JACKSON, Wyo. — As the Pedigree Stage Stop Race entered Day 5, race leader Anny Malo responded to Lina Streeper’s bib-swiping performance yesterday with a quick run of her own in Lander.
Malo reclaimed the yellow bib by winning the 35-mile Lander leg in convincing fashion, posting a 2:22:33—more than four minutes faster than second-place Streeper. Temperatures were perfect for racing and there was next to no wind around South Pass in what, traditionally, is one of the windiest legs of the tour.
“Don’t get that yellow bib dirty. We want it back clean,” Rivest told Streeper. And get it back the Malo team will as she now holds a commanding 4 minute, 39 second lead over Streeper.
Alix Crittenden continues to hold down 3rd place, more than 45 minutes off the leader’s pace. Rachel Courtney and Jeff Conn round out the top 5.
A middle of the pack battle is getting tighter. Bruce Magnusson, Austin Forney, Maria Torgerson, JR Anderson, and Rafael Nelson are all within less than 30 minutes of each other. Anything can happen here before the finish of the race on Saturday.
Mushers take the day off Thursday to travel to Driggs. If weather forecasts hold true the teams may need to use their dogs just to get to Driggs. A Winter Storm Warning is expected to bring heavy snow to the Jackson Hole region through Friday and, perhaps, even Saturday.
That means this race will finish with the final two legs under siege from Mother Nature. The dogs can handle it, but can the mushers?
The race within a race
Stage stop racing is different than long-distance endurance mushing. It makes for a lot of travel between stops and highlights the importance of a good support team.
A good handler crew is a must in a race like this. Staff that is good with the dogs is a given. It also wouldn’t hurt if they were also mechanically inclined as breakdowns are par for the course.
Another way stage stop racing is different is the camaraderie between racers. All want to win but no one will pass up the opportunity to help a fellow racer. This group of mushers has been no exception.
Wayward mushers Jeff Conn and Bruce Magnusson helped each other out of a wrong turn situation in Big Piney. They then both warned Line Streeper before she went too far down the same path.
Yesterday, Rachel Courtney was having some vehicle issues and Linda Pierce’s crew, along with the Streeper racing team, stepped up to help Courtney get to the starting line in Lander.
375 E. SPRUCE DRIVE Jackson
180 CENTER STREET Jackson
43 RIVER TRAIL CIRCLE Alpine
553 COULTER AVE Jackson
6300 PAINTBRUSH TRAIL Jackson
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