Click on the K9 Journalist for News!

zuma3

Zuma

Gypsy

Gypsy

Zuma is the Official K9 Journalist for the Iditarod.   Read Zuma’s Bio at this link.

Gypsy writes stories for readers who are in elementary school and middle school.  Read Gypsy’s bio at this link.

Click on the K9’s image to Read Articles

Libby Littles

Libby Littles

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Sanka W. Dog

Sanka W. Dog writes stories for middle school and high school students.  Read Sanka’s bio at this link.

Libby Littles writes stories for the youngest of readers, sharing ‘little’ pieces of information.  Read Libby’s bio at this link.

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  • To read archived articles by the K9 Journalists, click the image of the dog. (above)

  • Use the menu on the left side of this page to find articles about topics of interest.

  • Click on the category, topic, or tags to sort and find articles about certain topics of interest.

  • At the end of an article that you read, leave comments for the K9 journalists or you email the K9 journalists using the link on the left side of this page.

  • Read articles by all of the journalists or by the journalist that meets the needs of your students.  Starting in August, new articles by K9 journalists will be added each month.  Once the race draws near, articles will be posted more often!

  • Click on the journalist’s picture above or scroll through the articles.  Archived articles from previous years contain important information about the race, the checkpoints, and about the sport of dog mushing.  Remember:  The menu on the left of the page will help you find what you need to know!


Writing To Your Musher

Hi Boys and Girls,

Now that the race is over- what’s next??? Many of you are busy writing the musher you followed in the race. I know you are really excited about that and many of you are hoping for a return letter and maybe even some goodies. Since the request for musher addresses has increased during the past week, I thought this would be a good time to go over some rules for writing.

First, if you would like musher addresses, go to

http://iditarodblogs.com/teachers/writing-to-mushers-must-read/

You will find a form to fill out at the bottom of the page.  It will ask your name, school name (if your affiliated with a school), and email address. You must complete the form and send it back to the Iditarod Education Department.  The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste the form in a new email. You will not receive the addresses until you return the form.

There is not an address for every musher. Not all mushers are able to receive mail and/or are able to respond to mail. Please respect this.

Here are a few tips when writing your letters.

  • Make sure your letters are friendly and supportive.
  • Don’t ask too many questions. First read the mushers bio on the Iditarod website and if the musher has a website, go there to see if you can find the answers to your questions. If you can’t, pick only one or two questions to ask.
  • If you hope for a response you MUST send a self addressed stamped envelope with your letter. If your musher lives in another country (ie Canada, Norway etc), you must have the correct postage for that country.
  • Do not send mail to the Iditarod Headquarters.  Mushers do not get mail there and there is no budget to send the letters to the mushers.  So send the mail directly to the musher.
  • You must use correct postage on your envelopes.  This will increase the chances your musher will receive your letter.
  • Don’t ask for booties, autographs, pictures or anything else. All these things cost the musher money to buy and send. It is unreasonable to expect the musher to send out these items. Some of them do, but don’t expect it.

Please remember that mushers receive hundreds of letters every year. It takes time for them to go through them and answer. Please be patient and realize the response may come during the summer.

I hope that helps everyone. Have fun writing to your favorite musher.

Gypsy


Daily Update- 3/19 The Last Mushers have arrived in Nome.

Hi Boys and Girls,

The last two teams crossed the finish line today in Nome.  Iditarod 40 is officially completed. It was a great race this year. I hope you enjoyed it. I sure did.

Bob Chlupach finished the race at 2:55:10 this morning.  He finished in 14 days, 11 hours, and 55 minutes.

Jan Steves finished the race at 2:27:03 this morning.  She finished in 14 days, 11 hours, and 57 minutes.

What a finish.  Jan received the Red Lantern award for crossing the finish line in last place.

Now what?  There will be a few more posts over the next few days.  So stay turned.  There are also events between now and Iditarod 41, where one of the K9 reporters will be reporting on.  So check in often to see what’s new.

See you on the trail,

Gypsy


Daily Update- 3/19/2012 The Awards Banquet

Hi Boys and Girls,

All but two mushers are in. Jan Steves and Bob Chlupach should be in early this morning. Last night was the awards banquet in Nome.  It was held at the Nome Recreation Center. The banquet is to congratulate all the finishers of this years race.  There are also awards given out.  This years awards are:

PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award- Presented to the first musher to reach McGrath.  This years winner is Aily Zirkle

GCI Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award- Presented to the first musher to reach the halfway checkpoint which this year was Iditarod.  This years winner is Jim Lanier

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska Gold Coast Award- Present to the first musher to reach the “Gold Coast” community of Unalakleet.  This years winner is Aily Zirkly

Nome Kennel Club Fastest Time from Safety to Nome Award- Presented to the musher who has the fastest time from Safety to Nome. The winner of this award had to finish in the top 20. This years winner is Mike Williams Jr.

Horizon Lines Most Improved Musher Award- Presented to the musher who   has bettered his/her most recent finish by the most number of places. This years winner is Rohn Buser

Jerry Austin Rookie of the Year Award- Presented to the top place rookie.  This rookie could not of ever started the race before this year.  This years winner is Brent Sass.

Fred Meyer Sportsmanship Award- Mushers vote on this award.  This years winner is Lance Mackey.

ExxonMobil Mushers Choice Award- Presented to the musher chosen by his or her peers who was the most inspirational on the trail.  This years winner is Dan Seavey

Northern Air Cargo Herbie Nayokpuk Memorial Award- Presented to the musher chosen by staff and officials as the person who most closely mimics Herbie  in his/her attitude on the trail. This years winner is Michelle Phillips

Northern Air Cargo 4 Wheeler Award- Presented to a musher who has finished the race and whose randomly picked key starts the 4 wheeler.  This year’s winner is Peter Kaiser.

Golden Clipboard Award- Presented by race officials to the most outstanding checkpoint.  This years winner is the community of Nulato.

Golden Stethoscope Award- Presented by the Iditarod Official Finishers Club (IOFC) to the veterinarian whom they feel was the most helpful on the trail.  This years winner is Ruth Kothe, DVM and Tanja Kruse DVM

Alaska Airlines Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award- Based on specific criteria to determine who has best demonstrated outstanding dog care throughout the Race while remaining competitive.  This years winner is Dee Dee Jonrowe

City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award Winner- Presented to an outstanding lead dog, chosen by the mushers.  This years winner is Guinness, Dallas Seavey’s lead dog.

Wells Fargo Red Lantern- Presented to the last musher to finish the race.  This years winner is:  This award hasn’t been awarded yet as there are still 2 mushers out on the trail.

Wow, that’s impressive.  Congratulations again to all the finishers and to all the winners.  Hope to see everyone back next year.

See you on the Trail
Gypsy

Daily Update- 3/18/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Well 2 teams are still out on the trail.  The banquet is tonight.  Soon Iditarod 40 will be at an end.  I hope you have enjoyed the race this year.  BUT stay tuned to see who the Red Lantern winner will be.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/18/2012

TIME: 10:28

FINISHERS:

51. Dan Seavey     13 days  19 hours  10 minutes

LAST 2 MUSHERS: 52. Bob Chlupach, 53. Jan Steves

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:. Dan is resting in White Mountain,  Bob and Jan are resting in White Mountain  They should be leaving right after noon today for the final 77 miles to Nome.

RED LANTERN POSITION: Jan Steves

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is -14 degrees F and partly cloudy . The weather in White Mountain is -7 degrees F and fair.

By the morning post all the mushers will be in and we’ll know the winners of the various awards.  See you then.

Until later,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/17/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

This will be a quick evening update.  There are 3 teams still out on the trail.  Here’s hoping they will all make the banquet tomorrow night.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/17/2012

TIME: 15:31

FINISHERS:

47. Jaimee Kinzer      12 days, 15 hours, 58 minutes

48. Matt Failor            12 days, 18 hours, 10 minutes

49. Hank Debruin       12 days,  22 hours, 22 minutes

50. Karen Ramstead   13 days  0 hours,   21 minutes

LAST 3 MUSHERS: 51 Dan Seavey. 52. Bob Chlupach, 53. Jan Steves

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:. Dan is resting in White Mountain,  Bob and Jan are resting in Elim

RED LANTERN POSITION: Jan Steves

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 3 degrees F and partly cloudy . The weather in White Mountain is 7 degrees F and fair. The weather in Elim is 0 degrees F and fair.

I’ll let you know when the last 3 mushers arrive in Nome.  Tomorrow is the Finishers Banquet in Nome.  It appears the 3 mushers still out on the trail will make it in time to attend the banquet.  That would be really cool to have all the finishers there.  Stay tuned.

Until later,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/17/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

Top of the morning to you!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone! There are 7 teams still out on the trail. The race should finish this weekend with the Red Lantern winner coming in sometime Sunday morning.  At least that’s my prediction. What’s yours? Hopefully, all mushers will finish before the banquet on Sunday night.  Who would want to miss that!

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/17/2012   The Early Edition

TIME: 00:58

FINISHERS:

34.  Mike Santos               11 days 14 hours  20 minutes

35. Bruce Linton               11 days  16 hours  27 minutes

36, Karen Hendrickson      11 days  18 hours  32 minutes

37.Trent Herbst                  11 days  20 hours  17  minutes

38. Matt Giblin                     11 days  20 hours  20 minutes

39. Scott Janssen                11 days  21 hours   38 minutes

40. Curt Perano                    11 days  22 hour  40 minutes

41. Art Church Jr.                 11 days 23 hour  57 minutes

42. William Pinkham             12 days 1 hours 15 minutes

43. Anna Berington               12 days 2 hours 16 minutes

44. Kristy Berington               12 days 2 hours 17 minutes

45. Justin Savidis                   12 days 4 hours 45 minutes

46. Travis Cooper                   12 days 8 hours 37 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 47. Karen Ramstead,  48  Jamie Kinzer 49. Hank Debruin

50 Matt Failor, 51 Dan Seavey.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:. 4 teams have left White Mountain.   1 team is in Elim,  2 teams are in Shaktoolik,

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who has left Unalakleet

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is -4 degrees F and fair. The weather in White Mountain is -4 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in Elim is -9 degrees F and fair. The weather in Koyuk is -9 degrees F and fair. The weather in Shaktoolik is -6 degree F and fair,

Answer to yesterday’s question:

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

FAN QUESTION:

I hope you are still following the race.  It’s great to know everyone may finish before the banquet on Sunday.  It’s been a good race this year! 

