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Thread: Iditarod 39

  1. #1
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Iditarod 39

    Yeah, I know it's not popular with everyone. You need not read if you don't agree with it. As someone who has worked with the sled dogs and mushers and seen the Iditarod in action (and met the officials and vet techs and everyone else behind the scenes) you're not going to convince me that somehow my eyes aren't seeing what's really happening. I've ranted on the other thread so I would like to not have to repeat myself too much.

    The Musher's Banquet is tonight. I went last year, but can't make it this year (yes I am upset about that fact). The banquet is a fundraiser for the race (which has been hit hard once again thanks to PETA...), and it's also where the mushers draw their bib numbers (their starting number). It's good food, decent entertainment, and it's basically the last chance to hobknob with teh mushers before they get into race mode. You also see past stars of the race come out and support the sport. It's a pretty great party atmosphere, and the silent auction can get pretty funny when Dick Mackey starts pushing the price up.

    There are 62 teams set for this race. Three mushers dropped out earlier this year for unknown (to me) reasons. This is the smallest number in recent memory. This should make for a quick race, so long as the weather holds. In fact, it was reported on Alaska wires that the Race Marshall says the trails the best he's seen it in years. But that could change in an instant. Alaskan weather is unpredictable and unforgiving.

    I have a top ten list (I hated just limiting myself to 10, but I didn't want to write a novel) on my blog of teams to watch. I can't say I am completely unbiased, I do have my favorites, but I like so many of the mushers that I want them pretty much all to win (the only musher I really don't care for is Lance Mackey, but his team is amazing so it's hard not to get excited that he's back this year). Toni's Top 10 To Watch

    Also, for Mathman, there are two blog posts on the Iditarod's Blog about the Vet Check that happened yesterday.
    Eye on the Trail: Vet Check Day
    Eye on the Trail: Have Truck Will Travel

    What's interesting is in the first blog they talk about Lance Mackey's stepson. He reveals that if Lance wins this year, he'll be back for next year. If not, we might not see him. Good to know.


    Other blogs/sites of interest if you want to follow the race this year:
    http://www.iditarod.com is the official site and also has GPS tracking and the Iditarod Insider. Some parts are free, but it's a subscription to watch most of the videos and when the race gets close to nome the GPS goes dark to non subscribers.

    http://www.iditablog.com great up to the minute coverage from armchair mushers

    http://backstage-iditarod.blogspot.com another great armchair mushing blog

    I could link you to a dozen or so musher sites, but most of them are commercial and I'm probably pushing it as is with Iditarod.com

    I will also be blogging about the race when I can at http://tonichelle.blogspot.com and of course I'm going up for the Ceremonial Start this weekend so there will be pictures and impressions of the teams.

    got questions? I can try to answer them!

  2. #2
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Bib numbers are already online and the Banquet isn't even finished yet!
    http://www.iditarod.com/race/musherlisting.html

  3. #3
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    Crushed to hear Mitch Seavey was withdrawn by the Race Marshall this morning. He cut his hand severely opening a bale of straw, per news reports. He was having such a great run, set up nicely for a top ten if not top 5 or higher finish. I've got a soft spot for all the elder statesmen and -women like M. Seavey, Swenson (going strong even after breaking his collarbone on the first day of real racing), Jonrowe, and others. Meanwhile, GO MARTIN! A great finish would be wonderful for another longtime musher and, by all accounts, a fine, fine person.
    Last edited by rallycairn; 03-10-2011 at 10:27 AM.

  4. #4
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    hmmm my post from yesterday disappeared. odd. Oh well... I have an update on M. Seavey.

    Danny posted on his facebook last night with an update on his dad's hand, and what happened.


    I just got off the phone with my dad, here's what happened...

    He lost his main IRBI knife going to Takotna, where he called my mom and asked her to send another to Anvik because all he had was a folding knife he didn't like. He wasn't planning on camping before Iditarod, but when he went through Ophir, he decided to grab some straw just to be on the safe side. The knife was a folding Kershaw, and the locking mechanism is released by squeezing the handle. The problem was it also has a gut-hook, which he was attempting to use to cut the zip tie on a straw bag while squeezing the handle. The blade folded over, and cut his right index finger through the knuckle.

