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Close Race Between Cooke and Beattie, Quest Teams Get Pampered During Layover

As the back half of the Yukon Quest pack continues to trickle into Dawson City, the leaders are enjoying some much-needed rest and respite.

Aliy Zirkle, a Yukon Quest winner and Allen Moore’s mushing partner, is currently supporting Moore as handler in this race. She told Quest staff yesterday in a video that this point in the race is one of her favorite times.

“You get to give these dogs and mushers this enormous rest where if you have really good handlers, then you split up. One handler takes the musher and is like: ‘what do you want to eat, when do you want to sleep, when should we wake you up? Do you want your feet massaged? We’ll dry your clothes and that sort of thing…And then the other handler is taking care of the dogs.”

Zirkle would go on to say that teams normally leave Dawson City feeling pumped up because they just experienced something comparable to a cruise ship vacation for 36 hours.

Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore in Dawson City. Photo from Chance McLaren, Yukon Quest 2020, used with permission.

Quest reporters are in the checkpoint at Dawson, already asking 4th position Moore if he feels he can catch up on the next 500 miles of this race. Here’s Moore’s answer:

“Well I’ve come into (Dawson) 4th position before and won so it’s doable. Something might have to happen, I mean it’s a dog race so something can always happen. So it’s a possibility.”

To claim a fourth Yukon Quest title though, Moore will have to pass Cody Strathe, Michelle Phillips, and Brent Sass. Sass will be the first one allowed to leave Dawson and get back on the trail tonight by 6pm PST. According to the race standings, the next musher into Dawson City was Rob Cooke who out-nosed Richie Beattie. Both were neck-and-neck less than a mile away from the checkpoint. Check out the Yukon Quest’s Facebook page for a video recording of their arrival into Dawson.

Image at top: A team of sled dogs gets checked out as they pull into Dawson City in the 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from YukanProductions, YQ 2020, used with permission.