Saturday, February 27, 2016

40 degree weather for the start of Iditarod 44

Lead dogs run through a massive puddle
during Iditarod 43 in Anchorage.
This is more of a whine for me than anything newsworthy. As you well know, we are a week away from Iditarod 44. One Week (less than, actually as the whole show should be over by 230pm AKST) before the kick off to Alaska's largest sporting even of the year. One week for Mother Nature to get her act together.

South Central Alaska has been hammered with warm winds that brought temps into the 40s this past week. Weather forecasts for the coming week aren't much better. I ran around town doing my errands wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Typically we're still bundled in winter gear until at least the last part of March (some two to three weeks AFTER Iditarod has finished). There's really no snow on the ground, and what might look like snow is actually very slick ice that can kill a tailbone.

So where does that leave the Iditarod? Thankfully - while trails aren't ideal, they're still manageable up near Willow. The Jr. Iditarod is running this weekend and so far things have gone well. The real concern is the Anchorage Ceremonial Start. Last weekend the snow came down and put in a nice little white covering of everything. But, Chinook winds came right behind them and the slush is now ice along the trails. The Fur Rondy Sprint Races were drastically changed (shortened), and what little snow to be had was trucked in to cover the 5 mile trail.

FIVE MILES. The Ceremonial Start is ELEVEN MILES through Anchorage. I honestly cannot tell you what mile we are on the trail (it's past 5 miles), but we're the University Lake/Tudor Centre section. Photos sent to me today by one of my awesome team members show dirt beside the trail - and ICE on the trail. Last year we had slush and that giant puddle we named the Iditaplunge.

Weather predictions have Anchorage at 42 and sunny next Saturday. Willow, Alaska - where the restart takes place, will be 39 and sunny. Anchorage starts in the morning, but runs through the heat of the day. Willow starts at the heat of the day into the cooling off. It's still going to be warm for the dogs, so mushers will be doing all they can to keep the dogs from overheating.

I have no doubt the Ceremonial Start will take place. It just won't look like what we know it should look like. I'll be there anyway. I'll have photos up most likely the Tuesday afterward. Be sure to follow me on twitter, and I am now also on periscope!

No comments:

Post a Comment