The run across the ice to Koyuk shows Aily Zirkle still in the lead, but a closer look shows Jeff King moving faster in second place. Right now, he seems to have the edge, but Nome is a long ways away. Martin Buser and Sonny Lindner are about 10-12 miles behind, and their speed is a bit off the pace of the front two. The fastest moving team in sight is Dallas Seavey, about 20 miles behind Zirkle and still not out of it. His mad dash of the last 24 hours has put him back in the discussion, but it remains to be seen how much dash he has left.
A speedy run from Kaltag has moved Pete Kaiser up in the standings. His 9 hour run put him in 15th place, just ahead of John Baker who did the portage in 12 ½ hours. Richie Diehl moved up to 18th place, passing Mike Williams Jr who now sits in 23rd place, not yet in Unalakleet. Katherine Keith is in 29th, also on the portage. Meanwhile at the back of the pack rookie Elliot Anderson has not yet reached Ruby.
Yesterday’s discussion of early race communication brought back memories of how fans used to follow the race. In early races, Iditarod headquarters had a phone bank of volunteers who had a list of info to dispense to callers. Of course that was a long distance call from rural Alaska, so time was at a premium and some volunteers were slow on the draw. One tactic that worked was to claim to be from the media, which of course produced immediate results. I often called in as Scott Simpson from the New York Times and people really responded. Occasionally a call to a checkpoint would find a capable observer to describe the scene. In some villages I had reliable buddies who would have all the important news when I called.
Later, the fax machine became important. I convinced headquarters that I needed regular faxes of the standings, so they put me on their every hour list. Bethel folks would stop by at all hours for an up date, and when I went to gatherings I would bring along the most recent report and tack it on the wall. The internet changed all of that, and for many years most people had instant access to the latest standings, which at the time seemed light years ahead of the early races. But the advent of the tracker has completely changed the life of the fan. Now instead of not enough information, we have too much. I know I am not the only person who spends way too much time receiving race info on the computer. Tracker fever might be a new medical condition.
Watch for major moves at Koyuk. Teams with time to make up often try to do it there. By late tonight, we might be able to reduce our contender list to two.