Wednesday, March 12, 2014

John Finishes 19th

John Baker  ended  his Iditarod in 19th place, and the pictures suggested was on the trail  for a few days.  The brutal winds of the past couple days took a toll on  most of the racers.   Some  were hard to recognize in their finish line photos.  I haven’t had a chance to  talk with him, but I suspect 19th is  little behind where he hoped to finish  at the start.

 Throughout  the race  Baker’s traveling speed was a notch  slow to contend for the top spot.  He has always had a bit slower pace than some, but the gap was more pronounced this year.   Perhaps the  hard fast trail had something to do with that.  Baker often shines best on softy trails with hard pulling.

 In addition to not  finishing near the top,  Baker lost his record for fastest Iditarod.  That was a record that was likely to fall, as will this year’s record now held by Dallas Seavey.

Katherine Keith  is at White Mountain in 30th place, the last paying position.  There are a number of teams in who will leave just ahead of her, so she has  some chance to gain a place or two.  She would be happy with 30th I’m sure.

 Tales of the tough trail are  now emerging.  Martin Buser’s  account of the last two days is brutal, as is Jeff King’s account of his problems around Safety.  Less well known racers likely have similar stories we haven’t heard.  It is clear that survival was  at least  a part of the equation during the worst of the wind.  The Iditarod has never cost anyone their life, but  a few  racers have wondered if their affairs were in order during  some bad storms.

 Tomorrow’s report will conclude this year’s  reports.