EAGLE — The front four are sticking together. Allen Moore, Brent Sass, Michelle Phillips and Hans Gatt were each resting at Slaven’s Cabin on the Yukon River at press time Friday night.
The four leaders in this year’s Yukon Quest 1,000-Mile International Sled Dog Race each arrived at the Eagle checkpoint, the first stop on the Alaska side of the race, late Thursday night after traveling 150 miles from Dawson City, the last of the four checkpoints on the Canada side.
Moore, of Two Rivers, arrived at Slaven’s hospitality stop around 8:45 p.m. Alaska time Friday. Sass, of Eureka, was the next to arrive at 10 p.m. Alaska time. Gatt, of Whitehorse, and Phillips, of 10 Mile Yukon, both made it to Slaven’s around 10:30 p.m. Alaska time.
All four teams will have 60 miles to go before they reach Circle, the second checkpoint on the Alaska side.
Moore said the key for the final push of the race would be one of the veterans making one long run toward the finish line in Fairbanks.
“That’s usually how it goes,” he said upon arriving in Eagle. “One team makes a longer run and nobody can stick with them, so they have the advantage. But if you do a longer run, Eagle Summit is waiting.
“If you push your team too hard, that can be costly, and these four teams here know that.”
Hall's hockey sled
Matt Hall, the 2017 Quest champion from Two Rivers, is using a sled he constructed of hockey sticks. A few of the sticks, particularly some Bauer brand sticks near the back of his sled, had University of Alaska Fairbanks logos on them.
“I can’t take credit for it as my idea, as I’ve seen sleds like this kicking around,” Hall said Friday in Eagle. “I got the idea myself from Allen Moore’s sleds, and I’m not sure where he got the idea from. I just picked up some used hockey sticks from Play It Again Sports, and I built myself a sled.”
Lisbet Norris, a rookie from Fairbanks, became the third musher to scratch from the race at 3 p.m. Alaska time Friday.
Norris was in Dawson when she scratched, a decision she made for the best interest of her team, according to a Quest news release.
Follow News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal on Twitter at @FDNMQuest for updates from the Yukon Quest trail.