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  • "'Only one handler from each team can be in the holding area at a time,' pronounced Mike McCowan, the race marshal. He was a burly, ruddy-faced American you wouldn't want to argue with. ... That handler, he went on, was to help lead the team into its allotted place when it arrived and clean up after it had left--but was not allowed to offer any additional assistance at the checkpoints. Handlers could not help feed or care for the dogs, as the driver was supposed to be self-sufficient. They could stand to the rear of the team, or at the front of the team, but they could not walk up and down. And they must not, under any circumstances, touch a dog, as this would constitute outside help to the musher.

    "'The hardest thing for you guys is going to be that, at some point, a dog is going to look up at you and go...' McCowan did a fair imitation of a winsome dog pleading for attention. 'And you must not touch that dog.'"

    --Polly Evans, Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman: Travels with Sled Dogs in Canada's Frozen North (NY: Bantam Dell, 2008), 97-98


    "In two hours, the Black Hawk evacuated six mushers and eighty-eight dogs from the mountain and transported them back to Mile 101. ... Our elation was dampened, however, by the knowledge that Saul was out of the race. The Quest rules forbade competitors from accepting outside help of any kind. They couldn't so much as take a cup of tea from a bystander; to take a ride in a Black Hawk was clearly a major transgression. So, while we were truly delighted that all the drivers and dogs were safe, and profoundly grateful to the Quest officials, volunteers, and military airmen who had effected their rescue, we were nonetheless sorely disappointed that after all that time, effort, and money, Saul's race had lasted less than three days." (132-133)


    January 25, 2017