Day 5 IPSSSDR – Alpine, Wyoming

The coldest day yet here in Wyoming. Teams assembled in the downtown area of Alpine, a small bedroom community outside of Jackson Hole. It was 25F below, and many dogs had blankets on, and the mushers were bundled up. I spoke with Stacey Teasley’s handler Keith Aily, a veteran of Alaskan winter sports, and he said, “We call this area little Alaska.” I agreed.The teams got off to a brisk start on the way to a 50+ mile stage. Most racers went with 10 or 12 dogs. More video and pics to come soon, but I wanted to get this out to you asap. POST STAGE UPDATE:It wasn’t quite business as usual here in Alpine today. As the race plugs on from town to town, more mushers are taking out the maximum amount of dogs allowed – 12. In earlier stages, many teams hooked less dogs, resting some for later. Now the race is on in full force. First shocker of the day was that Blayne Streeper didn’t win a stage. For anyone else, it may not be that surprising, but he has had such a dominating stranglehold on this race it is news whenever he is not on top – whether it be in a stage, or a heat of an open-class race. Blayne had to load a dog, and it put him in 3rd place for the day. He still maintains a 16 minute lead over 2nd place, however, so I’m sure he’s not worried. First place time for the day did go to the Streeper second team, piloted by Aaron Burmeister. Aaron had what he called, “A flawless run- my feet got cold from standing on the mat for so long. I kept them between 13 and 14 mph going out, and they really had a lot in reserve for return trip.”Moving into 3rd position with the 2nd fastest time of the day was Alberta’s Aaron Peck. Aaron was 6th overall last year, and looked very, very strong coming over the line in today’s stage. Peck’s whole operation, including his second team piloted by rookie Jake Golton, currently in 8th overall, is top notch and very organized, he looks to be a strong competitor, with a lot of depth, in the future.Having another very tough day today was Sweden’s Anna Bjorklund. Piloting the “A” team from the Gilbertson kennel, she was running as high as second place in the first two stages, but has been dropping in the standings with slow runs in the last two. She had to put two tired dogs in the bag today, and ended up with the second slowest time. She is still sitting in 6th overall, and will have to work hard to catch up to a surging Lance Mackey.Lance’s team, leased from veteran stage and Iditarod musher Warren Palfrey, is coming on stronger and stronger as the race rolls on. It seems as if the team is gelling – the dogs are getting used to him, and are getting in better and better shape with each stage. This is a noticeable, visible change that can be seen. Lance is really enjoying his time here and even though he is racing this as a learning year, and to experience something new, it’s hard to detach the heart of a racer. Lance has an intangible connection with dogs, and he is starting to make a connection with this team.Many other teams moved around in the standings with very strong runs by Bruce Magnusson and Jerry Bath, moving them into 4th and 7th place overall. Enjoy the pics and I’ll be posting some more short videos soon.DOUBLE CLICK ON EACH VIDEO TO WATCH IN HIGHER RESOLUTIONJERRY BATH STARTANNA BJORKLUND STARTDAWN BREEDLOVE START…OOPS!BRUCE MAGNUSSON STARTAARON PECK STARTAARON BURMEISTER STARTSTREEPER STARTAARON BURMEISTER FINISH – FASTEST RUN OF THE DAY.AARON PECK FINISH – SECOND FASTEST RUN OF THE DAYBLAYNE STREEPER FINISH – THIRD FASTEST RUN OF THE DAYKATE ST. ONGE FINISHMATT ROSSI FINISHNFEWTON MARSHALL RIGHT AFTER HIS RUNRYAN REDINGTON FINISHJR ANDERSON FINISH

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