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> Iditarod, Race to start March 4 at 2:00pm
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stevenpd 
Posted: 06-Mar-2007, 12:10 PM
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Swanny,

Glad to see you're still with us! I figured you were heavily involved with Aily's and Allen's teams.

Must of been a beautiful sight to see driving home.

Agreed, Godspeed.


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stevenpd 
Posted: 06-Mar-2007, 12:28 PM
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Another one bites the dust! Actually two more, one from a medical condition and the other from another spill.

QUOTE
Jonrowe Scratches in Rainy Pass

by Chas St.George

IDITAROD XXXV MUSHER Dee Dee Jonrowe, (Bib #27) made the decision to scratch at 6 pm last night, (March 05, 2007) at Rainy Pass Checkpoint on Puntilla Lake in the Alaska Range.  The Willow musher, who was running her 25th Iditarod, scratched due to injuries she incurred after taking a fall just a few miles before she reached the Rainy Pass Checkpoint. According to officials at the checkpoint Jonrowe broke her little finger and may have incurred more damage to her hand.  After careful consideration, she decided that it was best to scratch.
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stevenpd 
Posted: 07-Mar-2007, 11:31 AM
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This stretch of trail must be horrendous! More mushers have scratched from injuries.
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stevenpd 
Posted: 07-Mar-2007, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE
10 update Takotna

by joe runyan

10 Update Takotna

3/7/2007 12:27:32 AM

Joe Runyan

Takotna Welcomes Mackey and Steer

Lance Mackey continues to travel the Iditarod Trail with a full complement of 16 dogs and arrives first into Takotna at 22:52, Tuesday night. Our helicopter crew followed Lance out of Nikolai earlier this afternoon and watched his magical ride. He has the team into a smooth efficient trot. We interviewed him in Takotna after he fed his dogs a five gallon ration of kibble and meat, and he admitted this was the first time he had arrived in Takotna with a large team, not to mention sixteen dogs. Sirens sounded and the community hall emptied to watch Mackey arrive first to this interior mining town. After a six hour rest, he planned to continue with the same sixteen, a fortunate development. He will need the power when ascends a steep road out of Takotna and travels rolling hills to the next checkpoint of Ophir.

Buser is running a different strategy than leader Mackey and has his team bedded down in McGrath. Inside fans are unanimous in identifying Mackey and Buser has race leaders, even though we find them leapfrogging checkpoints. Sometime around 5AM their two strategies should merge into a race to the 24 hour mandatory checkpoint when Buser will probably blow through Takotna.  This will be pivotal.  Will Mackey be able to continue to challenge Buser's team speed. Though neither Mackey or Buser will identify a final destination for the 24 hour, it appears they are headed to the front of the race----maybe Iditarod.

Meanwhile, the front of the pack has a legitimate new visitor. Emerging from a pack of pursuers, Zack Steer arrives second in Takotna about midnight (time not posted when we watched him arrive.) A mathematically inclined fan pointed out that he and team roasted the trail from Nikolai to McGrath--maybe tonight's fastest. In a race that has included many unexpected twists----Jeff King and John Baker lose the trail to Rohn and sacrifice two hours, Dee Jonrowe and Doug Swingley scratch due to accidents on the trail-----Steer has quietly emerged as a real deal competitor with his team of 15 dogs.

Zack Steer has positioned himself in the top three----to include Mackey and Buser. Team speed is very difficult to guage, often changing from run to run, but it seems that Steer and Mackey teams have the steam to travel with the Buser speedsters.
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Swanny 
Posted: 07-Mar-2007, 06:16 PM
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Here is the latest report from the SP Kennels' teams:

QUOTE
So much has happened since the last update.  I spoke to Aliy when she arrived in Nikolai.  At that point, she sounded exhausted and a bit down.  She was very worried about the dogs.  The tough trail had taken its toll on her and the dogs.  She was just hoping she could get the whole team to Takotna where she was planning to take her 24 hour rest.  Her view of the trail is that it was the worst trail she had ever seen.  Before Rohn, she took a wrong turn and ended up losing 1 hour and ½ going down the Iron Dog Snow Machine Race Trail.  Many of the mushers took that wrong turn because it was a better marked trail.  Looking at the times going into Rohn, if the musher made it there in around 4 hours, he didn’t get lost.  When it took him 5:30 or 6 hours, the musher took the wrong turn.  Her trip to Nikolai sent her over long stretches of trail with absolutely no snow.  Rocks, stumps and trees were all out to play havoc as she passed.  She did say she was very lucky with her sled so far and that she was not hurt.  At about 7 hours of rest at Nikolai, Aliy and the team left Nikolai heading towards McGrath with 14 dogs.  (I now have Skittles and Venus here with me.)

I talked to her again after her run from Nikolai, thru McGrath and into Takotna.  She sounded much better.  Her run was a good run.  She thought it was the best time she has ever had to McGrath.  She is planning to do her 24 hour now in Takotna.  She will be sitting there until about 4am Thursday morning.  So don’t be surprised when she starts falling back in the standings.

Our puppy team was lost off the Iditarod radar for almost 16 hours yesterday.  The updates showed Allen in Rainy Pass for hours after he should have left.  Finally, 12 hours after I thought he should have left, I went over to race headquarter to try and find something out.  They were not very helpful.  They couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t know.  Finally, I decided to head out to the drop dog lot and see if I could find any of the pilots who had been in Rainy Pass.  I found a vet first and she told me that the weather was horrible out there.  It had been close to a white out and a lot of mushers were waiting it out.  I felt like I was at least making headway.  I decided to go see if Aliy’s dropped dog, Venus, was in yet and as I walked up to the line, a handsome, dog (I may be a bit biased) started wagging his tail and jumping up and down.  It was Peterbuilt, one of the two year olds on Allen’s team.  I didn’t even know he had dropped one!  That however told me that Allen had indeed left Rainy Pass, because he wouldn’t have passed Pete to the vets until he was about to leave the checkpoint.  Anyway, they never had him out of Rainy Pass, but they finally had him into Rohn.  Yeah!!!  He is now on his way to Nikolai.  Hopefully, he will give a call from there.

I should talk to Aliy at least one more time before she leaves her 24.  The reports are that the trail is much better from this point on.  Let’s all hope.

That’s all for now.

Kaz

From SP Kennel’s Anchorage Base at Jeanne and Larry’s and Reilly’s.  Don’t forget to check out the SP Kennel Dog Log at http://spkenneldoglog.blogspot.com.




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stevenpd 
Posted: 07-Mar-2007, 06:28 PM
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Thanks, Swanny! I knew that trail is a nightmare. Too many mushers getting hurt and equipment failures. They all seem to be calling in quits at the Rainy Pass checkpoint. Good to hear about Aily. I was noticing that she was falling in the standings. My gut feeling was the trail must have taken a big toal or her and her team.

Here's to better trails without getting lost! beer_mug.gif
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gettin-away 
Posted: 07-Mar-2007, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE
Stormy fortunes
With markers missing, Iditarod racers navigate in packs

By KEVIN KLOTT
Anchorage Daily News

Published: March 7, 2007


PUNTILLA LAKE -- As the wind chill dipped to minus 37 and a ground storm pounded dogs resting on straw beds here, rookie musher Andy Angstman emerged from the direction of Rainy Pass in a cloud of blowing snow.


His eyelashes were frosted. The coats of his Alaskan Huskies were layered with snow. He blinked rapidly to keep his eyelids from freezing shut.

As he stomped on his sled brake, a checker yelled out, asking who he was and what he was doing coming into the checkpoint from the wrong direction.

"Turned around," the 25-year-old said. "I couldn't see anything. I can't drive when I can't see."

Angstman had just escaped a ground blizzard in the cold heart of Rainy Pass more than 20 miles to the north. Fearful of getting lost or being forced to hunker down without protection against the wind, Angstman turned around and backtracked 22 miles to find shelter.

"We got into it," he said. "Once you reach the plateau (leading to the pass), you can't see anything."

Over the Alaska Range to the north, Yukon Quest winner Lance Mackey was the first to reach Takotna. He had trailed four-time champion Martin Buser into McGrath.

Those teams were racing. The mushers who hadn't already scratched here were just trying to make progress.

Angstman grew up driving dogs in windy Bethel, and it has always been his dream to run the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. He's experienced ground blizzards before, but nothing like this.

Only three days into the race, his Iditarod dream was turning into a hellish nightmare shared by many teams. Of 82 race starters, 10 are already out -- including such notables as DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow and four-time champ Doug Swingley from Lincoln, Mont. They have suffered from an assortment of broken bones, bruised bodies and dogs that just said no way.

On Tuesday, five teams -- Angstman, Richard Hum of Talkeetna, Scott White of Washington, Randy Cummins of Big Lake and Cindy Gallea of Montana -- left the checkpoint and then returned after deciding the pass was impassable.

One team was reported missing and two dogs were running loose in the pass, officials at the checkpoint said in the afternoon. However, Bill Pinkham, the musher who was believed to be lost, pulled into Nikolai at 10:07 p.m.

Hum, a 35-year-old rookie, was thankful just to get his team back safely.

"We're gonna see if we have enough food to take our 24-hour here," said Hum, who followed Angstman into Puntilla Lake. "What the hell, maybe we'll take two. I don't think we're going to win."

Teams headed into Rainy Pass traveled in packs for safety. Rookies followed veterans who knew the blown-over trail, its markers having vanished in the wind.

Before the sun rose Tuesday, White played caboose in a pack of five led by Akiak's Mike Williams and Canadian Karen Ramstead, the most experienced mushers in the bunch.

"We hear there's 80 mph winds and the trail's all blown away," White said before leaving.

Rumors about just how bad it was spread quickly Tuesday morning after Colorado's Mike Curiak -- a mountain biker headed to Nome -- retreated in the face of a blizzard that had confined him to a tent for two days and created huge snow drifts. Curiak is the record-holder (17 days, 2 hours) for the Iditarod Trail Invitational to Nome.

The 37-year-old planned to reach Rohn by following the Iditarod Trail through Rainy Pass into the Dalzell Gorge, but he took a wrong turn at a point where snowmachine tracks lead in separate directions. Instead of following the tracks toward Rainy, he followed the old trail of the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmachine race toward Ptarmigan Pass.

Curiak said there were no trail markers to follow. They'd blown away.

Just after sunset on Monday, Curiak said he was shocked to see a headlamp in the distance. A musher dressed in a navy blue parka came up the Ptarmigan Pass trail toward him.

"You're going the wrong way," Curiak shouted as the musher passed.

The musher stopped, set his snow hook and screamed, "What did you say?"

"This is the way to Rohn if you want to go through Ptarmigan," Curiak said. "You're going the wrong way."

The musher turned his team around, and Curiak proved their location by showing the man the coordinates on a GPS receiver. They were eight miles off course.

When Curiak later reached the junction to Rainy Pass, he reported seeing teams fanned out, breaking trail up to the pass.

Iditarod race marshal Mark Nordman asked race judge Art Church to halt teams here temporarily until a crew of trailbreakers could re-mark the route.

"It's nasty," Church told Steve Perrins, owner of the Rainy Pass Lodge.

Perrins recruited three of his five sons -- Steve Jr., Colton and Clay -- to gather all the old trail markers they could find around the property and take snowmachines to the pass. He told his boys to ride close and outfitted each machine with equipment for a subzero bivouac if necessary.

"Get as many stakes as you can," Perrins said. "And nobody is sleeping out."

Meanwhile, teams that weren't leaving the checkpoint to get pounded by the weather were being joined by teams that had been pounded by the terrain on the climb into the mountains from Finger Lake.

Colorado's Lachlan Clarke, a 50-year-old running in his third Iditarod, suffered a badly sprained ankle. His sled tipped on its side and slid on glare ice. Clarke rolled his right foot and likely tore ligaments, he said.

Willow's DeeDee Jonrowe, running in her 25th Iditarod, broke the pinkie bone on her right hand in the same area late Monday night when her sled bashed into a tree.

"It doesn't hurt that bad when it's cold," she said. "But I could tell bones were moving where there is no joint."

Jonrowe had been forced to scratch in only one other Iditarod.

"I could try to be a cowboy and go on, but I can't take care of the dogs," she said.

Bryan Mills of Merengo, Wisc., did, however, decide to play cowboy after he broke the tibia -- the small bone -- in his left leg.

"If I lived in Alaska, then I would scratch," Mills said. "(But) I didn't come all the way from Wisconsin to scratch.''

"There was a root sticking up and it banged the outside of my leg," Mills said. "I heard a snap and thought the sled was broken. Then everything went numb in my leg. It was the scariest moment of my life."

Stan Watkins III, a heart doctor in Anchorage who was here to watch the race, advised the 42-year-old to scratch, but Mills refused.

"This is what the Iditarod's all about," he said.



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Swanny 
Posted: 08-Mar-2007, 08:16 PM
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As mushers complete their mandatory 24 hour layover this race starts getting good. The apparent front runners are nestled in the ghost town of Iditarod doing their layover. Meanwhile the first group to come off of their layover back on Takotna or Ophir are on the move. Anyone in the group composed of Zack Steer, Jeff King, Martin Buser, Jason Barron, Aliy Zirkle, Ken Anderson, Aaron Burmeister and Ramy Brooks can take the lead away from Mackey IF they can get through the checkpoint of Ophir before midnight tonight.

Everyone on that list except for Steer and King averaged well over 10 miles per hour on the run between Takotna and Ophir so within a few hours this could turn into an entirely different race. Only time and mileage will tell.

I'm expecting the front runners to leapfrog each other for the next day or maybe even two as they get settled back into their individual run/rest schedules and readjust to changing trail conditions. As weather conditions have improved considerably I wouldn't be surprised to see Robert Sorlie bring his thin-coated Eurohounds up much closer to the front of the pack. He's currently listed in 21st place, but 7 of the teams ahead of him are still taking their mandatory layovers, so he's probably closer to 14th. It certainly puts him within striking distance.

Swanny
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Swanny 
Posted: 10-Mar-2007, 09:06 PM
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Conditions in the Iditarod continue to be brutal, as the picture below, showing Jeff King mushing his way into Iditarod, clearly shows:

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The leaders are indeed leapfrogging each other, with Jeff King and Martin Buser sharing the lead, followed not too far behind by Lance Mackey and Paul Gebhart. All the mushers in these front running teams still have plenty of dogs. Now that they are running on the river ice I expect the pace to quicken considerably.

Headwinds have become a factor on the river, though. It has been reported that it took Robert Sorlie over 5 minutes to convince his Eurohounds to run into the wind, as they were trying to reverse direction to run downwind rather than downriver.

Aliy Zirkle has had to drop several dogs due to shoulder injuries, and is a result she is down to 16th place with only 9 dogs on the tug line. While 9 dogs can certainly be competitive any additional losses will mean a significant loss of power, and therefore of speed. At this juncture she needs to find a pace at which the dogs can run comfortably and safely, even if it is slower than she would prefer. If she continues to drop one dog per checkpoint she will run out of dogs before she runs out of checkpoints.

Allen Moore is still doing better than expected with the puppy team. He currently is in Shagaluk with 15 dogs on the gang line, in 36th place.

Swanny
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gettin-away 
Posted: 13-Mar-2007, 06:23 PM
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The finish line from the Nome webcam.
Looks like Lance Mackey will be the first across some time tonight.

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stevenpd 
Posted: 13-Mar-2007, 07:47 PM
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He seems to be burning up the trail again! I knew he was hanging back for a reason earlier. He was just letting everyone else cut the trail for him.

QUOTE
update 20 Mackey out of White Mountain

by joe runyan

Update 20

Mackey out of White Mountain

3/13/2007 10:05:51 AM


Lance Mackey and team steamed into White Mountain at the head of the Iditarod pack this early morning at about 1:30 AM to the applause of a late night crowd assembled on  river ice.  A church bell rang, the traditional signal that a team has crossed the ice from Golovin and ready to arrive in White Mountain.    Lance, always a man who enjoys the emotional moment as much as the physical experience, stood by his sled and savored the sound.  Optimistic and exuberant, his enthusiasm touches everyone around him including Larry, a serious canine personality who Lance calls the “brains of the team” and Fudge, his black hardworking leader that often runs in partnership with Larry, and his crowd of fans.
 

AT 9;30 AM the checker here at White Mountain reminded Lance that he had another five minutes or so to complete his chores before his mandatory 8 hour would be completed and the team would be free to hit the 70 mile trail to Nome.  Lance hustled,  putting boots on two remaining dogs in the low light of a long arctic sun rise.  At the scheduled moment, Art Church, the race judge in White Mountain, led Larry to open space in the crowd.  Lance indicated he was good to go, and Larry and team trotted out of White Mountain, a few cameramen running alongside the team, trying to set for an exit shot.  In fifty yards,  the team easy trot had outdistanced the camera tricksters, and the Mackey entourage disappeared around the bend.  Later, away from the confusion of the crowd, he told me he would put other leaders beside the very serious Larry, play with the configuration of his nine dog team, until they were traveling in an effortless unit, the tow line moving rhythmically with the steps of the dogs.


Mechanically, the last seventy seven miles to the Nome finish should be easy for Lance and team.  The dogs are so trail hardened, after winning the 1000 mile Yukon Quest, and now after 9 days on the Iditarod, that the last section of trail should be the victory lap for Lance.  His good friend and traveling colleague, Paul Gebhardt, is about two and a half hours behind. 


Paul is just behind me putting on gear, preparing to go outside to feed his dogs one last time.  “We are travelling at identical speeds.  IT would be really hard to catch him.”


As a matter of form,  the dogs will go through a sort of evolution on the trail to Nome.  Lances dogs waddled out of the checkpoint, heavy with food.    After forty-five minutes, the canine engine will gradually fine tune itself, and the dogs will be trotting briskly.  Lance told me he expected to be in Nome in nine hours---in time for a sunset finish at 6;30 PM.


Check out some great interviews with Lance at the Insider.


Here are the race standings.
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Swanny 
Posted: 14-Mar-2007, 10:56 AM
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Lance Mackey did it, and he did it very, very well. He now stands as the only man in history to win two major long-distance races in the same year. Every musher I know is asking the same question. "How in heck did he DO that?"

I believe the answer to that question may well open a new and exciting chapter in sled dog racing history.

In the past, the major jumps in dog sled racing were a result of breeding. For example, the importation of Siberian huskies coupled with the skills of Leonhard Seppela, the selection of the best and fastest village dogs driven by the brilliant George Attla, advances in selective breeding, nutrition and dog care championed by Ray Coppinger and "Doc" Lombard, and most recently the breeding success of English and German short haired pointers to create the "Eurohound" coupled with the sprint mushing acumen of Egil Ellis.

Lance's accomplishments on the trail this year are individually astounding, shattering the old speed record to win the Quest and toughing it out to come from behind to win the Iditarod. To do both, in the same year and with many of the same dogs, is beyond astounding. In the mushing world it is literally unbelievable. Many top notch racers have frequently claimed that "it can't be done" and "it just isn't possible". As Mackey's team ran the final yards to the burled arch, he shouted his reply - "Eat your words!"

Today, now that Mackey has proven beyond doubt that it CAN be done, every musher in the north country, from the lowliest of recreational drivers to those who have reached the highest levels of sled dog racing are now asking "How did he do it?" As we learn the answers I suspect it will lead to some amazing and positive changes within the sport.

Swanny




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stevenpd 
Posted: 14-Mar-2007, 11:09 AM
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Astounding!
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stevenpd 
Posted: 14-Mar-2007, 09:23 PM
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QUOTE
LANCE MACKEY MAKES #13 ONE LUCKY NUMBER

by staff

Lucky number 13 proved its magical power as Lance Mackey was the first to cross under the Burled Arch in Nome in dramatic style tonight.  Mackey and his team of 9 dogs arrived at 8:08 pm (Alaska Time) completing the 2007 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in 9 days, five hours, eight minutes and forty-one seconds.  Mackey set out to win this race with fierce determination, and maybe a little superstition: both his father and his brother won before him wearing bib #13.  Now, Lance is the third Mackey to win the Iditarod sporting bib #13.  All this happened on the 13th day of March 2007!!!  On top of that, Mackey becomes the very first Iditarod musher to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod trail Sled Dog Race in the same year.

            Thousands of fans lined Front Street in Nome to get a glimpse of the 36 year old Kasilof Alaska musher make Iditarod history in a big way.  Mackey was greeted by his family and friends.  Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called in to congratulate Mackey.  She told him that he was an inspiration for all Alaskans

            Wells Fargo Representative Loren Prosser presented Mackey a check for $69,000.  Rod Udd, Anchorage Chrysler Dodge, CEO gave Mackey the key to a brand new Dodge Ram Pick Up Truck.  General Communications Inc.  Representative Gary Samuelson and Cabelas Representative Ron Nelson presented Mackey with the garland for his two lead dogs Larry and Lippy.

            One other note about the Mackey tradition; Dick, Rick and Lance Mackey all won their Iditarod championships on their 6th Iditarod race.
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stevenpd 
Posted: 17-Mar-2007, 01:00 PM
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Swanny,

How's Aily? It looks like she was having some trouble on the trail. I see that the race hasn't completed yet, there are still some mushers out.
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