Monday, March 5, 2012

Zirkle channels her inner Libby Riddles on Iditarod run

Aliy Zirkle turned heads this evening when just nine minutes after running into the Iditarod checkpoint of Rohn, she headed out on her way to the little town of Nikolai. Zirkle will most likely find a place to camp along the trail, away from the hustle and bustle of a busy checkpoint. Zirkle left even with the storm warning coming to the area along the Kuskokwim River, which has many long time fans and media to think back to the race's first lady champion: Libby Riddles.

Still, Zirkle's and Riddles' runs are also drastically different. While Zirkle is taking the chance prior to her 24 hour layover, Riddles did so out on the Alaskan coast just miles away from the finish. Zirkle got out ahead of the storm, Riddles went through it. And Zirkle's storm is a storm warning, Riddles didn't have trail markers to follow because they blew away.

Riddles won with her gutsy move, it will be days before we will see if Aliy's strategy pays off, but one look at the tracker shows a host of past winners on her tail. Jeff King and Mitch Seavey are gaining, and at least one - Seavey - also plans to stop before heading into the next checkpoint. And there's still the 24 hour layovers where the clock is basically erased, and it's every team for themself afterwards. And we're not at the half way point of Cripple yet.

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