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I just posted a blog about the art of racing young dogs in this year’s Tustumena 200 sled dog race. Here’s the link.

I guess I’m saying that to myself as well as the rest. There’s some great, competitive teams here for arguably the most arduous (if not toughest) 200 mile race in distance sled dog racing.

I’ll be running 11 yearlings and three old leaders, so my race will have a personality all its own. It will be a little like my Knik 200, where I ran 10 yearlings and two adults.

Needless to say, I’m packing straw again for this race. I’ll run about 50 miles, pull over and put straw down, heave out my cooler with two gallons of water and a sack of dog food, and feed those youngsters. They’ll nap for about an hour before I put fresh booties on them all, and we take off for another five hours. There’s a mandatory eight-hour break at the halfway point. My aim is to have them run the 100 mile return leg without stopping except for snacks. The point is to teach these young dogs what it is like to race, even though they are not physically capable of keeping up with older dogs.

Yearlings go out with tons of power and gusto, but they don’t have the stamina of older dogs. Hence, I pull over at 50 miles and make them rest.

The five or six teams that are gunning for first place should do 100 miles in nine to 10 hours. If I’m doing well, we’ll make the first 100 miles in 12 hours (which includes my two hour mini campout.)

Trails are excellent to near perfect in the places I’ve been. It’s sunny with highs about 10 to 15 above lows in the zero range. That’s ideal for the dogs and mushers. It’s a hilly race.

As of 9 p.m. Sunday…

Updated, real (and corrected) Copper Basin standings, FACTORING IN TIME DIFFERENTIALS OF MANDATORY REST: Jeff King was still first out of Paxson. Allan Moore is 22 mins behind King, factoring in mandatory rest that needs to be taken.

Then Dan Kaduce, 55 mins behind Moore; Jay Cadzow, 7 mins behind Kaduce; Sven Haltmann, 6 mins behind Cadzow; then Aliy Zirkle, Sonny Lindner, Ray Redington, and then a three way tie with Sass, Steer and Neff. Only 10 mins separate those six. Then Josh Cadzow, Normand Cassavant, Mike Ellis, Gerry Willomitzer, and Darrin Lee. That’s all I’ve got so far (and there could be mistakes).

Leaders expected into Chistochina any time.