Until later today,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Dogs Home from Nome

by Sanka W. Dog

There are no roads to Nome so there are no roads home except for Aaron Burmeister who calls Nome home. Years ago, Mary Shields who was the first women to finish Iditarod, turned around and ran her dogs another 800 miles back home to Fairbanks. That’s good but what about the rest of the mushers that run from Anchorage to Nome? How do the dogs get home? Answer is they fly first class on Alaska Air – yup, they take ten rows of seats out and the dogs ride up there in first class. I’m pretty sure that when I fly out tomorrow afternoon, there’ll be as many dogs as humans on the flight. While waiting for the flight out to the road, the huskies go to the canine campground known as the dog lot. The mushers take care of the athletes just as they did on the trail. As guardian, there is an impressive husky watching over the canine camp out.


Zoom Lens – Pint Size Penny

by Sanka W. Dog

Penny and Robertia in Nome

Penny and Robertia in Nome

Colleen Robertia is now a veteran of two Iditarod races. Colleen and husband, Joseph, don’t run a kennel that’s filled with designer huskies, they prefer to work with the three R’s – runts, rejects and rescues. Of note is the little lady running in single lead for the trip down Front Street. Her name is Penny and she weighs twenty-nine pounds in a sport where the average athlete tips the scale at forty-five to fifty pounds. Penny is pint sized but has a heart the size of a 747 airliner. You could say physically she’s some where between a lap dog and a sled dog in size.  She’s run lead in the Yukon Quest as well as Robertia’s rookie Iditarod in 2010. Colleen commented that she’s so small, the team dogs and wheel dogs can’t even see her. She communicates on another level – they know she’s there and they trust her. She motivates them. Penny lives and runs by the motto – when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Robertia has a couple of other leaders she uses but Penny is her go to dog. Out in the Shaktoolik windstorm, Colleen put another bigger heavier dog up front. This dog’s work ethic and determination is a great example for humans – kids as well as adults. It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the size of the heart within the dog. Penny is a privileged dog – she doesn’t travel in the dog box, she’s up front in the truck with us. Robertia, Penny and the rest of the Rogue Kennel team fishing the 2010 race in 10d 23h 56m 10s for 36th place. Twenty-first place, one spot ahead of Lance Mackey, with a time on 10d 20h 4m 19s is a great improvement for 2012. Robertia said she really enjoyed running close to Lance and observing his routine of dog care along the trail and in the checkpoints, a great opportunity for on the job training.


Zoom Lens – Martin and Rohn into Nome

by Sanka W. Dog

Busers Climb off the Sea Ice into Nome

Busers Climb off the Sea Ice into Nome

The father-son Buser teams were the first mushers to make Front Street on Thursday morning. We’d hiked several blocks down to the snow ramp behind the Subway and Gold Coast Cinema that brings the teams off the sea ice. We stood with Quest champion and Iditarod veteran, Vern Halter, and watched the Busers run in from Cape Nome. Halter was impressed with their speed. In the pre-dawn light, the busers seemed to by flying low along the sea ice.  We were the first to welcome Rohn and Martin to Nome. Rohn was in the lead on the single file ramp but Martin hustled to make it a tight finish. Finishing his second Iditarod, Rohn edged the Master, Martin, by one second – finishing in 10d 18h 10m and 12s.

Rohn and Martin Share a Hug at the Arch in Nome

Rohn and Martin Share a Hug at the Arch in Nome

Then it was playtime for the dogs. The tugs were unhooked and the dogs trotted around the chute as if it were a large canine playpen. They enjoyed lots of love from fans and nice fatty snacks for their coaches.  Thinking that Martin and Rohn weren’t looking, three dogs with plenty of energy trotted a half block toward the open end of the chute.  Perhaps they wanted to see a little of Nome.  They’d just finished a trek of 1049 miles so now it was time to look around town.  As they made a left out of the chute to head up Division Street, Martin whistled.  The dogs hesitated only momentarily before returning to their master via the sidewalk.  Good dogs!  When it was time to head to the dog lot, Rohn herded all 20 of the happy athletes to where they’d be camping for the next day or two.  Rohn and Martin finished in 18th and 19th place respectively.  Martin, a four winner of Iditarod gold, has run and completed twenty-eight Iditarod Races since 1980.  Rohn’s second run to Nome proved to be a great improvement in place and time.  In 2008, as a high school senior he made Nome in 11d 6h 58m 2s for 37th place.


Daily Update- 3/16/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

Good Morning! Hope everyone has good a good night’s sleep.  Today will be another busy day in Nome with 12+ teams expected to arrive today. There are 20 teams out on the trail. When to you think the Red Lantern Winner will cross the finish. Send me your predictions today.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/16/2012   The Early Edition

TIME: 00:45

FINISHERS: 25.  Ed Stielstra                10 days 21 hours  59 minutes

26. Anjanette Steer           10 days  22 hours  2 minutes

27. Kelly Griffin                 10 days  22 hours  29 minutes

28. Braxton Peterson          10 days  22 hours  44  minutes

29. Nicholas Petit                10 days  23 hours  24 minutes

30. Rick Swenson                10 days 23 hours   44 minutes

31. Ryne Olson                    11 days  1 hour 33 minutes

32. Kelley Maixner                11 days 1 hour  53 minutes

33. Jim Lanier                       11 days 2 hours 58 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 34. Mike Santos,  35.  Bruce Linton,  36. Karin Hendrickson 37. Matt Giblin, 38. Trent Herbst

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:. 3 teams have left White Mountain.  9 teams are resting in White Mountain, 2 teams have left Elim, 2 teams are in Elim, 1 team has left Koyuk,  1 teams is in Shaktoolik, 2 teams have left Unalakleet,

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who has left Unalakleet

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 2 degrees F and partly cloudy. The weather in White Mountain is 7 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in Elim is 9 degrees F and fair. The weather in Koyuk is 4 degrees F and fair. The weather in Shaktoolik is 4 degree F and fair,

Answer to yesterday’s question: The answer to yesterdays question will be given later today

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

FAN QUESTION:

Keep those questions and comments coming.  I really enjoy reading what you have to say.

Until later today,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/15/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Almost half the mushers have arrived in Nome.  Please Remember that there are still 29 teams out on the trail.  They are working hard to arrive in Nome.  There is one musher out on the trail that could break another record.  Karen Ramstead and her team of Siberian Huskies (affectionately known as the Pretty Curly Tails) is hoping to break the record for an all Siberian Team.  The record is currently held by Blake Freking who in 2010 ran the race in 11 days 20 hours and 39 minutes. Karen will  have to cross the finish line before around noon on Friday to break the record.  You know what? Several of my aunts, uncles and cousins are on Karen’s team and I’m so proud of all of them. You go Pretty Curly Tails, I’ll be anxiously watching for your arrival in Nome.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/15/2012

TIME: 12:57

FINISHERS: 18. Rohn Buser                  10 days 18 hours  10 minute

19. Martin Buser                10 days  18 hours  10 minutes

20. Gerald Sousa              10 days  19 hours  27 minutes

21 Colleen Robertia           10 days  20 hours  4  minutes

22. Lance Mackey               10 days  20 hours  17 minutes

23Jodi Bailey                      10 days 20 hours   19 minutes

24. Cim Smyth                        10 days 21 hours 26 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 25. Anjanette Steer,  26.  Kathy Griffin, 27. Ed Stielstra 28.Braxton Peterson, 29. Nicholas Petit

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:. 6 teams have left Safety and will be arriving in Nome shortly. 3 teams have left White Mountain,  There is 1 team resting in White Mountain, 6 teams have left Elim, 5 teams are in Elim, 2 teams have left Koyuk, 3 teams are resting in Koyuk,  1 team is in Shaktoolik, 2 teams have left Kaltag,

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who has left Kaltag

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 8 degrees F and mostly cloudy. The weather in White Mountain is 9 degrees F and fair. The weather in Elim is 1 degree F and fair. The weather in Koyuk is 10 degrees F and fair. The weather in Shaktoolik is 7 degree F and fair, The weather in Unalakleet is 16 degrees F and partly cloudy.

Answer to this mornings question: It’s safety in numbers.  Many times mushers will travel in pairs or in packs.  When the weather is bad, teams are safer traveling together. There are 2 pairs of eyes looking for and trying to find the trail.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Talking about Siberian Huskies- what is the difference between a Siberian Husky and an Alaskan Husky?

FAN QUESTION: I’m hoping we’ll have a fan question tomorrow.

Keep those questions and comments coming.  I really enjoy reading what you have to say.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/15/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

Good Morning.  It’s going to be another busy day in Nome today.  How is your favorite musher doing?

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/15/2012   early edition

TIME: 00:31

FINISHERS: 15. Paul Gebhatdt         10 days 03 hours  35 minutes

16. Michelle Phillips      10 days  08 hours  18 minutes

17.  Hugh Neff              10 days  08 hours  41 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 18 Rohn Buser, 19. Martin Buser  20. Gerald Sousa 21. Colleen Robertia, 22. Lance Mackey

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:.  There are 13 teams are resting in White Mountain, , I team is in Elim, 5 teams have left Koyuk, 8 teams are resting in Koyuk, 1 team has left Shaktoolik, 2 teams are in Shaktoolik, 1 team is in Unalakleet, 2 teams are in Kaltag,

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who is in Kaltag

SCRATCHED: none

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 6 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in White Mountain is 11 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in Elim is 1 degree F and partly cloudy. The weather in Koyuk is 5 degrees F and mostly cloudy. The weather in Shaktoolik is 1 degree F and partly cloudy, The weather in Unalakleet is 7 degrees F and cloudy.  The weather in Kaltag is 6 degrees F and partly cloudy.

Answer yesterdays question: there was no question last night.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you look at when the teams in Koyuk arrived, you’ll see that most of the teams came in as pairs.  Looking at yesterday’s post about what was said about the trail conditions between Shaktoolik and Koyuk, why do you think the mushers were traveling in pairs.

FAN QUESTION: Look for a fan question later today.

I hope you are still following the race.  It’s so much fun to see where the teams are and see when they finish in Nome.

Until later today,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Unalakleet Happenings

by Sanka W. Dog

Monson's dog Moby is more than ready to run

Monson's dog Moby is more than ready to run

On the day Iditarod crowned its youngest champion ever, plenty of other things were going on three hundred miles away in the community of Unalakleet. There was a pie social at the Covenant Church. It was as much fun eating the pie as it was listening to people decide on what kind of pie to make and bring to the social. Across the slough from the checkpoint, Nancy Persons practiced with the Unalakleet skiers. The skiers and Biathlon athletes had just returned from the Arctic Winter Games and a meet in Koyuk. Between the checkpoint and the skiers, three dog teams, unrelated to Iditarod were lined out for the better part of the day.

Chisana Monson on †he Iditarod Trail

Chisana Monson on the Iditarod Trail

Turns out the three dog teams were very related to Iditarod and were on the trail for a very special reason. David Monson and daughters, Tekla and Chisana, are celebrating the memory of wife and mother, Susan Butcher. They’re traveling by dog team from Galena to Nome. It’s more than just a run with dogs, the girls are getting to know more about their mother and meet many of the people Susan considered so special living along the trail. In 2007, a year after Susan’s death, Tekla turned eleven. She and her father traveled from Manley Hot Springs to Nome by dog team. Tekla wore her mother’s red insulated mushing suit. Chisana who has now turned eleven is running a dog team to Nome wearing her mother’s red insulated mushing suit. Monson and the girls consider these trips at the age of eleven to be a family right of passage. Butcher is the only to win four Iditarod Championships and one of only two woman champions in the forty year history of the race.  Read more about the Monson family pilgrimage in Jill Burke’s Alaska Dispatch story.


Daily update- 3/14/2012 The Race Continues!

Hi Boys and Girls,

How was your day today.  It sure was busy in Nome today.  14 teams have finished the race with 39 teams still on the trail.  The race is NOT over until the red lantern position crosses the finish line.  So stay tuned.  There’s more excitement to come.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/14/2014

TIME: 15:09

FINISHERS: 4. Aaron Burmeister      9 days 10 hours  04 minutes

5. Peter Kaiser              9 days  11 hours  06 minutes

6.Ray Redington Jr      9 days   12 hours 19 minutes

7. Mitch Seavey            9 days   13 hours 10 minutes

8. Michael Williams       9 days   13 hours  12 minutes

9.  John Baker                9 days   13 hours  25 minutes

10. Dee Dee Jonrowe      9 days   14 hours  43 minutes

11. Sigrid Ekran               9 days   15 hours   50 minutes

12. Ken Anderson            9 days    18 hours  56 minutes

13  Brent Sass                 9 days     20 hours  25 minutes

14  Sonny Lindner           9 days     21 hours  28 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 15. Paul Gebhardt, 16. Hugh Neff 17. Michelle Phillips, 18. Rohn Buser, 19. Martin Buser.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS:.  Paul, Hugh, and Neff have left White Mountain.  Those teams should be in Nome later tonight.   2 teams are resting in White Mountain, 12 teams have left Elim, I team is in Elim, 2 teams have left Koyuk, 4 teams are resting in Koyuk, 10 teams has left Shaktoolik, 2 teams are in Shaktoolik, 1 team is in Unalakleet, 2 teams are in Kaltag,

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass finished in 13th place and is the Rookie of the Year.

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who is in Kaltag

SCRATCHED: Michael Suprenant scratched in Unalakleet over concern for his team.

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 12 degrees F and partly cloudy. The weather in White Mountain is 14 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in Elim is 12 degrees F and fair. The weather in Koyuk is 7 degrees F and cloudy. The weather in Shaktoolik is 6 degrees F and cloudy and windy, The weather in Unalakleet is 16 degrees F and  partly cloudy.  The weather in Kaltag is 9 degrees F and cloudy.

Word is that the winds between Shaktoolik and Koyuk are around 25-30 miles per hour.  This is really kicking up the snow and visibility is very low.  A few teams turned back to Shaktoolik to wait out the weather.  Travel is slow between Shaktoolik and Koyuk so it may take the mushers more time than usual to make the trip.

Answer yesterdays question:

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

FAN QUESTION: Nick asked “if a mushers scratches what do they do and where do they go.”  Once a musher scratches, he continues to care for his dogs until they are flown back to Anchorage to await pick up there.  The musher then flies back to Anchorage to pick up his dogs and supplies.  If a musher is close to Nome, he/she and the team are taken to Nome and then flown back to Anchorage.

There were a lot of good questions and comments today. If you don’t see an answer to your question, hang in there, I’ll answer all the questions soon.  Thanks for your patience.  Now off to see who finishes next!

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/14/2012 The Early Edition- WE HAVE A WINNER

Hi Boys and Girls,

Good Morning! Dallas Seavey became the youngest musher to win an Iditarod.  He turned 25 while on the trail.  Dallas finished the race in 9 days 4 hours and 29 minues.

Congratulations to Dallas.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/14/2014 early edition

TIME: 00:46

FINISHERS: 1. Dallas Seavey   9 days 4 hours 29 minutes

2. Aliy Zirkle            9 days 5 hours 29 minutes

3. Ramey Smyth     9 days 6 hours   4 minutes

NEXT 5 MUSHERS: 4. Aaron Burmeister, 5. Peter Kaiser 6. Ray Redington, 7. Mitch Seavey, 8. John Baker

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Aaron and Peter have left Safety and should be into Nome soon.  9 teams have left White Mountain.  Those teams should be in Nome later today.  Nome is sure going to be a busy place today.  1 team is resting in White Mountain, 2 teams have left Elim, 3 teams have left Koyuk, 14 teams are resting in Koyuk, 1 team has left Shaktoolik, 9 teams are in Shaktoolik, 4 teams have left Unalakleet, 4 teams have left Kaltag, 2 teams have left Nulato.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 13th place and he is taking his Mandatory rest in White Mountain.

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who has left Nulato

SCRATCHED: Tom Thurston scratched in Unalakleet over concern for his team.  Kirk Barnum scratched in Kaltag because his team wasn’t enjoying the race.

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Nome is 3 degrees F and partly cloudy. The weather in White Mountain is 3 degrees F and mostly cloudy. The weather in Elim is -4 degrees F and fair. The weather in Koyuk is 0 degrees F and partly cloudy. The weather in Shaktoolik is -4 and fair and windy, The weather in Unalakleet is 5 degrees F and cloudy.  The weather in Kaltag is 5 degrees F and cloudy.

Answer yesterdays question:

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I will have a question for you later today so come back this evening for the update and question.

FAN QUESTION: Send me some questions and comments today and maybe your question will be picked for the question of the day.

Remember that while the winner has crossed the finish line the race is far from over.  There are still 51 teams out on the trail.  Stay tuned!  My post might be late tonight but I will be doing another update today!

Until Later Today,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/13/2011

Hi Boys and Girls

Did you hear? The winner should cross the finish line tonight!!!!!  Will it be Dallas, Aily, or Ramey, or one of the other front runners!  I can’t wait to find out.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/12/2013

TIME: 11:58

LEADERS: 1.Dallas Seavey,  2. Aliy Zirkle, 3.  Ramey Smith,  4. Aaron Burmeister, 5. Peter Kaiser

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Dallas, Aily, and Ramey have all left White Mountain this morning. 6 teams are in White Mountain taking their 8 hour rest. 3 teams have left Elim and are approaching White Mountain, 3 teams have left Koyuk, 6 teams have left Shaktoolik, 12 teams are in  Shaktoolik, 1 teams has left Unalakleet, 10 teams are in Unalakleet, 5 teams have left Kaltag,  1 team has left Nulato,  and 2 teams are in Galena,

RED LANTERN POSITION; Bob Chlupach who has left Galena

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 13th place and he has left Elim

SCRATCHED: Gerry Willomitzer in Unalakleet due to the team not enjoying the race.  He felt continuing was not in the best interest of the team.

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in White Mountain is 5 degrees F and lightly snowing. The weather in Elim is 3 degrees F and Fair. The weather in Koyuk is -2 and Partly Cloudy. The weather in Shaktoolik is -2 degrees F and it is cloudy and windy, The weather in Unalakleet is -11 degrees F and fair.  The weather in Kaltag is 4 degrees F and partly cloudy.

Answer to this mornings question: there was no question this morning.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I will have a question for you later today so come back this evening for the update and question.

FAN QUESTION: Send me some questions and comments today and maybe your question will be picked for the question of the day.

Watch for my next post when I name the winner of Iditarod 40.  It’s going to be late tonight so most of you probably won’t get to watch it.   There will be in Insider video of the finish that you will be able to view later.

Happy Dreams,

Gypsy

Daily Update- 3/13/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

The Front runners are almost in Nome.  Dallas Seavey is taking his 8 hour mandatory rest in White Mountain and several teams are approaching White Mountain.  Once a team finishes their mandatory rest, there is only 77 miles left to Nome.  Isn’t this exciting?

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/12/2013 early edition

TIME: 00:27

LEADERS: 1.Dallas Seavey,  2. Aliy Zirkle, 3.  Ramey Smith,  4. Aaron Burmeister, 5. Peter Kaiser

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Dallas is in White Mountain. Aily, Ramey, Aaron, and Peter have left Elim and are approaching White Mountain. 3 teams are in Elim, 6 teams have left Koyuk, 2 teams are in Koyuk.  1 team have left Shaktoolik, 14 teama are in  Shaktoolik, 2 teams have left Unalakleet, 7 teams are in Unalakleet, 10 teams have left Kaltag,  3 teams have left Nulato, 1 team is in Nulato, and 4 teams are in Galena,

RED LANTERN POSITION; Jan Steves who is in Galena

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 14th place and he has left Koyuk

SCRATCHED: None

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in White Mountain is -5 and fair. The weather in Elim is -2 and Fair. The weather in Shaktoolik is -8 and fair and windy, The weather in Unalakleet is -24 degrees F and fair.  The weather in Kaltag is 4 degrees F and fair. In Galena it’s -4 and fair.

Answer to last night’s question: The musher has a return bag at each checkpoint.  That is used to send back personal items.  Human and dog food is left for the locals.  Before that, other mushers are allowed to go through left over drop bags to look for dog food if needed.  Sleds can be sent to other checkpoints if needed and are sent back to ITC headquarters after the race to be picked up by the musher.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I will have a question for you later today so come back this evening for the update and question.

FAN QUESTION: Send me some questions and comments today and maybe your question will be picked for the question of the day.

I think I’m going to take an eight rest now.  It’s going to be really exciting once the teams leave White Mountain.  So what are your predicitons?

Until Later Today,

Gypsy



Meeting of the Minds in Unalakleet

by Sanka W. Dog

Rick Swenson Leaving Unalakleet

Rick Swenson Leaving Unalakleet

The checker’s list at Unalakleet this morning looked like Who’s Who in the long distance sled dog racing world – Lance Mackey, Martin Buser, Rick Swenson and Hugh Neff were amongst the teams resting on the coast. Consider the collection of Championship hardware between these men. Lance has four Iditarod and four Yukon Quest trophies. Martin has collected four Iditarod Championships. Rick is the only person to stand under the Burled arch in first place five times. Hugh Neff has yet to lead the field into Nome but he collected the Yukon Quest Trophy just a few weeks go. Jeff King was also in town this morning after scratching from the race late yesterday. He’s another four time Iditarod Champion and has one Quest trophy. Add all those Iditarod wins together – seventeen! This meeting of the minds took place while the air temperature was minus 30 degrees and the winds were calm.

As the sun climbed above the horizon, laughter could be heard from where the teams were parked. Martin Buser and Rick Swenson were sharing stories and laughing heartily. Lance Mackey was inside enjoying buttermilk pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs prepared by Middy Johnson, former Unalakleet mayor. Hugh Neff lead the Who’s Who group out of Unalakleet followed by the Martin and Rohn, Rick then Lance.

Hugh Neff supports literacy and is often seen wearing a red and white striped Cat in the Hat style hat. His dogs sport red and white striped dogs coats. Considering the overnight and early morning temperatures those unmistakable Neff coats were probably greatly appreciated by the canine athletes. It wasn’t the flashy coats that Martin and Hugh were talking about, it was the blue booties worn by Hugh’s team. Martin was sharing information about a new design with a tuck. Hugh listened intently before pulling the hooks and leaving the checkpoint for Shaktoolik.

Martin and Rohn Buser Prepare to Leave Unalakleet

Martin and Rohn Buser Prepare to Leave Unalakleet

The father-son Busers were parked beside each other on the slough. As Rohn and Martin fed and bootied prior to departing for Shaktoolik, it was like seeing double. The two men move and work with the dogs almost identically. As a matter of fact, when the men and dogs mushed under the Kouwegok Bridge just outside the checkpoint, they were dressed identically and it was impossible to tell who was following and who was leading.

Looking at these fellows who have collected all the Iditarod gold, one has to think perseverance. Last year, Rick Swenson broke his collarbone coming down the Happy River Steps – clearly a reasonable cause to scratch at Rainy Pass. But Rick found a way to adapt his sled driving and dog care to what his injury would allow and finished his 35th  Iditarod in twentieth place. Lance is a cancer survivor who says that if it wasn’t for his dogs and mushing life he might have given up when the recovery was really tough. A few days before the 2005 race, Martin shortened the second finger of his right hand using a band saw. Saying that his dogs had worked too hard to stay home, Martin adapted his driving and dog care so that he could manage with one strong hand and one very painful hand. These guys who hold a collective thirteen Iditarod championships are diligent, dedicated and determined.


