Friday, March 8, 2013

Reaching the River

3:30 am, and of course my first act of the new day is to check on happenings out in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.  The leading teams today will be traveling up the Yukon River.  With weather conditions continuing to be thawing temperatures and very windy I'd be surprised to see smoking fast trail times on the river this year.

Here's a photo, from Mushing TV, that shows one of the weather related challenges the teams have had to overcome.
Jim Lanier's team en route to Iditarod checkpoint

Martin Buser continues to lead the race, having pulled into the checkpoint of Anvik at 2:17 this morning.  That wasn't all that long ago.  According to the GPS tracking feature Mitch Seavey and Jake Berkowitz have arrived at Shagaluk. Nicolas Petit and Aliy Zirkle seem to be running closely together about 5 miles out from the checkpoint.  Aliy may catch the former before they reach the checkpoint, as her speed is a full mile per hour faster than that of Nicolas.

Other mushers are running closely behind in a tightly packed group, including Peter Kaiser, Aaron Burmeister, Ulsum Leifseth, Paul Gebhardt, Ray Redington Jr., Jessie Royer, Dallas Seavey, and Sonny Lindner, DeeDee Jonrowe and Lance Mackey. 

The 25 mile run from Shagaluk and Anvik is described as "straight forward", mostly through open country. 

I believe the river will tell us a lot about the leading teams.  As I noted earlier, the weather isn't particularly favorable and, from a dog's perspective, the river is a boring highway to run.  I guess sort of like driving I-70 across eastern Colorado and Kansas.  Not a lot to see, and just mile after mile of more miles and miles.  With the wind blowing in their faces, slogging along a potentially punchy trail, I can't see it being a whole lot of fun.  The teams will traveling around 140 miles or so of those conditions.  The run to Grayling is relatively short, only 18 miles or so.  From there it's 62 miles to the tent-camp checkpoint of Eagle River, and another 60 to the village of Kaltag.

Chatanika Challenge (Two Rivers 200) Starts Today:

Closer to home, or it would be if I were home rather than at work, the Chatanika Challenge (aka Two Rivers 200) starts at noon today.  This year we can follow the race with a live tracking feature, new to our local club.  You can get more information along with access to features to follow the race at

Mushers signed up for the 200 mile race include:
  1. Alyssa Komac
  2. Amanda Gecas
  3. Greg Stoddard
  4. Nicole Faille
  5. Christian Turner
  6. Matt Hall
  7. Rick Swenson
  8. Tony Angelo
  9. Wayne Curtis
  10. Jjay Levy
  11. Leila Javadi
  12. Shaynee Seipke
  13. Jesse Brattrud
  14. Lev Shvartz
  15. Mandy Nauman
  16. Kevin Currier

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