Things start to get interesting as tactics start to unveil themselves

Mar - 07 2012 | no comments | By

The Top 15 mushers are in Takotna now. It remains to be seen who stays the 24 hours and who moves on. I can see Lance Mackey is still in McGrath and can imagine him going through to Ophir for his 24 hour rest or even further if the trail permits.

Current Standings as of 13:13 UTC

 

Pos

Musher

Bib

Checkpoint

In

 

Out

 

Rest In Chkpt

Time Enroute

       

Time

Dogs

Time

Dogs

   
1 Aliy Zirkle 14 Takotna 3/6/2012 23:30 16       2h 54m
2 John Baker 11 Takotna 3/7/2012 00:09 14       2h 57m
3 Mitch Seavey 35 Takotna 3/7/2012 00:09 16       2h 41m
4 Jeff King 10 Takotna 3/7/2012 00:14 15       2h 44m
5 Dallas Seavey 34 Takotna 3/7/2012 00:21 15       2h 24m
6 Ray Redington Jr 2 Takotna 3/7/2012 01:27 16       2h 48m
7 Paul Gebhardt 25 Takotna 3/7/2012 01:59 13       3h 7m
8 Hugh Neff 27 Takotna 3/7/2012 02:12 14       3h 24m
9 Aaron Burmeister 44 Takotna 3/7/2012 02:20 16       3h 2m
10 Sonny Lindner 59 Takotna 3/7/2012 02:39 15       2h 43m
11 Gerry Willomitzer 23 Takotna 3/7/2012 02:48 14       2h 43m
12 DeeDee Jonrowe 17 Takotna 3/7/2012 03:04 16       2h 57m
13 Michelle Phillips 26 Takotna 3/7/2012 03:11 16       2h 48m
14 Peter Kaiser 28 Takotna 3/7/2012 03:21 14       2h 40m
15 Jake Berkowitz 29 Takotna 3/7/2012 03:34 15       2h 41m
16 Rick Swenson 60 McGrath 3/7/2012 00:36   3/7/2012 00:46   0h 10m 7h 36m
17 Brent Sass 50 McGrath 3/7/2012 01:22 15 3/7/2012 01:25 15 0h 3m 7h 6m
18 Sigrid Ekran 24 McGrath 3/7/2012 01:23 14 3/7/2012 01:25 14 0h 2m 7h 29m
19 Cim Smyth 8 McGrath 3/7/2012 01:27 14 3/7/2012 01:30 13 0h 3m 7h 5m
20 Tom Thurston 5 McGrath 3/7/2012 01:32 15 3/7/2012 01:33 15 0h 1m 6h 52m
21 Ramey Smyth 21 McGrath 3/7/2012 01:44 14 3/7/2012 01:50 13 0h 6m 7h 36m
22 Jodi Bailey 6 McGrath 3/7/2012 02:09 15 3/7/2012 02:12 15 0h 3m 6h 43m
23 Ken Anderson 39 McGrath 3/7/2012 02:20 15 3/7/2012 02:24 13 0h 4m 7h 10m
24 Josh Cadzow 55 McGrath 3/7/2012 02:23 13 3/7/2012 02:28 12 0h 5m 7h 17m
25 Bruce Linton 36 McGrath 3/7/2012 02:59 14 3/7/2012 03:16 14 0h 17m 7h 6m
26 Lance Mackey 18 McGrath 3/6/2012 23:19 16       8h 29m
27 Kelley Griffin 20 McGrath 3/7/2012 00:36 12       7h 28m
 

Aily Zirkle first into Takotna

Mar - 07 2012 | no comments | By

The first 4 are in Takotna. Wonder who will take the 24 hour layover. Presumably the trail gets worse from here on with 2 feet of fresh snow and wind blowing like crazy.

 

More as things progress.

 

Mike

McGrath and onwards for the leaders

Mar - 07 2012 | no comments | By

The trail seems to get faster and faster as the top group blows through checkpoint after checkpoint. Check out the top 27 teams below

 

Pos

Musher

Bib

Checkpoint

In

 

Out

 

Rest In Chkpt

Time Enroute

       

