Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Final K-300 Detail

OK, now it is truly over. The last musher reached Bethel late this afternoon.

At the time of the last post, there were still two mushers on the trail, Dave Tresino and Kyle Belleque. They were laying over in Tuluksak--for two days--waiting to see if the weather would change. As so commonly happens here, change it did, and quickly. This morning we were back down to a few degrees below zero. The snow is all gone, of course, and the wet crusty slop simply froze hard, making for rough and ugly trail.

Kyle apparently decided not to even try it; he declared a scratch in Tuluksak. But Dave headed his dogs to Bethel just past noon today, and made the run in a little over 5 hours and 52 minutes. Of course with hard icy trail and very rested dogs, he had the fastest split time from Tuluksak to Bethel; but, interestingly enough, not by much. Martin Buser made it from Tuluksak in just over 5 hours and 53 minutes, running through deep water. That says a lot for Martin and his team.

So Dave Tresino is officially the K-300 Red Lantern, and for his effort and perseverance he earns the 16th place payout of $2,300. I have to wonder why Kyle didn't hang in there with him and drive the dogs that last 70 miles home to Bethel; it would have earned him $2,100. Worth one last push, I would think. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps he did not have five dogs able to make the run; he only started with 10 dogs, instead of the usual 14, and had 8 dogs in harness when he got to Tuluksak on Monday. K-300 mushers are required to have a minimum of five dogs in harness and on the gangline when they finish. Or maybe it was such a punishing experience that it just didn't matter to him any more.

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