Hello Pedigree® Stage Stop Race Fans. Finally. RACE DAY The real deal, the time the 18 Mushers have been training for all fall and winter. After the mushers meeting at 8 a.m. the 1st team to hit the Starting Chute was Lina Streeper from Fort Nelson, followed by Austin Forney. Teams left in 3 minute intervals. We tried doing a live Facebook feed, but that did not work. Although there was internet, the signal was not near strong enough to keep the connection. Matter of fact I had to drive 70 some miles to Pinedale, where tomorrows stage will start, to get good internet in the public library.
After the 12th team out of the starting chute, I was able to hop on a Snowmachine to head down the trail. Quite the beautiful trail it was. Wide and well groomed following the Greys River. Rolling hills uphill to a teardrop turnaround 14 miles later. Teams were supposed to take that turn around counter clockwise, which worked for the most part. For some leaders Gee seemed to be an optional command. Doing the turnaround clockwise was a bit more challenging. Talking to Matt Redwine, trail boss, last year saw a few fun crashes with a sign. Some as hard as coming to a dead stop. Dang…., Matt made it a little easier for the teams in 2020.
On the way back the temperature rose sharply. And the once well groomed trail also changed quickly with big groups of Snowmachine tours using the same trail. That was to be expected and is very normal. It is a multi use trail after all. Modern machines have paddle tracks and they churn up the trail pretty good. The first 4 teams back in the finish line were Lina Streeper, followed by Austin Forney, Anny Malo and Jeff Conn. Those 4 teams were able to avoid most of the Snowmachine traffic and most definitely also avoid the rising temperatures for the most part. After the race, talking to the Streepers, Bud Streeper pointed out that he prefers the warmer temperatures any day over big time cold. It sure was a spectator friendly day and a surprising number of people were at the trail head. Later I will post some videos where I talked to the Top 4 on their thoughts about the run.
I think pictures speak a Thousand words, so here are some shots from the staging area and trail. Sorry for some of the quality…. Riding a Snowmachine one handed does not make for the most steady shots with a cellphone. Enjoy: