Good morning. Some one from back east somewhere decided to call about a very small item I carry in my living history trade store. Unfortunately, he chose to call me at 6 am AST. I've asked him to call back later so I can at least get some coffee on board before trying to conduct business.
Out on the trail the mushers are conducting their business in good order. I'll bet some of them would also like a good cup of coffee or two. As of this writing the top 20 teams have all arrived at Takotna, and three teams have already left, pushing on. According to the current standings Hans Gatt and Cym Smith are both in Ophir right now though Smith's GPS tracker still shows him in Takotna. I'm guessing the standings are correct and that Cym saw an opportunity to make a move into the Top 10, at least for a while. John Baker left Takotna about an hour ago, putting him in third place. The GPS trackers show that Dallas Seavey may also be on the trail out of Takotna.
Hans appears to do be doing a long run in between rest breaks, which would suggest he may be planning on taking his mandatory 24 hour layover soon. It's too early to tell if any of those in Takotna are settled in for a long rest or not. It wouldn't be surprising to see some of these racers make a dash for the cash at the half-way point of Cripple, where the first musher in will earn $3,000.00 worth of gold nuggets.
Race followers will find the next couple of days a bit confusing. When taking their 24 hour layovers mushers must also make up the starting time differential. With so many mushers in the race that time differential can be substantial. The last musher out off the starting line left two and a half hours after the first and as close as this race has been thus far, even 30 or 40 minutes makes a huge difference.
Unlike the Yukon Quest, in the I'rod each musher chooses when and where to take their day. As front runners settle in for the long rest they will inevitably be passed by slower teams that still owe time. It makes it challenging to determine who is really ahead of the game versus behind the eight ball. Once they have finished their long layovers we'll have a much more accurate perspective of who is really in which position.
I'll be close to the house most of the day today. I need to do some pre-class study and pack for my trip to Anchorage for annual medical training. I asked that early morning caller to try again in an hour, but he hasn't yet done so. Maybe I missed a sale but asking me to do business at 6 am before my eyes are fully open is asking just a wee bit more than I'm willing to do.