Time

Dogs

Time

Dogs

   
1 Aliy Zirkle 14 McGrath 3/6/2012 20:32 16 3/6/2012 20:36 16 0h 4m 6h 43m
2 John Baker 11 McGrath 3/6/2012 21:07 15 3/6/2012 21:12 14 0h 5m 7h 18m
3 Mitch Seavey 35 McGrath 3/6/2012 21:23 16 3/6/2012 21:28 16 0h 5m 6h 32m
4 Jeff King 10 McGrath 3/6/2012 21:28 15 3/6/2012 21:30 15 0h 2m 6h 39m
5 Dallas Seavey 34 McGrath 3/6/2012 21:53 16 3/6/2012 21:57 15 0h 4m 6h 30m
6 Ray Redington Jr 2 McGrath 3/6/2012 22:38 16 3/6/2012 22:39 16 0h 1m 6h 58m
7 Hugh Neff 27 McGrath 3/6/2012 22:40 15 3/6/2012 22:48 14 0h 8m 7h 47m
8 Paul Gebhardt 25 McGrath 3/6/2012 22:51 13 3/6/2012 22:52 13 0h 1m 7h 28m
9 Aaron Burmeister 44 McGrath 3/6/2012 23:15 16 3/6/2012 23:18 16 0h 3m 7h 30m
10 Lance Mackey 18 Nikolai 3/6/2012 09:59 16 3/6/2012 14:50 16 4h 51m 10h 21m
11 Gerry Willomitzer 23 Nikolai 3/6/2012 11:55 14 3/6/2012 16:56 14 5h 1m 10h 2m
12 Rick Swenson 60 Nikolai 3/6/2012 11:40 16 3/6/2012 17:00 15 5h 20m 10h 0m
13 DeeDee Jonrowe 17 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:17 16 3/6/2012 17:02 16 4h 45m 9h 2m
14 Sonny Lindner 59 Nikolai 3/6/2012 11:56 15 3/6/2012 17:04 15 5h 8m 9h 36m
15 Kelley Griffin 20 Nikolai 3/6/2012 11:01 13 3/6/2012 17:08 12 6h 7m 14h 46m
16 Michelle Phillips 26 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:02 16 3/6/2012 17:19 16 5h 17m 13h 43m
17 Peter Kaiser 28 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:45 15 3/6/2012 17:46 14 5h 1m 9h 32m
18 Jake Berkowitz 29 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:47 15 3/6/2012 17:47 15 5h 0m 9h 42m
19 Sigrid Ekran 24 Nikolai 3/6/2012 14:19 14 3/6/2012 17:54 14 3h 35m 10h 35m
20 Michael Williams, Jr. 51 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:19 15 3/6/2012 18:03 15 5h 44m 9h 19m
21 Ramey Smyth 21 Nikolai 3/6/2012 13:25 16 3/6/2012 18:08 14 4h 43m 14h 55m
22 Brent Sass 50 Nikolai 3/6/2012 13:00 15 3/6/2012 18:16 15 5h 16m 14h 27m
23 Cim Smyth 8 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:35 14 3/6/2012 18:22 14 5h 47m 15h 35m
24 Tom Thurston 5 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:43 15 3/6/2012 18:40 15 5h 57m 7h 43m
25 Josh Cadzow 55 Nikolai 3/6/2012 14:01 13 3/6/2012 19:06 13 5h 5m 9h 45m
26 Ken Anderson 39 Nikolai 3/6/2012 14:48 15 3/6/2012 19:10 15 4h 22m 10h 57m
27 Jodi Bailey 6 Nikolai 3/6/2012 12:35 16 3/6/2012 19:26 15 6h 51m 13h 57m
 

Leader Zirkle rest in Nikolai, for Finger Lake the race is over

Mar - 06 2012 | no comments | By

Aliy Zirkle’s push to the front into Nikolai has given my pundits new found fodder, a virtual plethora of possibilities, for rumination. Personally, I love this part of the race, the posturing that is required to be placed for the possibility—not the certainty— of a play that could win the race.

A theme is developing. Aliy has forged to the front in many Iditarods and she is known to have swift, but more diminutive huskies. In the past, that luster has faded as the race progresses, so the true Iditarod student wonders if she can sustain her team’s momentum. OK, that’s a very interesting contingency as she and team sit resting in Nikolai, looking backwards to her pursuers.

Meanwhile, John Baker, the titular leader of the Iditarod, the 2011 champion, is in his normal position of pursuit. Characteristically, he is not interested in assuming the lead until after the 24 hour break. The reason is relatively simple. He is in that camp of mushers, which could include Hugh Neff and Lance Mackey that believe in a steady pace. In the mushing world, it’s a foregone conclusion that a well trained team for 300 miles will always beat an Iditarod team, even a championship team.

Therefore, appreciate that John doesn’t expect to be faster in the first third of the race since his team is trained more methodically. He rarely allows, or even expects his dog to alternately lope in training, although they are quite capable of it. So, its no surprise that we often see teams surging to the front with exhibitions of speed, but quietly fade into the pack. To be a real race fan, you have to appreciate the genius and training that is required to keep a team at a MODERATE speed and to discourage dramatic surges in the early going.

Now, Lance and Hugh are big problems for everybody. As Hugh put it so succinctly and graphically at the start of the race. “We will hunt down and find anyone to the front.” The two know how to do it. They may not win, but they wont let anyone get away without effort, which includes sleepless days and constant anxiety.

Tent comes down in Finger Lake

Population 21, including volunteers, vets, your writer, and comm people are now evacuating. A small community is closing, the “Tents are coming down.”

Aliy Zirkle leads the teams into Rohn

Mar - 06 2012 | no comments | By

Looking at the times into Rohn—Monday evening

Like so many fans, I just can’t help looking at the GPS little dots and the checkpoint times at my Insider account. Trying to wring some meaning from the thrusts and parries of front runners Hugh, Lance Mackey, Baker, and the presently unknown intentions of Aliy Zirkle (did you see how she blistered the trail into Rohn and then rocketed out of onto the gravel bars of the Kuskokwim?) remains an enjoyable mental exercise.

For starters, I can’t help identifying the race of Hugh and Lance, given their rigorous race strategy so far this season.

Resting in Rohn, it seems logical they will unloose their dogs for a statement run—about 70 miles —across the Nikolai burn to the village of Nikolai. Meanwhile, Aliy appears committed to an often used strategy to cut one rest to Takotna.

My guess is she will camp on the Burn, the scorched remnant of fire damage, about twenty miles from the Rohn checkpoint. This sets up an interesting dynamic as she can easily run to Nikolai in the early morning.

At this point there is no real way to predict the emergence of a winning team, but I can imagine that night. It could be one of the most exciting nights of the race, as mushers will guide their teams across the Kuskowkwim on an expanse of ice, frozen gravel barriers of drift wood while negotiating a stiff wind. Once across the river the trail portages a very challenging test through small spruce, across tundra, frozen ice and glaciers, an annoying accumulation of seep that has frozen over a winter into concrete hard mounds. Ideally, the leaders are trained to negotiate all this, while the team hammers the harness with nearly uncontrollable exuberance. Very exciting dog driving.

Thankfully, the trail mellows after several hours of intense concentration and the musher can focus on the remaining 5 or 6 hours of run time to Nikolai. The musher can expect wrecks, falls, flips, and delays, all accompanied by dogs lunging at the harness. If all goes well, the team will emerge healthy and fast, a contender in this year’s race.

Current Standings as of March 6th 14:45 UTC

Mar - 06 2012 | no comments | By

OK here is the low down from the last few hours, Aliy Zirkle has mushed into the lead by going through Rohn, Jeff King moved into 3rd place and Lance Mackey dropped back to 10th place. All in all there was a bit of a shuffle in the front of the pack and the other mushers are not too far behind at the moment. From my point of view the race is open and I think whoever gets the first mandatory rest in and comes out of it strong will be first to the Yukon to pick up some gold.

Below are the current standings of all teams in the race and currently no musher has scratched which is also a good sign for the trail and the condition of the teams and mushers.

 

Pos Musher Bib Checkpoint Time In Dogs Time Out Dogs Rest In Chkpt Time Enroute
1 Aliy Zirkle 14 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:17 16 3/5/2012 19:26 16 0h 9m 3h 49m
2 Kelley Griffin 20 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:54 14 3/5/2012 20:15 13 0h 21m 4h 17m
3 Jeff King 10 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:01 15 3/5/2012 20:25 15 0h 24m 3h 56m
4 Mitch Seavey 35 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:34 16 3/5/2012 20:45 16 0h 11m 4h 1m
5 Cim Smyth 8 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:41 14 3/5/2012 21:00 14 0h 19m 4h 9m
6 Michelle Phillips 26 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:06 16 3/5/2012 22:19 16 0h 13m 4h 12m
7 Dallas Seavey 34 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:20 16 3/5/2012 22:30 16 0h 10m 4h 0m
8 Brent Sass 50 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:18 15 3/5/2012 22:33 15 0h 15m 4h 7m
9 Hugh Neff 27 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:06 16 3/5/2012 23:20 15 4h 14m 4h 8m
10 Lance Mackey 18 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:13 16 3/5/2012 23:38 16 4h 25m 3h 58m
11 John Baker 11 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:40 15 3/5/2012 23:41 15 4h 1m 4h 6m
12 Ray Redington Jr 2 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:12 16 3/6/2012 00:31 16 5h 19m 4h 3m
13 Aaron Burmeister 44 Rohn 3/5/2012 19:32 16 3/6/2012 00:34 16 5h 2m 4h 20m
14 Paul Gebhardt 25 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:06 14 3/6/2012 00:38 14 4h 32m 4h 9m
15 Kelly Maixner 12 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:27 16 3/6/2012 00:52 14 0h 25m 4h 31m
16 Rick Swenson 60 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:26 16 3/6/2012 01:40 16 5h 14m 4h 35m
17 Gerry Willomitzer 23 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:41 15 3/6/2012 01:53 15 5h 12m 2h 51m
18 Sonny Lindner 59 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:44 15 3/6/2012 02:20 15 5h 36m 4h 12m
19 Nicolas Petit 9 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:25 15 3/6/2012 02:22 14 5h 57m 4h 32m
20 Michael Williams, Jr. 51 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:51 15 3/6/2012 03:00 15 6h 9m 4h 9m
21 Jim Lanier 3 Rohn 3/5/2012 21:16 16 3/6/2012 03:00 16 5h 44m 4h 49m
22 Braxton Peterson 63 Rohn 3/6/2012 01:22 16 3/6/2012 03:05 15 1h 43m 4h 57m
23 DeeDee Jonrowe 17 Rohn 3/5/2012 21:10 16 3/6/2012 03:15 16 6h 5m 4h 18m
24 Sigrid Ekran 24 Rohn 3/5/2012 21:49 14 3/6/2012 03:44 14 5h 55m 4h 22m
25 Anjanette Steer 32 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:48 16 3/6/2012 03:45 16 6h 57m 4h 14m
26 Bruce Linton 36 Rohn 3/5/2012 21:56 15 3/6/2012 03:50 14 5h 54m 4h 24m
27 Ken Anderson 39 Rohn 3/5/2012 23:44 16 3/6/2012 03:51 15 4h 7m 4h 23m
28 Ryne Olson 46 Rohn 3/6/2012 03:54 14 3/6/2012 04:09 14 0h 15m 4h 33m
29 Josh Cadzow 55 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:16 14 3/6/2012 04:16 13 6h 0m 4h 29m
30 Ryan Redington 67 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:49 16 3/6/2012 04:31 14 5h 42m 4h 23m
31 Justin Savidis 38 Rohn 3/5/2012 23:22 16 3/6/2012 04:32 16 5h 10m 4h 16m
32 Wade Marrs 7 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:41 16 3/6/2012 04:35 16 5h 54m 4h 26m
33 Peter Kaiser 28 Rohn 3/5/2012 20:51 16       4h 9m
34 Jake Berkowitz 29 Rohn 3/5/2012 21:16 16       4h 20m
35 Jodi Bailey 6 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:02 16       4h 19m
36 Ramey Smyth 21 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:15 16       4h 24m
37 Tom Thurston 5 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:35 16       4h 11m
38 Colleen Robertia 42 Rohn 3/5/2012 22:41 16       4h 45m
39 Martin Buser 41 Rohn 3/5/2012 23:22 15       4h 1m
40 Scott Janssen 37 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:07 16       5h 16m
41 Karin Hendrickson 43 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:12 15       4h 46m
42 William Pinkham 4 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:21 16       5h 8m
43 Rohn Buser 62 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:30 16       4h 26m
44 Gerald Sousa 58 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:34 15       4h 21m
45 Curt Perano 61 Rohn 3/6/2012 00:58 16       4h 47m
46 Trent Herbst 16 Rohn 3/6/2012 02:05 16       4h 49m
47 Zoya DeNure 53 Rohn 3/6/2012 02:06 15       4h 50m
48 Lachlan Clarke 66 Rohn 3/6/2012 02:06 15       4h 33m
49 Mike Santos 22 Rohn 3/6/2012 03:25 16       4h 11m
50 Ed Stielstra 45 Rohn 3/6/2012 03:28 15       4h 26m
51 Kristy Berington 31 Rohn 3/6/2012 04:02 16       4h 44m
52 Anna Berington 33 Rohn 3/6/2012 04:03 15       4h 45m
53 Pat Moon 15 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 20:07 12 3/6/2012 01:36 12 5h 29m 4h 8m
54 Travis Cooper 19 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 19:22 16 3/6/2012 03:01 16 7h 39m 3h 51m
55 Matt Giblin 52 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 21:23 16 3/6/2012 03:08 16 5h 45m 3h 40m
56 Karen Ramstead 56 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 21:04 16 3/6/2012 03:41 16 6h 37m 4h 46m
57 Michael Suprenant 13 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 19:31 14 3/6/2012 03:55 13 8h 24m 4h 13m
58 Hank Debruin 48 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 20:27 16 3/6/2012 04:18 16 7h 51m 4h 9m
59 Jaimee Kinzer 30 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 21:04 15       4h 2m
60 Art Church, Jr 64 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 21:31 16       3h 45m
61 Kirk Barnum 47 Rainy Pass 3/5/2012 23:00 15       4h 1m
62 Silvia Furtwängler 54 Rainy Pass 3/6/2012 04:00 14       5h 12m
63 Bob Chlupach 49 Finger Lake 3/5/2012 17:31 15 3/6/2012 00:54 15 7h 23m 7h 34m
64 Jan Steves 40 Finger Lake 3/5/2012 17:32 14 3/6/2012 00:56 14 7h 24m 7h 59m
65 Matt Failor 57 Finger Lake 3/5/2012 18:08 16 3/6/2012 03:01 16 8h 53m 6h 16m
66 Dan Seavey 65 Finger Lake 3/5/2012 19:04 14       7h 17m

The leading 10 mushers are moving out of Rainy Pass

Mar - 06 2012 | no comments | By

Around 3 PM Alaskan Standard Time the leading group has moved out of Rainy Pass and is on the way to the next Checkpoint in Rhon. Many of the mushers took a break for a few hours to rest the dogs and re-stock the sleds.

I am going to bed now Laughing and will post another update when I get up in a few hours. Below are the top 10 mushers. Hugh Neff and Ray Redington Jr. are the only ones in the top group staying behind in Rainy Pass for now. Aaron Burmeister blew through Rainy Pass just stopping long enough to restock his sled and sign ghe check in sheet.

Pos
Musher
Bib
Checkpoint
In
Out
Rest In
Chkpt
Time
Enroute
Time
Dogs
Time
Dogs
1 Hugh Neff 27 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:05:00 16 3/5 14:58:00 16 5h 53m  
2 Ray Redington Jr 2 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:02:00 16 3/5 15:09:00 16 6h 7m  
3 Aaron Burmeister 44 Rainy Pass 3/5 15:05:00 16 3/5 15:12:00 16 0h 7m 3h 41m
4 Lance Mackey 18 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:36:00 16 3/5 15:15:00 16 5h 39m 3h 21m
5 Aliy Zirkle 14 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:40:00 16 3/5 15:28:00 16 5h 48m 3h 20m
6 John Baker 11 Rainy Pass 3/5 12:24:00 15 3/5 15:34:00 15 3h 10m 3h 25m
7 Kelley Griffin 20 Rainy Pass 3/5 15:32:00 14 3/5 15:37:00 14 0h 5m 8h 7m
8 Rick Swenson 60 Rainy Pass 3/5 15:45:00 16 3/5 15:51:00 16 0h 6m 3h 37m
9 Nicolas Petit 9 Rainy Pass 3/5 12:15:00 16 3/5 15:53:00 15 3h 38m 3h 28m
10 Paul Gebhardt 25 Rainy Pass 3/5 10:37:00 15 3/5 15:57:00 14 5h 20m 3h 21m

 

Trail Conditions are a lot better and faster than expected

Mar - 05 2012 | no comments | By

Contrary to the initial forecast that led to the closedown of the Happy River Steps before the Race start, conditions on the trail have improved. As temperature dropped and the wind picked up the snow on the trail packed up nicely and teams are moving at a nice speed of an average of 13 km/h for the top 10 teams.

As a result of the improved conditions the ITC decided to re route the trail before the first musher got there and use the Happy River Steps, one of the trickier passages of the route to the Alaskan inner area.

Good luck and happy mushing to all

The first 4 are into Rainy Pass

Mar - 05 2012 | no comments | By

The first 4 mushers have reached the Rainy Pass Checkpoint. Paul Gebhardt has dropped one dog in Finger Lake all others arrived with 16 dogs. Looking at the GPS Tracker. There are more already in Rainy Pass but the standings do not reflect that yet. I will refresh here as soon as the standings update.

Pos
Musher
Bib
Checkpoint
In
Out
Rest In Chkpt
Time Enroute
Time
Dogs
Time
Dogs
1 Ray Redington Jr 2 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:02:00 16        
2 Hugh Neff 27 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:05:00 16        
3 Aliy Zirkle 14 Rainy Pass 3/5 09:40:00 16       3h 20m
4 Paul Gebhardt 25 Rainy Pass 3/5 10:37:00

15

 

Hugh Neff, Ray Redington Jr. and Lance Mackey are out of Finger Lake

Mar - 05 2012 | no comments | By

They are now on their way to Rainy Pass through the Happy River Steps.

 

More detailed update tonight when I get to the Hotel.

 

Mike

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