Wednesday, March 6, 2024

It's nap time on Iditarod

As the middle and back of the pack make their way into the checkpoints of McGrath and Takotna, most of our front runners have declared their 24 hour mandatory rest in said checkpoints. Several teams pushed to Ophir before declaring, and so far Dallas Seavey looks to be pushing to Cripple to take his (if he doesn't keep going, but history tells us Cripple's his spot with this maneuver). 

For Iditarod fans this means they can catch up on Insider interview videos or even take a break from the computer to get other things done (if they haven't spent the two weeks prior to the start of the race prepping food and what not so as not to have to be away from the computer long - yes, it's a thing.) While the live feeds show calming footage of sleeping puppers on straw in dog blankets often made by school children as part of the Iditarod Education program, it's also the perfect time for fans to take a nap.

From here on out the race is truly on. Once teams come off their 24 all teams are on a level playing field. They will all just have their two mandatory rests to take after this, the time differential from the start being made up on the 24 hour mandatory (Bib 39 has to take 24 hours vs Bib 2 has to take 24+1h14m...if the mathing is correct). 

Jessie Holmes pushed to Ophir in lead last night and declared his 24 - that doesn't mean he couldn't decide later to pull the snow hook and chase after Dallas later and take his 24 hour later, but the clock starts over and at this point that might not be a wise choice. Jessie reached Ophir at 3:46am Wednesday, he is bib number 9 so doing the math (hopefully somewhat correctly) he should be able to leave at 4:52am Thursday morning (give or take a couple minutes).

Snow is currently falling in Takotna, Dallas is camped about 11 miles out of Ophir and has about sixty miles to go before he hits the halfway point of Cripple. He'll be breaking trail unless someone decides to pass him before he gets ready to leave (not likely). This is always a gutsy move by teams to take this part of the trail first, but Dallas studies the histories of the races more than probably anyone else on the trail (including the commentators) and his moves are all calculated. This is no doubt the plan he's had most of the season. We'll see how it pays off.

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