Big Piney. Her split times were a bit faster than Rachel on each and every leg, and in the end she was able to separate herself by 5 minutes. That is a lot of gain in one single run. Alix is running race founders Frank Teasley’s dogs. She finished in 3rd position in 2019 also.
Now to the 2 top Mushers. Anny Malo and Lina Streeper. Coming into todays stage, Anny had a comfortable 7 minute lead. That has shrunk by 2 minutes after todays hilly run. Last year Lina was 5 minutes faster than Anny. From what I saw at on the trail, Anny let her dogs find their own pace and was not pushing overly hard, nor slowing them down. I think, she could have asked more of them, if she wanted to. I suspect that she felt comfortable with a 7 minute lead and knows very well, that there are 3 more tough days of racing ahead.
This next stage here in Lander is supposed to have the biggest hills and some steep climbs. It once again is 35 miles long. It is going to be interesting to see, if Lina Streeper can continue to eat away on Anny’s lead. Last year they finished 1 ( Lina ) 2 ( Anny ) on this Lander leg.
Hopefully there will be cellphone reception up there and we can try a Facebook live feed. Good night from Lander!
Enjoy a few more shots from todays beautiful run: