It was pretty hard to see Milos leaving at around 11.15pm last night. Having had Toby in the sled at the end of the trail from Skoganvarre, Milos wasn't sure whether to take him further. But Toby seemed to enjoy his time in the sled and made a good speedy recovery so he left with the rest of the team towards Levajok. Cliff took a little encouragement to get out of the checkpoint but once he was out he was also doing well.
Milos said the trail was really hard going... Or rather soft going! Lots of new snow and bitterly cold wind on the mountain top. He couldn't wait for it to be over. But luckily the team were in good shape responding well to the 4hrs 17min break they had at Skoganvarre. For this section/stage Milos was fastest on the trail with a time of 6 hours 6 minutes. For now, that puts him in 2nd place (looking at trail time only) behind Leif Wilhelmsen. He came into the checkpoint fifth in front of Katy Meier, Ole Wingren and Elisabeth Edland. There's some really tough, new, competition in the race it seems - Eline Lihagen to name just one - although I think all the well known mushers must be pleased with their performance. It's a super long race that's only just begun and its all to play for.
For those that are following, Taisto was almost 8 hours on the trail and he said it was really tough. He was having problems with one of his lead dogs who would keep going off the trail. But he can rest longer here having only taken a couple of hours rest at Skoganvarre.
Milos is now sleeping in the van and the dogs are resting. Although he's due to take 6 hours break here, he only gets a couple of hours sleep by the time he's heated water for the dog food, settled them down to sleep with straw, fed them and so on... Then of course feed himself when he gets to the van (although I help there of course!). Soon the routine of feeding, booties, moisturising feet etc will start again. A special thank you to Milos's mum at this point because all he wants to eat are her homemade sausages!! i have a car full of other things to eat but when i ask what he wants I only get "sausages" as a reply. :-)
I think (hope) he will be leaving with 8 dogs again but Gina and Grony look like they are starting to tire. But to be quite honest, there's not a dog here that isn't tired! But they are very well looked after by their mushers.
I hope you are also following on www.finnmarkslopet.no. You can see live GPS tracking if you go to the main menu then click on GPS Tracking. The results service is also a good choice as it shows information from the checkpoints (including detailed breakdowns of stats).
Be back soon!!!!