Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Iditarod 39: Taking Twenty-four

Sunday to now has been non-stop action and surprise in this year's iditarod. Teams that were deemed the strongest quickly fell to the back of the pack, with some favorites to win suggesting they might end up scratching. Mitch Seavey was reportedly planning to scratch on Monday, but thankfully decided against it. He's in Takotna sitting in tenth place and apparently taking his 24 hour layover.

Reader (and blogger) favorite Dallas Seavey is currently in 13th after a slow start. He made a jump several checkpoints back, but hasn't truly caught the leaders yet.

The surprising leader is four time champion Martin Buser. Once again, the Happy Trails Kennel is benefitting from the warmer temps, and hard packed, fast trail. It also helps that Martin's team was far away from the Yukon Quest where, apparently, many teams have picked up a strain of kennel cough which has slowed their teams considerably.

After announcing he was going to push for five, Lance has backed off of that statement saying he'll be lucky to stay top ten this year. He's having issues with his team being lethargic. But, I seem to recall him feeling worried about a sickly team about this time last year. Granted, he didn't drop as many last year as he has here (at the moment he's reading at 12 dogs, but is reportedly planning to drop more by the time he leaves the checkpoint tonight after taking his 24 hour layover).

Rick Swenson is likely to see his five time championship record tied by either Buser or Mackey, and it looks like there's very little chance of him increasing his record to six as he suffered a broken collar bone going through the Dalzell Gorge earlier this week. He decided against scratching as, all things considered, he's feeling pretty good. Rick was quoted as saying that as long as he keeps his arm low and doesn't extend it too far out he doesn't feel pain.

Not all of the teams have decided to take their layover in Takotna (a favorite among mushers because of the food - famous for their Iditarod pies and hospitality, who wouldn't want to stay there!) and several have pushed on to Ophir and the halfway point of Iditarod.

We're just minutes away from Martin Buser leaving Takotna (it took me a while to focus on this apparently)! Let the real race begin! Mush on!

(for more updates follow me on twitter! )

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