    He did want to continue, but after several thick skinned vets and volunteers pointed out the danger and made phone calls to doctors on the East Coast (it was the middle of the night here), he reluctantly agreed with Mark Nordman's decision to withdraw him from the Race.

    He just got out of surgery, and there is serious bone, ligament, and tissue damage to his knuckle. A part of the bone is missing, and a pin is holding it on now. The doctor said with PT he will probably keep the finger, and hopefully will use it again.

    Clearly he is quite disappointed. His dogs were performing wonderfully, it was one of those races every musher knows where the team comes together rather than falls apart. This isn't the way he wanted to end an already rough season (his kennel manager/friend Scott Hagan passed away the week before the race) It's hard to find an upside, but we very much appreciate all the prayers and support, and we're blessed with a network of family and friends that helps keep everything in perspective.

    He passed Scott's ashes to Dallas in Ophir, and "told him to get the job done."

    He also wanted to thank all the vets and volunteers in Ophir, especially Jake Berkowitz, for helping him handle a very tough situation.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the update, Toni. Glad the prospects look reasonably good for him keeping his finger and it being functional. But man what a heartbreak, you could tell he was having an even better than usual run up to that point. I hate those squeeze-to-release the lock knives, they always seem to put your fingers in danger while trying to get the darn things to close.

    In an Iditarod Insider video from much later in the day you could tell Mitch was, and I mean this in a good way!, belligerently graceful about the withdrawal. Like he knew it really had to be done, and appreciated in a way it being done, but d&mn it had to be tough medicine to swallow!

  6. #6
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Mitch is incredibly competitive, so when the press release was worded that the RACE MARSHAL had withdrawn Seavey I knew it had to be bad. One because the Marshal did it, and two because Mitch was okay with the decision. I'm so thankful he was able to save the finger, and really hope that with the PT and doctor knowledge it will function properly later on. I was completely gutted with the news yesterday morning. Not the way I wanted to wake up. Glad that Danny updated us all last night before I went to bed or I'd have had issues sleeping.

    Now, it's up to Dallas to Get 'er done!

  7. #7
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    For teh first time in over two decades, a Native Alaskan musher is poised to take the prize. John Baker of Kotzebue will leave the check point of White Mountain with his team at 12:03 tomorrow morning to run the last 77 miles. Hot on his heels will be Ramey Smyth of Wasilla. Dallas Seavey did a surprise move while I was at work today and is currently 4th (jumped three positions today! w00t!). Third is Hans Gatt (who was supposedly retiring last year).

    So very excited for this years race. It's going to be a nailbiter. Bummed I will probably miss it.

  8. #8
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Wow! Good for Dallas! And it's nice to see a native musher doing that well.

  9. #9
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    if Dallas sticks to his pace, he'll make his goal of cracking the top 5. But anything can happen tommorrow.

    According to Red Lantern Iditarod Award winner Perry Solmonson John may get into Nome as early as 9:37am tomorrow morning (alaska time).

  10. #10
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    John Baker was first under the burled arch in Nome at 9:46am Alaska Time. He is the first Eskimo to win the race, and second Native Alaskan (the last, Emmitt Peters, won in 1975). He was brought into Nome by the sound of Native drums beating his victory dance. How cool is that? This is 17 years in the making for Baker. A First win for him and he now holds the record for fastest finish (beating Martin Buser's record he's held since 2002!). Raymey Smith came second, Hans Gatt third, Dallas Seavey came in fourth, and Hugh Neff and Sebastian Schnuelle just finished practically side by side in fifth and sixth respectively. So far this has been a fantastic race, and continues to be. The trail has been wonderful and dog health is high. Knock on wood this may be teh second year all athletes (two and four legged) come away with a fantastic experience.

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