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02-13-20 AM Yukon Quest Update

02-13-20 AM Quest Update

Lex Treinen (KUAC Fairbanks) Coming into sight towards the finish line in Whitehorse, three-time Quest Champion Allen Moore makes himself look like a bit of an amateur. He stops his dogs just in view of the finish line after they veer of the trail as people start to murmur. Just as he’s getting his dogs back on the trail, his handlers realize he’s not wearing his bib into the finish chute - a minor violation that could cost him $150. His handler athletically somersaults over the plastic fencing and sprints down the trail, hoping to catch him before he enters the finish chute.

It’s an uncharacteristic moment of chaos for the characteristically level-headed and calculating Moore, but nothing about this year’s Quest really went as expected. Allen Moore went into the 2020 Quest as one of the clear favorites, but he finished this year’s race in fourth, instead of fighting for the win. He looks tired and said the race felt longer than 1,000 miles.

“It feels like 10,000 because this is my 10th race.” 

Like most racers, he said he encountered some excruciatingly slow conditions on the trail this year, all the way into the finishing stretch, where his team got tangled up.

“It took a while but it got a little better right around here, but the snow was just piling up right exactly where the trail was, so that's the bad news,” That’s the bad news, he says. ”The good news is, I'm past it,” he says.

Whether because of bad luck or other reasons, Moore didn’t have any close competitors over the last 200 miles of the race. His closest competition this year, Cody Strathe, ended finishing five hours ahead of him. Moore said made for a different feeling coming into Whitehorse than what he’s used to.

“It was you know there's not anyone really close behind me or in front of me, so yes, you just take your time, I even left my seat on, which I never do, because you're usually racing, racing, so I could sit down and enjoy it,” he said.

Even during post race interviews, Moore is strangely introspective. Instead of dwelling about the sometimes brutal conditions of this year’s race, he launches into minutes-long reminiscences about past races. He tells stories with a comedian’s sense timing: like the time he was racing a competitor who started the final 100 mile-stretch just 2 minutes behind him.

“I knew he was gonna be right on my tail pretty soon, and I was double ski poling like I always do pretty hard and what do you do, you start looking back, so I glanced back, I see a headlight and we're 8 hours from the finish line, so I'm ski-poling like a mad-person, I mean like there's no tomorrow for 8 hours. Come to find out that it was a reflector. But I beat him by an hour and a half because of that.”

With this year’s race so spread out near him, he seemed not to be able to help remembering about other instances of his irremediable competitiveness.

“Usually I can ski pole the whole race and train for it all year so I can do it, but yeah, it helps me anyway and it helps me halfway to stay awake, even though I had a couple, I went to sleep and had a dream and woke up I’m still ski poling so.”

Unable to catch the musher in front of him, the 62-year-old Moore couldn’t help but have a little laugh at the expense of Cody Strathe, who is 20 years his junior.

“I passed him a couple of times in his sleeping bag and he jumped up, you know, and like he's not gonna let me get too far, but the thing for him is that his dogs were always faster, the whole race, so the only way I could have beat him is to get the same distance in front of him that he is in front of me, cause he could always catch me.”

While this year in some ways felt like a victory lap for the accomplished veteran, he said he’s still making up his mind about next year’s Quest. First though, he’s getting some rest. ###