Prior to the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race, I made my annual "predictions" post here on my blog. I thought it might be fun to compare those predictions to the musher's current standings in the race.
Lance Mackey - is currently well back in the middle of the pack and likely to stay there. He has a bitch in season on his team, and he reported that his dogs are too busy with her to have any degree of 'drive'. I think he's resolved himself to a mediocre finish, and when the musher is 'down' the team will almost always be down as well.
Hugh Neff is also not performing so well as I expected. Although he is out of Kaltag and on his way to Unalakleet, he is nonetheless way back in 24th place and it's unlikely that he'll even break into the top 15 teams by the time they reach Nome.
Local hero, the race's only 5-time Champion, Rick Swenson is running a
very good race, but is nonetheless back in 18th place. He still has 15
dogs on the line and can easily move up a few spots I believe. Martin Buser left Kaltag back in 19th place - again not a particularly spectacular performance in this highly competitive field.
Among the Seavey family, Dallas seems to be the one to watch this year. He's currently in 2nd place, less than an hour behind Aliy Zirkle and by all accounts his dogs are healthy, happy, eating well and just looking great. He's giving Aliy a serious run for the money. Dallas is followed pretty closely by Jeff King who I am sure is hungry to match Rick Swenson's five-time record.
Aaron Burmeister is proving to be the dark horse of this year's race. He's currently in third place, only an hour behind Aliy Zirkle. Reports of his team is similar to those of Dallas Seavey's - all in good shape and ready to run some more.
Among those I picked as favorites for Rookie of the Year, Brent Sass is well on his way toward earning that accolade sitting in 21st place and in good position to break into the top-20 between here and Nome. Braxton Peterson is running nicely in 26th place and could give Brent a run for the title.
Josh Cadzow appears to be in the middle of a great group of race veterans, in 31st place and Ryne Olson of Aliy and Allen's SP Kennel is minding her pints and quarters back in 38th.