Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Monday finish?

I'm trying to get a handle on when to expect the leaders to show up in the Fairbanks area.  Taking a look at past results, it seems like it's generally been taking the leaders roughly two days to get from the Circle City checkpoint to the finish in Fairbanks.  That could put the winner into Fairbanks mid-day on Monday.  We had a local fun run in Two Rivers today over the same trail that's going to bring the Quest mushers down alongside the Chena, and the trail is in very good shape.  The winning teams in the Hamburger run had surprisingly fast times.  Right now it looks like the trail should hold up and the currently too-warm temperatures should drop, which is good news for the Quest teams.  In the meantime the Quest lead is being very, very closely contested, and that is likely to keep the overall speed up.

So, if the Quest winner arrives mid-day on Monday, will this be a record?  Possibly, at least in the Whitehorse to Fairbanks direction, which is widely acknowledged as being more difficult than the Fairbanks to Whitehorse direction.  The previous record for this direction belongs to Lance Mackey, who won the 2007 Quest in 10 days, 2 hours, and 27 minutes.  Unless something really surprising happens this is almost certainly going to fall.  The overall record belongs to Hans Gatt, who finished in 2010 in 9 days and 26 minutes.  I think this could possibly fall but right now it seems kind of unlikely.

As of this writing it's very hard to say who's going to win.  Hugh is in front but Allen is eating away at his lead, and in the meantime we're seeing tweets from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that Brent is planning on overtaking the leaders on the uphill side of Eagle Summit.  As the tweet says, "Yowza!"  But if anybody can do that it's certainly the ridiculously athletic Brent Sass.

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