In 2006 the Westport NEWS front page had a photo of a little girl from Westport petting her uncles' lead dog.
Since then we have followed this race every year - it begins on "Susan Butcher Day" in Alaska; Susan Butcher, a doctor and New England native was a 4-time winner. (First woman to win Libby Riddles.)
That first year we watched on our computer we were amazed to see that at least two women were near the top. And actually one was leading for the first half of this 1000 mile race! That would be SP KENNEL RED TEAM MUSHER...
So we cheer on SP KENNEL RED TEAM, hoping that some day this five-time (tied for first place in this Iditarod award contest) "Humanitarian Award Winner" might actually be the third woman to win Iditarod.
Report from musher begins...
LOOKING AHEAD...by looking behind, Alaska Range in the distance!
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR VERIFICATION
In years past, by the time you got to Rohn you would have a good idea about who would be in the hunt at the end...and we didn't make this up on our own!
(Drum role please)
We note that SP Kennel has reported a few things that might account for this "out of Rohn" position: Special "quick grab" bags of necessaries for camp-out on the trail saving time from previous method of sorting..
NOTE: I think our initial comments in the midst of the race (immediately above) were perhaps correct, now reading Red Team leader's reports!
Now it is clear to me at least why this team, that is having a lovely mushing adventure with the person they adore, their musher, stood to gain by going all the way thru to Cripple...they weren't tired, they were just getting the feel of the snow and of what it meant to...race! A bold move that gave the team more pep for the second half! If they decided to pick up the pace at some point!
Episode 5 - Well now, here's where it gets exciting!
You will note that Aliy remarks that they are in "20th or 30th place" when she is in 8th place. See above for "Racing" positions scoreboard. Is this a mistake? Nope.
That is because many of the front-runners chose to take their 24 hr. rest at Takotna. This video is from "mile 350" of the 1000 mile race.
So far so good...
- Maybe the Red Team 4-leggeds sense a change in the weather and like Black Beauty don't want to race into trouble and endanger their musher?
- Nice picture of Sparky giving his musher a kiss on INSIDER!!!
- Red Team perhaps to be taking their 24 plus hour rest in Ophir, in 8th place as we call it a day at 11pm EDT...
- NOPE - 24 hr. taken in Cripple!!! Which is 485 miles into the race, and the half-way mark. Brent Sass won the half-way award this year!
- As we know from last year, doing it this way allows for the Red Team to have more pep towards the end of this 1000 mile race!
- Takotna was always where they had taken their 24 hr before last year.
CANNABIDOIL & HEMP, RECORD OF 4-TIME WINNER WITH A REPUTATION AS A "BAD BOY"
- Not a controlled substance in CT - but we imagine that there might be more testing done and a question about exactly what is added to it...
- Does PETA think you should drug doggies? No. So there is going to be a cloud (not a reference to Red Team member) over ID48 no matter what.
- We always thought "CBD" meant central business district???
- As we have said previously, we are ahead by 4 hrs again...but we note that the top five in Cripple are very much in it...and THEIR speed will increase when they get back on the trail...
- Red Team will be finished with its 24 hr plus rest @12:30am later tonight...
- Iditarod just cancelled the Meet and Greet as well as the Banquet for finishers - COVID-19.
- Winter weather ahead - but perhaps it won't affect Iditarod field - that's like five or so check points ahead for the leader...@300 miles.
WHILE OPINING ON WHO LOOKS BEST, INSIDER TEAM REMARKS UPON LEADERS AND WHAT IS AHEAD.
- We note that Kaltag has the same forecast now...
- Red Team still resting in Cripple (according to our math, more than they had to rest). And they are back in action now!!!
- "How far away is Unalakeet?" asks INSIDER - answer: Another @300 miles.
- Red Team Mile 459 at 5pm EDT - out of the forest...into the sun - 36 miles to Ruby...just around the corner..."going faster" - after half-way rest.
- Leader 9 miles out from Ruby (mile 504).
- Red Team Mile 483 at 10:50pm...leader at mile 545 (having dropped her first dog).
- Red Team in to Galena (545 miles). Kodiak had to be dropped especially with weather forecast on the coast looking not propitious. And Episode 8 & 9.
- We note that two teams (toward the front) still have a full crew of 14 dogs! Should this automatically put them in a better position???
- INSIDER comments that in effect they can't say who in the front pack will win because it is impossible to predict what will happen on the cost in a storm such as the one predicted...
- This "insider" is reminded of other years when dogs dealt with storms on the coast as "hey no problem." "Bishop's Rock" stands out.
And then there is "the blow hole" - but that is close to the end...
- In to Nulato - leaders in Kaltag (next check point).
- And when we tuned in in the morning...this from video - the team seemed slow but it was beginning to be windy...team behind the eventual "Rookie of the Year."
- IN TO Kaltag for 8 hr mandatory rest. After, in Episode 10, Aliy (below center) reveals that her team is not going to win this year, but she loves them dearly - on the Portage Trail (R.)!!!
- We know the Bering Sea coast, based upon a few races recently...
- Leader appears to be putting significant distance against his competitors, but there are always pitfalls.
- Leader arrives Unalakleet after doing the "portage"...what's in store for mushers on the Bering Sea coast...
- According to our definitely unofficial calculations...look for Red Team to finish 8 hr rest @4:21pm EDT. NOTE: We always expect to mess things like this up, so our apologies epiif we did...again!
- Back on the trail - at mile 635...5:30pm EDT.
- See the "Old Woman Mountain" looming as Red Team looks up at its bare top 1000 feet above...below, from a distance.
- So five hours later...at 671 miles...
- And the Red Team is in close company with defending champ and Nick (who could have won last year as well as the year before that but for bad luck).
- Red Team resting in UNK 714;
- At a bit after 11am EDT LEADER AT 785mi followed 13 miles behind and 23 miles behind respectively...
- By the mushers who had together with leader had been racing together in the front pack all along.
- However, you may note that at @3pm EDT or so, Red Team has picked up a couple of places...
- Before dinner, we note that defending Champ is stepping on the gas...
- Mile 754 - Shaktoolik (outside town) - that's the place that had great rest rooms and showers IN TOWN.
- In 17th position as we call it a day at 10:30pm EDT.
- Picture above is the trail from Shaktoolik to Koyuk, from a previous Iditarod. Below, not in Weston CT...
- 10 am EDT - RED TEAM RESTING IN KOYUK MILE 804 (nowhere near moose).
- LEADER IN WHITE MOUNTAIN mi 898, 77 miles to the finish.
- Guess who is 2nd at the moment? Mitch Seavey (mi 856).
- Followed by Brent Sass (854) and Jessie Royer (853).
So glad to hear of correction (originally Red Team had been shown leaving UNK with 10 dog team members).
- As we've mentioned, the leader, who received his latest award ($2500) upon reaching White Mountain - from bank VP Scotty - son-in-law of Red Team Leader!!!. The leader, Thomas Waemer from Norway, is 5 hrs. ahead of Mitch Seavey, who is 51 minutes ahead of Jessie Royer. Brent Sass not arrived White Mountain yet, as we write this...
- As we break for dinner back in Weston CT (in which a state of emergency has been declared because of COVID-19 pandemic) Red Team is in 19th place...
- As we turn out the lights tonight (10:40pm EDT) Red Team is out of Elim now 44 miles to White Mountain in 19th place...
- Upon waking, Red Team in to White Mountain!!! In 18th place...77 miles to go!!!
- At right above, smooth sailing through "blow hole" 2 years ago...
- Cloud gets a big kiss from her musher as they get set for the last 77 mile run.
- Red Team on the trail to Safety (first) and then NOME!!!
- And almost in to Nome and the arch...but we're off to dreamland, thinking about NEXT year...more tomorrow!!!
- Upon awakening, we rushed to see the final result - click here and see below, too!!!Amazing!!! What a blast - young Cloud must be wondering what all this fuss is about!!!
MOTHER NATURE BLOWS UP A SNOW STORM FOR THE RED TEAM AT THE FINISH
As of @4:15pm EDT.
- At the end of DAY TEN, looks as if there are 18 teams who have scratched (including the latest, Nick Petit).
- Eighteen teams have scratched so far, nineteen have finished, 4 have left White Mountain, 3 are still there. 6 in Elim (one just left);
- There still five in Koyuk (one just left).
And then: https://iditarod.com/the-elim-11-are-in-white-mountain-dogs-and-mushers-are-doing-well/
Sunday, March 22nd: Four more teams have scratched - 3 in/out White Mountain and 1 "in" - had dogs "reneged" ("out of White Mountain" yet also "out of race")?
ALIYCAM OF LAST MILE!!!
Link is to a page full of video, pictures, audio and beautifully written report of RED TEAM JOURNEY...more to come in the future...another graphic.