The 2012 race started last Sunday. Those interested can get great photos and articles @ adn.com Cabela's, a major sponsor also has coverage.
We're fans of the Seavey family, 3 generations in the race. They have a nice facility to tour in Seward. ididaride.com Though not connected to the Seavey family, there have been helicopter rides to a summer mushing training camp on a nearby glacier available from the airport in Seward,
Over the years, we also enjoyed following the late Susan Butcher, Iditarod champion from Fairbanks.
Lance Mackey's leader, Maple, is in heat. He's running her in front because she's a damn good lead dog - and it maybe doesn't hurt to provide a little incentive to the boys in the back. Unfortunately she's provided a little too much incentive for her partner in lead, a dog named Mayor. Word is that Mayor and Maple have an ongoing romance, and have tied repeatedly on the trail. Perhaps the most embarrassing was in the checkpoint at Rainy, where Lance was delayed 45 mintues waiting for the leaders to have done with it. So there's Lance, looking at his watch and seeing one team after another cruise on out. Jeff King gave him a grin and a wave as he went steamong up the trail. That might be a little payback for the Mackey Musher Sneak of 2009, in which Jeff got snookered by Lance's sly and canny move. Reportedly, Mackey said of Major, "Well, he's a pro" whilst regarding the tied dogs with a jaundiced eye; evidently this was not his first delay-of-game, and Mayor appears to have some impressive prowess, considering that he's got enough energy to run and romance. If worse comes to worst, Lance will move Mayor back in the team.
Ramey Smyth had a mishap as well. He fell asleep on his sled and fell off before Finger Lake. He got up and ran after his sled, which kept on without him, neatly (and safely) passing another musher somewhere along the trail. Savidis came up on Ramey jogging along and picked him up. Eventually they found Ramey's dogs stopped along the trail, having avoided a tangle of their own, not to mention a tangle with the team they passed, musherless. Ramey is a consumate athlete, a runner in the off-season, and it's supposed that part of his legenday closing speed is his willingness - and ability - to run behind the sled, sparing his dogs. between having to add an early trail run to his repertoire, and having what he suspects to be salmonella in his team, he's had a challenging race so far.
So....I'll hop on my soapbox and throw out a few personal pet peeves about the Iditarod.
- When Rick Swenson, then a relative newcomer to the race, stated back in the late '70's that "This will become a national and international event with television coverage and everything!" (or words to that effect), everyone just laughed at him. and while it may have been Susan Butcher, Libby Riddles, and some of the more recent mushers that put the Iditarod on the "map", it was Rick Swenson who correctly predicted it's eventual success
- No less than the late Dorothy Page (former Mayor of Wasilla and a key figure in the early days) stated that the original intent was to model the race after the All Alaska Classic race(s) of the '20's and not after the Serum run...this original intent has, of course, long since been swallowed up by the marketing buzz surrounding the duplication of hte Serum run...not that that is necessarily a bad thing
- .22 short: How is that related to the Iditarod? Not so much an Iditarod thing, but a leftover from the early days of both long distance and sprint racing when there were still working dog teams and there weren't enough wannabe or new racers to absorb the extra dogs from breeding operations (i.e. dogs that weren't good enough to either work or run races). .22 short was used to solve that problem. Can't say for certain if any of that still goes on, but (based on knowing how widespread it still was in the late '80's/early '90's) I suspect there's still some culling being done on the QT
- The racers and the teams are both athletes and are tougher than I'll ever be, but I kind of miss the old days where there was some real risk in the race and there was not the support infrastructure (and accompanying hoopla) along the trail.
The Iditarod is still a great race and great sporting event, but it has changed over the past 40 years.
Displaced Alaskan NO MORE!
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
Did you see the 'mouth to snout' recussitation story in ADN. Jansenn, the 'mushing mortician' saved one of his dogs after dropping on the trail. It is interesting to read about the various predicaments arising from the dogs being in heat.
It's nice to see the leaderboard showing so many in the hunt. I love a close race, and the strategy stories will only become more interesting.
Dallas Seavey left Koyuk 20 minutes ahead of Aliy Zirkle. Seavey is down to 10 dogs while Ms. Zirkle is at 12. I believe there's about 170 miles and 4 checkpoints remaining before Nome. There are 5 other teams in Koyuk taking a break.
Dallas Seavey and Aliy Zirkle in at White Mountain for the mandatory stop of 8 hours. Seavey was in @ 00:14, Zirkle @ 01:25, so Seavey will have up to 1hr and 11 minute head start for the 77 mile run to Nome.
Dallas played a good head game on Aliy by leaving Elim with little more than the few minute check-in, then resting the team a mile out of town. Good strategy, and at age 25 it looks as though he has the edge on stamina. BUT, it ain't over yet. The winner will be decided this afternoon. Interestingly, we could have a 1st and (last place- red lantern award) in the same family. Dallas and Dan Seavey.