The Iditarod got off to it's official racing start yesterday afternoon, so the racers are still running in one big bunch, and will probably continue to do so for a couple of days. I've subscribed to the Iditarod "Insider" GPS tracking service, which seems more reliable than that used by the Yukon Quest.
According to the I'rod's current standings, Linwood Fiedler maintained his first place starting position at Finger Lake, and Warren Palfrey was in second place at that location. My friend and mentor Aliy Zirkle was the third musher to leave the checkpoint at Skwentna, along with Ray Redington Jr and a whole bunch of other mushers. This morning the GPS tracker shows Aliy back in the pack but Fiedler continues to play the rabbit of the race.
At this early stage it's difficult to write much, just because it IS so early. At the moment the mushers are focused on watching their dogs, gauging strengths and weaknesses, and watching their competition and trying to judge THEIR strengths and weaknesses. No one is making any major moves nor is anyone likely to do so until they get over the Alaska Range and into the Interior.
Basically, they all know that it really doesn't matter who leads and who follows today, or tomorrow or even on Wednesday. What really matters is who leads into Nome, and that is still a very, very long way ahead.
My House Guest
As I wrote yesterday, I have a house guest. Tri-pawed sled dog Abner is hanging out with Stardancer buddies for a few days. The weather has turned cooler and poor Ab still doesn't have much fur on his belly and a large portion of his back. It was shaved for his surgery. With so little fur he needs to be inside a nice, warm human-house when it's cold, so I brought him and Amazing Grace in last night.
I was a bit concerned that the pair of high-energy playmates might have trouble settling down inside, and that Grace might be jealous of Abner while inside. As you can see in the photo below, when I told Abner to "make yourself at home", he took me literally and Grace didn't seem to worry about it at all.
Grace (in back) Shares Her Favorite Perch with Buddy, Abner.
Both dogs shared my bed last night with no issues at all.