Monday, March 11, 2013

Sunday Night by Myron Angstman

Six teams still are in the running, according to my unofficial calculations, and among those six one is fading from contention.   Aaron Burmeister has run a wonderful race,  but is losing ground tonight on the run to Shaktoolik, as he did on the run into Unalakleet.  That probably means there are only five left, Seavey,  King, Zirkle,  Ulsom and   Redington. Those teams were the first six out of Unalakleet, and  the next one out, Berkowitz is  probably a little late leaving if he hopes to catch  the teams in front of him.

Among the leaders, King has the fastest moving team so he  might have a slight  edge, but  at this stage of the race speed can disappear quickly if a team is pushed hard.  This is the tightest group of front runners in recent memory, and the prospect is for an exciting finish.  That  is not always the case on the Iditarod when someone pulls away the last couple of days.

John Baker has moved up well in the last  few days, and has a real shot at the top ten now.   He has done it  by sticking to a routine  he knew his team could handle,  hoping that  the teams in front would  battle each other hard  enough to wear out and  slow down. In some cases, that has happened.  John often moves up in the  standings at the end, which  means his  team  has been used well and has plenty in reserve.  That style of racing doesn’t always mean first place, but  for John is usually means top ten.

Another rural racer Pete Kaiser  had a good run to Unalakleet after waiting longer than some at Eagle Island.  He was down to 10 dogs  there, which is a little low  that far from Nome. Best guess is he gave them extra rest to make sure he had  enough dogs  on the coast.

Night owls will watch the  tracker closely tonight because  the race could be  mostly decided by tomorrow.  Shaktoolik is a place where  racers sometimes blow right through in a last effort to make up time.  The run from there is about  60 miles to Koyuk, and  that makes about a 100 mile run from Unalakleet.  At this stage of the race that is a long haul with a  major break, but it has been done.

Myron Angstman, lawyer, pilot, and dog musher, lives in Bethel, Alaska. Read more about dogs, law suits and rural Alaska gossip by checking 

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