Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yukon Quest FInals

With Hank DeBruin and his team of nine dogs crossing the finish line in Fairbanks at 22:06 local time on Friday (that would be 03:06 Saturday morning on the east coast), the Yukon Quest is officially over. DeBruin's was the thirteenth team to complete the thousand mile trek from Whitehorse, YT to Fairbanks. Their official race time: 13 days, 10 hours, and 54 minutes.

Twenty-five teams started the race, which was won by Dallas Seavey with a time of 10 days, 11 hours, 53 minutes.

A listing of the final standing for the 2011 Yukon Quest can be seen here.

This is the first year I've followed the Quest closely after several years of closely watching the Iditarod. The conditions the racers faced as they left the Yukon River at Circle City and headed up over through the passes (temperatures down to -40 and -50 degrees with howling winds, chest deep overflows on rivers that had to be swum or detoured around, etc.) were formidable. While this (and the Iditarod) are races that pit teams of man and dogs against one another, it also pits those teams against the elements. Just to go the distance and finish the race is a tribute to the ability and intestinal fortitude of the participants. That said, there is no shame to be placed upon those who were forced to withdraw due to injury or tragedy along the trail. Realizing when you've been beaten, making a strategic withdrawal so as to preserve the health and well being of yourself and your team allowing the team to come back and do battle another day is an honorable decision.

To those twenty-five teams who left Whitehorse after months and months of preparation I say well done! And to the thirteen which managed to finish the race...well, I salute you ladies, gentlemen and dogs! Congratulations!

Now, on to the Iditarod!

No comments: