Monday, March 1, 2010

Changing of the Guards?

It's finally day 14 of 14, my last full day here at work.  I have to work in the morning, but expect my relieve to arrive around 10 am, at which point I can begin the serious business of enjoying some well earned rest and recreation.  This R&R will include my annual medic refresher training over the last weekend, so I need to cram in as much as I can before heading to Anchorage and the classroom.

The Alaska Dog Musher's Association posted the final results of the 2010 North Pole Championship limited class sprint racing last night.  Here are the top placing mushers and teams from that race.


1 Scott Campbell 11:04.6 11:01.7 22:06.3 1
2 Malinda Holmes 11:19.0 11:25.3 22:44.3 2
4 Jennifer Probert 11:26.2 11:43.7 23:09.9 3
3 Karen Schaad 11:27.0 11:45.6 23:12.6 4


1 Ami Gjestson 19:14.8 18:53.5 38:08.3 1
2 Jennifer Probert 19:31.2 19:33.1 39:04.3 2
4 Gracie Callis 20:14.3 20:28.0 40:42.3 3
3 Bonnie Borba 20:30.6 20:15.2 40:45.8 4
5 Dave Johnson 20:18.2 20:32.1 40:50.3 5

10-DOG 12.1 MILES

1 Jennifer Probert 36:25.0 35:14.0 1:11:39.0 1
3 Dori Hollingsworth 36:50.2 36:30.2 1:13:20.4 2
2 Amanda Byrd 38:54.9 36:18.3 1:15:13.2 3
5 Debbie McGrath 37:59.2 37:22.3 1:15:21.5 4
4 Ed Arobio 38:14.4 37:19.8 1:15:34.2 5

The final day of racing at the Rondy (Open World Championship Sled Dog Race) must have been incredibly exciting, based on the results.  Buddy Streeper held off Arleigh Reynolds to win the race, but Dr. Reynolds time was less than a minute behind, and his three-day accumulated time was only off by about a minute and 1/2.  Jason Dunlap's third place performance wasn't far off the mark.

Race rookie Jeff King did pretty good for himself, too.  On the third day of racing he rose in the rankings from 6th place to finish fourth.  A fourth place finish in one of the most competitive spring races in the world - running a borrowed team of dogs - ain't bad by anybody's reckoning.

Place Name Dogs Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total Time
1 Blayne Streeper 20/18/16 1:31:28 1:31:49 1:32:32 4:35:49
2 Arleigh Reynolds 16/14/10 1:31:30 1:32:20 1:33:28 4:37:18
3 Jason Dunlap 18/16 (1)/10 1:31:42 1:35:05 1:36:08 4:42:55
4 Jeff King (R) 18/16/14 1:36:09 1:35:15 1:33:34 4:44:58
5 Bill Kornmuller 18/16/14 1:33:34 1:36:19 1:36:04 4:45:57
6 Ken Chezik 16/13/12 (2) 1:34:45 1:35:32 1:35:48 4:46:05
7 Marvin Kokrine 20/18/16 1:36:30 1:35:19 1:37:42 4:49:31
8 Brent Beck 14/14 (1)/14 1:36:06 1:37:16 1:36:54 4:50:16
9 John Erhart 16/13/10 1:37:34 1:35:25 1:39:19 4:52:18
10 Will Kornmuller (R) 16/15 (1)/13 1:41:22 1:41:32 1:43:09 5:06:03

 Last night I was chatting with my friend Janece Rollet on the phone.  She's been too busy to follow the March Mayhem Sled Dog Racing scene closely, so I was trying to help her catch up with the news.  Of course that news includes Jeff King's 6th place standing as a rookie racer in the Rondy (World Chamionship Sled Dog Race) in Anchorage.

I mentioned to Janece that King doesn't seem to be very focused on the Iditarod this year.  His name has been in the news plenty, but not in the context of running the Last Great Race.  Much of the press has been in regard to his donating $50,000.00 to the Iditarod Trail Committee to help with the purse, his organization of the new Denali Doubles Sled Dog Race, and of course his plans to compete in the Rondy.  That strikes me as a lot of distractions for someone who intends to win a race that requires so much dedication and focus.

Janece just laughed and said that maybe the four-time Iditarod winner is just planning a surprise.  According to an article in today's Anchorage Daily News there is indeed a surprise.  "I think I'm done with the Iditarod after this year, at least as a participant," King, the four-time Iditarod champion, said Saturday. "Maybe I'll come to them looking for a job."  If you aren't sure he's serious about retiring from the race consider that he also said "I've sold about half of my dogs already to good friends. They are good racers and they went to good homes," King said. "If I don't get rid of them, I'd be so distracted." (SOURCE)

It's no secret that Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt promised his girlfriend, Susie Rogan, that he would quit racing the quest after this year although he has hinted that he may renege.  “My last Quest? That’s what I promised Susie, so,” he said, pausing, “it probably is.” Gatt recently told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News that he plans to retire from long-distance racing.  "There is a point where you realize that they are really hard on your body, and there’s other things to do in life,” Gatt said. (SOURCE)

Although not yet threatening retirement, Lance Mackey, who has dominated both of these major long-distance races in recent years, stated that this will probably be the last year that he tries running both during the same season.  “I’m getting realistic to the fact my body’s going to slow down ... it’s going to take away from the years on the back of the sled if I continue to do both races,” Mackey said Thursday night in downtown Anchorage, where he was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. (SOURCE)

As today's "old guard" starts retiring and slowing, it leads one to speculate about who will replace them at the front of the pack.  I would suggest that we will get some pretty strong clues in this year's Iditarod.  It's certainly going to be one worth watching.

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