Iditarod and Points Further North

I got seriously sidetracked today, so no time for “poetry”–sorry my sweet poetry lovers!

Here are a few thoughts on how today shaped up, in regards to the front runners–

Most of the top contenders left Takotna off their 24 hour rests, blew through the checkpoint of Ophir, and continued on all the way to Iditarod–something like 110 miles of long rolling hills and hard packed trail. A run that is almost guaranteed to push some of these teams over the edge–we will have no idea who has “gotten away” with this gamble until we see who has the power to run from Iditarod straight to Anvik, another brutal run of much more difficult countryside and nearly 100 miles, and then get up from Anvik and run into a head wind on the way to Eagle Island, yet another 100 run.

Two notable exceptions from the landrush to Iditarod were Dallas Seavey who stopped for about 2 hours of rest near Don’s Cabin, and Sebastian Schnuelle who camped for around 5 hours, fifteen miles shy of Iditarod, than continued on to take the lead position over the trail to Shageluk (about 65 miles).

Here is the significance of what these last two are doing in relationship to Buser, Neff, Mackey, etc: Sab is set up nicely to make a clean run to Shageluk and shut his team down for his mandatory 8–I think this sets him up very nicely for having a very strong team going up the river tomorrow. The downside of this strategy is that he’s going to give away between 4-6 hours on the drivers coming from Iditarod continuing on to Anvik for their own 8’s–the former has to stop at Grayling, the latter (the one’s who haven’t cratered their teams that is) will blow Grayling and strike out for E. Island. See what I’m getting at? There is no way that Sab will “make” that up–he’s relying on these guys burning out before reaching Nome. If it turns out that he runs all the way to Anvik tonight, well, let’s just say that I really think that’s very unlikely.

On Dallas and his 2 hour break at Don’s: most everybody else ran straight from Tak to Iditarod–basically a form of dog mushing Russian Roulette. I have no way of guessing who, but I strongly suspect at least half of the ones who made the move pushed their dogs over the tipping point and will now pay bitterly for the rest of the long long run to Nome; this damage may not evince itself until tomorrow night or the next morning, but when it does it will be ugly–having a cracked team at Iditarod is not a fate I would wish on my worst enemy. However, I think Dallas has neatly avoided falling into this trap–having taken those 2 hours, I’m thinking he’ll probably only need 6 at Iditarod and still be right in line with the total amount of rest Martin took, and never have put his team at risk like everyone else did.

I think he’s going to be a very strong second half player–a very good bet.

There are simply too many fast moving teams too closely packed together to predict who’s got this thing “mathematically”–a LOT of awesome teams to be sure. I do, however, still really think Ramey is about ready to come unglued on this course–I’m torn between putting my money on he or Dallas at this point.

Lance maintains.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow…

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4 Responses to “Iditarod and Points Further North”

  1. You might want to a look at Martin’s travel time to Irod, his 10+ hour trail time indicates that he must have rested for 1 hour on the trail, this is confirmed by an interview with Hugh Neff stating that “martin flew by both times”, this tells me that Hugh went by him while he was resting and then Martin re-passed him. If you subract and hour off of Martin’s time to Irod you would have a more realistic trail time for his fast team.

    • I think you’re correct, Aaron, and I gave you credit for pointing this out on today’s blog–personally, I think on a run that long and with such a hard surface, that much speed was a liability, and has lead to him slowing down overnight and needing more rest then most of those around him, I’m pulling for him, but I don’t really get the feeling that its going to be very easy out from here–will be interesting to see how many dogs he has out of Anvik tonight, and how he moves up the river. If you get some kind of weather report from the Yukon, will you please share it with me?

  2. Marlene Phillips-Daniels Reply March 10, 2011 at 22:34

    According to my tracker, DeeDee, Sven, Jessie all stopped on the trail between Ophir and Iditarod, not sure of the time, but more than several hours, it seems.

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