An exhausted Allen Moore and 13 lively looking sled dogs pulled into Dawson City around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the leaders of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
Moore gets four ounces of Yukon gold for being the first musher to reach the halfway point of the 1,000-mile race. And like every musher who makes it as far as Dawson City, he gets a 36-hour break before he returns to the trail.
The money will be nice, but at this point there's more value in sleep. Moore told reporters in Dawson that he had slept a total of three hours and 15 minutes since the race began Friday in Fairbanks.
"I'll feel better when I get to bed," he said upon his arrival, shown by the Quest on Facebook Live.
It was dark when the two-time champion from Two Rivers reached the historic gold-mining town. Moore's headlamp provided enough light to see lots of wagging tails on his 14-dog team.
"They look awesome," Moore said. "They're perky, as you can see, so I couldn't ask for any better."
Moore's wife, Aliy Zirkle, a three-time Iditarod runner-up who won the Quest in 2000, was in Dawson City to greet her husband and their dogs.
Moore said that other than low temperatures — it was minus-20 at the Fairbanks start and has been below zero for much of the race — his race has gone well so far.
"The cold's probably been the worst thing this year," he said. "Over the summit there was no wind, no snow, so that's uneventful, which is good."
Though he likes how his team has performed so far, Moore was reluctant to say he's in control of this year's race, even though, based on departure times from the previous checkpoint in Eagle, he is more than four hours ahead of second-place Paige Drobny.
"There still is 500 miles to go," he said. "Anything can happen."
Moore's mandatory 36-hour layover in Dawson ends Friday morning. Until then, he knows exactly what will happen.
"I'll be sleeping and eating as much as possible," he said.