Author Topic: Yukon Quest 2019 Finish - The 1000 Mile Sled Dog Race in Canada and Alaska  (Read 598 times)

Řivind Třien

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Well, Yukon Quest was not quite that long this year due to a smaller stretch that required transport due to lack of snow north of the starting point, Whitehorse in Canada. But nevertheless very impressive. By luck the winner, Brent Sass (of Eureka, north of Fairbanks) arrived in Fairbanks here in Alaska at noon a little over a week ago, after spending a slightly more than 9 days on the trails. Thanks to the tracker that was available from the main page (https://www.yukonquest.com/), it was easy to figure out mushers location and when to show up. I also had a special motivation for showing up this time (in all closer to a 30km bike trip for me  back and forth and around in the finish area), which I will not reveal yet, but you should be able to figure it out  ;) . The capture was also a bit more interesting when mushers show the wear of the trail, although the light was a bit flat. Bear with me, this is going to be image heavy!

The ice on Chena River was posted not to be safe, but some brave souls ignored it to cheer Brent Sass in. I stayed safe up on the bridge for an overview:
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Finally there, meeting all the publicity.
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Helping personell care for dogs, so they stay on track and do not get distracted.
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..and dogs get some really nice rewards.
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Brent Sass arrived with all 14 dogs (out of 14 allowed max), and they were in fantastic shape, which is quite a feat. It is common that mushers drop off weaker dogs as the race goes on. The chief veterinarian whom I happen to know was really impressed by how the dogs looked. Also most of the team was new dogs, never participated in the race before which makes it really interesting - congratulations in place!
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Then the winner is sort of whisked to the side for interviews while the dog handlers take care of the dogs for a little while. I was later able to chat with him and he told me that he had basically not slept in 9 days, just 1/2 hour  naps on a very few occasions. The dogs get their needed rest and there is also mandatory lay-overs (last one 8 hours at last check point), but he spent all the time taking care of the dogs. This race is to a much higher degree self-supported, carrying all supplies, than the other big race, the Iditarod.
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During the interview, when talking about how the dogs performed , and in particular one called Jeep, he got very emotional - he was given that dog from his mentor Joe Reddington who had passed away fairly recently.
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But it is not all done yet, the sled has to be rigged down and the dogs fed and taken care of. This is where it is chance to meet the musher and their dogs. Here is a big and small sled.
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I wonder if this was the dog Jeep, it was supposed to be a leader initially thought to be a short distance dog - one of the leaders were black.
Edit: This is confirmed, I found an image of Jeep regarding the Golden Harness Award on the Yukon Quest Twitter page,
https://twitter.com/theyukonquest
, direct link to image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dzl6gu3W0AAaYhf.jpg
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Finally home in the dog truck, fed and ready to sleep soon.
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Next team to arrive and take the 2nd place finish was that of Hans Gatt. There was just enough time to do some scouting for a location by bike and foot, to find a place on the river that looked fairly safe.
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I was too far away to get the finish line, but touched up with him at his dog truck.
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Back at the finish line I was able to get the third place winner, Allen More. As only key personell and official media were allowed insider the fences, I had so try shoot over the heads of the receiving crowd.
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Full activity at the finish line - Registration - veterinary checks and dogs to have teir rewards. Musher Aliy Zirkle who I photographed previously is petting the dog to the right.
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Identity check of a dog
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And the reward, apparently a nice piece of halibut.
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3rd place interview of Allen More.
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Again, not done yet, but many helping handlers small and big to rig down and take care of the dogs.
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Fed and ready to sleep at home in the dog truck.
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Now it was just time to catch the 4th place finish Michelle Phillips up at the bridge again. The river looks really treacherous. After 5th or 6th place they had to cut the finish short and move the finish line up to where they entered the Chena River. It has not been cold enough this winter - most of the cold went to the lower 48.
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Stil a good crowd to cheer Michelle Phillips in.
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Just finishing this race is really impressive, so she has all reason to be happy at the interview.
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It was starting to get dark, and I did not stay for more. The rest of the teams kept coming in over the rest of the week (this was Monday) and by Friday the red lantern price could be handed to over to rookie Hendrik Stachnau of Hamburg, Germany. But we are not done yet, next up the public and the helpers.








Řivind Třien

Birna Rřrslett

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The story and all pictures are nice, but the last one #31 really has something special going for it .....

Řivind Třien

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The temperature was at a very comfortable at -7°C; clothing of helpers and public is accordingly not as cold weather specific as usual. A considerable crowd showed up, considering this was a working day, but the arrival at lunch time probably helped. Winner and second time Yukon Quest Champion Brent Sass to the left. Who is just public and who is helpers or dog handlers is not easy to figure out unless one can spot a badge. There are lots of volunteers needed in these dog sled races.
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Řivind Třien

Řivind Třien

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The story and all pictures are nice, but the last one #31 really has something special going for it .....

Thanks for the kind comment Birna, I really liked that too.
Řivind Třien

Fons Baerken

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#5 has the same coat as me  :)
thanks for the event.

Jakov Minić

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What a story Řivind!
Thank you so much for sharing these lovely images and your commentary.
Truly impressive!!!
Free your mind and your ass will follow. - George Clinton
Before I jump like monkey give me banana. - Fela Kuti
Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem. - Woody Allen

golunvolo

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Beautiful and emotional story and images. Sensitive work.

  Thanks for sharing!

Řivind Třien

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Thanks Fons, Jacov and Paco for the enthusiastic comments. I really enjoyed capturing these.

But no one have discovered the special motivation I had for capturing these yet - it takes a little digging into, but then it should be in plain sight.  ;)
Řivind Třien

Akira

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This is way more than just an event report.  Thank you for sharing!
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

CS

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Thanks Fons, Jacov and Paco for the enthusiastic comments. I really enjoyed capturing these.

But no one have discovered the special motivation I had for capturing these yet - it takes a little digging into, but then it should be in plain sight.  ;)

I dunno the abnwer to that, Oivind, but I know when I see another good year of Iditarod coverage in your images!  ;)
Carl

Hugh_3170

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Is one competitor special?  ;)
Hugh Gunn

Řivind Třien

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Thanks for the kind words Akira and Carl.
Carl, the Yukon Quest is favored over Iditarod (which only exceptionally have started in Fairbanks) by us inhabitant of interior Alaska, but that was not the special reason in this case.

Hugh, I have no special relationship to any of the competitors, in fact I never met any of them before, although I thought someone could perhaps  take that as a (false) bait. Think more photo-related, no need to dig into information from anywhere but what is posted here on NG is adequate to answer the question about my special motivation.  ;)
Řivind Třien

Frank Fremerey

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Phantastic sensitive reporting, lovely portraits, what a great treat. Thank you!
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Me: https://youpic.com/photographer/frankfremerey/

Bent Hjarbo

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Love the photos, but no clue on what the special reason  :o

Hugh_3170

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Batteries - hold up well in the cold?
Hugh Gunn