Friday, March 13, 2015

It's time to take your 24!

Jodi Bailey's team run through Anchorage
for the Ceremonial Start of Iditarod 43.
March 7, 2015
The leaders have made their way into Galena and Huslia. Most are taking their 24+start differential hour mandatory rest in one of the two checkpoints. Of the front of the pack, only Jeff King has taken both his 24 and his 8 hour rests. He is currently on the trail to Huslia. I expect King to take a bit of a rest in the checkpoint before continuing on. The trail report says the run into the checkpoint is extremely cold (like -40 below and colder) which causes more friction on the sled and slower going. In other words, it zaps the energy of the dogs faster. Can't blame them, no matter what you're used to THAT'S COLD.

Mitch Seavey took his 24 in Ruby after noticing some of his team was dealing with soreness. He had thought Ruby would be his stop, but that sealed the deal. He's passed through Galena and is on the trail to Huslia. He still needs to take his 8 hour somewhere on the Yukon (he has till Kaltag). According to his Insider interview last night, he plans to break up the run from Galena to Huslia. My guess is he'll take his 8 in Huslia.

Aaron Burmeister was first to the halfway point and collected the prize. He told Insider that his team was finally coming together - sharing he's had his fair share of problems with one of his main dogs coming into heat so all of his male lead dogs were "more interested in making puppies than running down the trail." He's declared his 24 and will have 24 hours and 32 minutes until he can leave... don't ask me to do the Idita-math as I can barely figure out how to get the answer for 1+1 apparently. It will be late tonight (sometime after 11pm).

Dallas Seavey is also in Huslia taking his 24. Dallas' dogs came in from a long cold run looking VERY good. They were happy, still stretching out in the line, and actually pulling at the line wanting to keep going. That's a good sign that they have a lot of juice left in them. After a 24+ hour rest? Yeah, good luck holding back that "monster" of a team. Dallas' wife Jen has reported that this team has been a joy to train, and that with how well they're doing Dallas has changed up his race strategy to best match their potential. We may be watching Dallas' run to a third victory... but there's a lot of trail left and another 20 or so teams that are just as good and deserving.

Aliy Zirkle is still in the mix, and while she's considered further down in the standings - she also took her 24 in Galena. Zirkle has been working hard on the back of her sled by ski-poling, pedaling, and running with her team. This makes for a very tired musher, and it's showing in the videos Insider has interviewing her. However, she got a nice long rest in Galena and with the hopefully warmer temps of the day as she runs to Huslia her energy may be boosted. Don't count her out. She'll kick into another gear in the second half.

Martin Buser is still in the mix, but had a very interesting chat yesterday with the Iditarod Insider saying he was going to take it slow and not worry about placement. With the news about Lance Mackey's team yesterday - Lance's 3 year old dog, Wyatt, passed away suddenly on the run from Tanana to Ruby - I have to assume part of his decision was based on that event. He talked about running for the dogs, not for his fifth win. I don't think this was a slight at Lance, but more just a "I need to stop pushing them beyond what they're capable of just because of placement/human ego." Which maybe he felt that's what he himself was doing. Martin is currently in Huslia, has taken his 8 and I assume he's declared his 24.

So while most are resting for 24+ hours, it's time for the fans to step away from the computer, stretch their legs and go take a look outside. The next 3-4 days we'll be glued to the screen non stop with little rest. So get in some YOU time while you still can. We'll see ya on the flip side.

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