Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Iditarod sized intermission

Aliy Zirkle at the Ceremonial Start of Iditarod 40
Zirkle was first into Takotna last night.
The Iditarod mushers have quickly approached the point in the race where their rest strategies will begin to play out. The leaders last night all made it into Takotna and declared they were taking their mandatory 24 hour layover. For those less familiar with the race, every team must take a 24 hour stop within a checkpoing. In this time the dogs are looked over and cared for and the mushers eat and get a bit of rest themselves. This is also where the clock "restarts" as the 24 hour for those with the beginning bib numbers are required to take 24+.

Aliy Zirkle, who was first into Takotna and won the Spirit of Alaska award in McGrath, is looking at 106 extra minutes to make up for her default lead by being bib number 14 (the 13th musher out of 66). With the difference in time, the first of last night's top five to leave Takotna early tomorrow morning will be 2004 Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey. Seavey's team is creating a lot of buzz as being one of the best teams he's ever had up to this point. Following a few minutes later will be Seavey's son, Dallas, who's team has impressed everyone who's had the priveledge to watch them.

Earlier today 4-time champion Martin Buser and Buser's son Rohn both blew through Takotna on their way to the next checkpoint of Ophir. Fans are speculating if the Busers will rest together in Ophir or if one or both with go on to Cripple - and $3000 in gold - before taking their 24 hour layover.

This is the day that most Iditarod enthusiasts look forward to so that they too can get some rest, maybe take a shower, and do some overlooked chores around the house.

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