The second installment begins:
Jeff & Dave arrived in Bethel nearly 30 hours later than planned.
They met up with their host family (Tomas & Suzi Israelsson) and all 28 dogs that have been wondering what took the guys so long to get there… [A big thank you to all those that took care of the teams!!]
The weather in Bethel had delayed not only Jeff & Dave, but a number of other mushers as well.
On Thursday the K300 board determined that the musher meeting would be rescheduled (sound familiar….??) for Friday, and the deadline for food drops would be extended due to the weather and difficulties with travel.
Jeff & Dave spend Thursday evening catching up with the dogs and redoing food drops to make up for the elimination of the Pike Lake Loop from the K300.
Late Thursday evening it is decided that the K300 will NOT start at the scheduled time on Friday evening…
Jeff & Dave attend the musher meeting on Friday morning, and the race board decides that K300 will go on! It will just start on Saturday afternoon…. at 3pm.
Friday evening it is determined that the race trail is wet (brings back memories of last years Kusko, huh?) and slushy – but doable. Still the race goes on!
And then Friday night rolls around… Jeff & Dave attend yet another musher meeting … and wait, the K300 will NOT start as re-scheduled. The weather had been near 40 for most of Friday, and that created deep dangerous slush and standing water on the lower portions of the trail…
No races on Saturday… nope… not a race to be had… not that day…
But will the race go on?
Of course it will! The K300 team seemed to be living by one of Jeff’s own mantras: Success is Mandatory!
Saturday arrives and a decision is made… the race will start on Sunday! Afterall, the race has never been canceled… so high noon it is! By golly, there will be a dog race!
Which brings us to Sunday morning… race day! It is only 6:30am here in Alaska and please don’t ask me why I am up so gosh darn early! OK – it really is just to update the Jeff & Dave fans that have to be glued to their seats!
I had a chance to talk with Jeff yesterday afternoon as he and Dave were lounging about… and maybe watching some satellite tv… He had this to share:
Finally the Bethel chinook seems to have blown itself out. Current temp is 10 degrees, with nothing in the forecast for the next week that is above 15, or below zero. The high winds and warm temperatures however, played hell with the trail. We’re due to start the 300 Sunday at noon. Trail conditions are said to be icy, rough and fast. I know they will go to great lengths to have us avoid any significant water, but getting wet somewhere along the way seems inevitable. The dogs are clearly ready to go somewhere. They are coming out of their skin with enthusasm, and with Statler in heat it’s a little bit like a mosh pit going on in Israelsson’s dog barn. Seriously, I consider keeping the dogs from hurting on another for the next 24 hours a very real and necessary goal. They’re good natured for sure, but they can only take so much of this.
Jon Baker slipped in a parking lot and is said to have fractured his elbow, a Bethel race volunteers small airplane blew loose from its moorings last night and was totaled, Ken Anderson’s truck and trailer hit a moose on the way to Anchorage – resulting in totaling his truck one week after he dropped collision insurance. So, I’m just trying to maintain no net loss. Can’t wait to the the afterburners fire and get on some kind of trail.
So there you have it race fans! Stay tuned for the further Adventures of Jeff & Dave – and Two Dog Teams….