Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bunched Up

With Martin Buser and his kennel mate Matt Failor serving their mandatory 24 hour layovers in Rohn, other front-runners in this years Iditarod are running closed together, swapping positions back and forth.  Paul Gebhart left the Rohn checkpoint just minutes before Aliy Zirkle, at 7:26 and 7:30 yesterday evening, respectively.  Jeff King left at 8:05, Michelle Phillips at 8:36, Mitch Seavey at 8:59, Ray Redington at 9:12, Ken Anderson at 9:15, and so forth. 

Currently the GPS tracker shows that Aaron Burmeister, who left Rohn at 10:43 is leading, but apparently camped on the trail about halfway between Rohn and Nickolai.  He is being approached by no less than 6 racers all in a group, while another dozen seem to be resting at the same spot.  I'm betting it's a campsite that offers easy access to water, is sheltered from the wind, and offers perhaps some other natural advantages.

In any event, these teams are so bunched up that it is impossible to say with certainty who holds which position in the race.  Probably our best indicator this morning will come from the leader board once some of these teams check in to the checkpoint at Nikolai.  From there we can see who decides to push on for McGrath, who decides to wait out the heat of the day at Nikolai, and who may decide to camp out on the trail just to keep everyone else guessing.

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