Saturday, March 14, 2015

Halfway to Nome

It's been a fast exciting week.  The the severe cold in the north has Lance Mackey's hands frostbitten.  Then Brent Sass, who won the Yukon Quest this year and was definitely in position to win this race, was Disqualified (DQ) for carrying a newer iPod.  The newer ones are capable of two-way communication and that's a huge no no in this race.  Even though many mushers use one on the trail, someone told someone about Brent's and then there was no choice for the judges but to DQ him from the race.  The speculation is that the bushes around Tanana are now full of used frozen iPods.  :)

It’s also the third year of the Fantasy Iditarod Game (the page comes in slowly), sponsored by Danny Seavey. Basically we pick 7 mushers totalling $27,000 (each musher has an assigned $$ based on past performance). Scores are added by times between checkpoints and who gets into a checkpoint in what order. 
When Brent Sass got DQ’d it threw a large monkey wrench into the game as over 300 of us chose him as one of our 7. Bam! Down to the bottom of the pile we went. All his accrued pts were disappeared. sigh 
I just about gave up checking the spreadsheet when we got an email from Danny saying he had a special button on the spreadsheet called ‘ipod’. Click on that button and magically we are back in the game with only 6 mushers. Too cool.
Danny Seavey is some kind of spreadsheet genius, besides being a very good writer (this story tells a brief story of Lance Mackey, probably running his last Iditarod). The first two years Danny spent most of every evening updating the sheets. This year he figured out how to have the spreadsheet automatically update itself at each checkpoint. WOW!!!! Fun game!

Been working on Bryan's sweater and am now only an inch or so from attaching the sleeves to the body.  Sleeves in the sunshine!

Jeff King won the first musher to Galena Prize.
A fantastic meal and money.
Us crazy knitters were so busy looking at the hand knit sweater he was wearing (the pattern under the dogs is actually paw prints) we failed to see all the cash sitting on the table.

This is the first year the Iditarod has gone through the mushing town of Huslia near the arctic.  Several original serum run mushers came from there and a famous Alaskan sprinter too.
The village of 275 people really came all out for the race.
Aaron Burmeister was the first musher in to this village and they all came out to greet him.

It's -31 in Huslia and they take it in stride.

Aliy, who has come in 2nd in this race 3 times, is the first musher to leave Huslia.
It's only halfway through the race so we still can't tell who the real frontrunners will be but once the times are adjusted (to compensate for when they left Fairbanks), in the next few hours, we'll begin to see them appear.  I really want to wear the Iditarod T-shirt that says,
"Alaska, where men are men and women win the Iditarod."
It's been too long.

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