Monday, 19 January 2015

Stage 7 - not quite a mass start

Today we're at Bessans just at the end of the valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. Traditionally we would have the mass start today when all the teams set off at once but they have decided to let the teams off in three's. Milos, Radek and Remy will start together at 15.43 (14.43 GMT). Jan will start with two French teams, Daniel Juillaguet and Francois Pagnoux at 15.39. 

For the crowds sake the idea is to see who's the fastest out of the gate (so to speak) but any good musher will tell you that's just asking for trouble. It's like sprinting off the start line at a marathon. If the teams want to last the distance then they will be braking. Expect to see Radek, Milos and Jan all braking. The only exception will be if there is a pile up of dogs at the end when the trail narrows and one team wants to get infront of another to avoid troubles. 

The other bit of news from today is that about half the mushers are sick. Either physically being sick or sitting on the toilet. It seems it's mostly mushers as well as a couple of the event volunteers so they are wondering if the water at the Base Polaire was to blame. No-one really knows but they are handing out medication to anyone that needs it. There were some questions about doping controls but the solutions they're providing are allowed. 

I'm pleased to say Milos is fine. A stomach of steel!! Jan isn't fairing so well and has stomach cramps, although it doesn't look like its hit him with full force thankfully. Martin Bily is doubting his start today as he's so ill. 

Our plan for today is to try and not lose any time to Radek or Remy but we will have to see how it goes. In this game you can win or lose in one stage and the difference in minutes at the moment is quite precarious!

I'll post later from the start but meanwhile here are some photos of where we are including Pavol waxing Milos's skis on the sled and one of Jan's dogs enjoying a sled ride ;-)

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