Out on the Iditarod trail, the "mid-game" of the annual chess match seems to be in full swing as front runners jockey for position. This morning Mitch Seavey pulled into Ruby in first place at straight-up 6:00. Dallas Seavey arrived second at 7:07. According to the GPS tracker he is followed closely by his John Baker, Aaron Burmeister, Aliy Zirkle, Jeff King, Dee Dee Jonrowe, Sonny Lindner, Sigrid Ekran, and Ray Redington Jr. . We don't want to rely too much on the Tracker, as batteries can die, satellite signals can be lost and other technical glitches can occur. Once the leader board has been updated we'll have a better feel for true position in the race.
From Ruby the trail travels down the Yukon River. I'm not as familiar with river trails as I am with overland trails in the Interior so I'm not a good judge of what we might expect. Those trails do receive more traffic than the overland trails, so I imagine they are in better condition and the teams will truck along at a faster pace. At this point, even Mitch Seavey admits that his son, Dallas, has a stronger team. He said he was surprised Dallas didn't pass him on the trail, and when asked who has the better team he said, “He didn't used to, but I bet you a dollar he does now.”
Let's keep in mind, however, that everyone has to declare and take an 8 hour layover somewhere on the River and Mitch is a highly experienced player in this game. By downplaying the condition of his dogs and taking his mandatory layover early, he may be be thinking he can gain a competitive advantage and opportunity to pass other teams while they are taking their own layovers further down the river.
Here at the house it is an overcast morning, and the forecast is calling for some more snow. I'm going to feed and scoop this morning and then decide how the rest of the day can be spent most productively.