MIttens and Ski Poles

by Sanka W. Dog
The population on the Kaltag to Unalakleet portage trail exploded over night. Looking at the Ionearth tracker, that area of the trail held the largest concentration of dog teams compared to anywhere else on the trail. As the mushers made the coast today, we heard one common comment – it was cold.

Stielstra Dogs Sleeping with Penguins

Stielstra Dogs Sleeping with Penguins

Iditarod veteran, Ed Stielstra, said the combination of the trail and the temperature was really tough. Sometimes it was frigid and then, it would almost feel warm but then in no time it’d be back to frigid. Stielstra lost one of his heavy super warm mittens on the trail. He really had to improvise to keep his thinly gloved hand warm. Kelly Griffin was Stielstra’s savior – she found the wayward mitten on the trail and carried it into Unalakleet where needless to say she made Ed’s day. In the checkpoint as temperatures warmed and the sun shown brightly, Stielstra’s dogs slept under fleece Penguin blankets made by his mother.

Speaking of Kelly Griffin, she wore her usual smile while enjoying breakfast inside the checkpoint. Having talked with Kelly at McGrath, I wanted to know how the next 300 plus miles had been for her team. Kelly said the dogs were really jazzed for the first third of the race and for now have lost some of their enthusiasm but are still running nicely. Running along the coast might revive their enthusiasm. Cold has enveloped the mushers since making the Yukon River at Ruby. Having run the Yukon Quest multiple times, Kelly was saying she never minds the cold, it’s the wind she doesn’t like.

First of Six Runs for Robertia

First of Six Runs for Robertia

Colleen Robertia was very glad to reach Unalakleet this morning. She’d decided to carry one of her dogs into the checkpoint – a big dog. It made the trip on the portage trail quite a bit harder. She was tired and decided to stay in Unalakleet for eight hours – a good rest in a comfortable place for athletes and coach. Robertia was happy with how her dogs were running but she was looking forward to making Nome. Her theory was to mentally tackle the remaining 300 miles to Nome one run at a time. It’s easier mentally to think of six fifty-mile runs compared to thinking of the whole distance. For Colleen, the sum of the parts will equal the whole and make it more attainable. On the way in from Kaltag, Robertia dropped her ski pole. Newton’s law of inertia crossed her mind – a body in motion remains in motion, a body at rest remains at rest… Thinking about what it would take to get the sled moving again, she decided to leave the pole behind. Mike Santos saw it along the trail, picked it up and delivered it to Colleen once he made the checkpoint. Getting the pole back seemed to be a good omen for Robertia as she started up the coast.


Daily Update- 3/12/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Have you been watching the race today?  How is your musher doing?  There have been  changes in the top five.  The top mushers are all still close together.  It’s still anyone’s race at this time.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/12/2012

TIME: 12:46

LEADERS: 1.Dallas Seavey,  2. Aliy Zirkle, 3.  Aaron Burmeister,  4. Ramey Smyth, 5. John Baker

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Dallas, Aily, Aaron and Ramey have left Koyuk.   John Baker and 3 more teams are in Koyuk.  7 teams have left Shaktoolik, 1 team is in  Shaktoolik, 7 teams have left Unalakleet, 9 teams are in Unalakleet, 10 teams have left Kaltag, 4 teams are in Kaltag, 4 teams have left Nulato, 3 teams are in Nulato, 1 team has left Galena and 3 teams have left Ruby.

RED LANTERN POSITION; Bob Chlupach who has left Ruby

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 15th place and he has left Shaktoolik

SCRATCHED: None

WITHDRAWN: None

WEATHER: The weather in Shaktoolik is -12 and fair, The weather in Unalakleet is -15 degrees F and fair.  The weather in Kaltag is -11 degrees F and fair. In Galena it’s -10 and fair.

Answer to this mornings question: When a musher scratches, he makes the decision by himself for a variety of reasons.  When a musher is withdrawn, the decision is made for the musher by 3 race officials.  It does not mean the musher has done anything wrong.  In the case of Jake Berkowitz, He has a severe cut on his hand. While it was stitched up at the checkpoint, it was felt he should not continue the race.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What happens to the supplies in the drop bags of the scratched mushers, or to the supplies left behind at the checkpoints?

FAN QUESTION: Send me some questions and comments today and maybe your question will be picked for the question of the day.

I haven’t gotten too many predictions today.  Please send me a comment at the end of this post and let me know who you think the winner will be and who the Red Lantern will go to.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Daily Update- 3/12/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

Wow! Things were busy last night on the trail.  There are 5 more scratches-(see below), and the leaders are getting closer to Nome.  The burled arches were constructed yesterday in Nome.  Who do you think will cross the finish line first?  When do you think the leader will make it to Nome?

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/12/2012  early edition

TIME: 1:05

LEADERS: 1.Dallas Seavey,  2. Aliy Zirkle, 3.  Aaron Burmeister,  4. John Baker,  5. Mitch Seavey

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: All 5 of the leaders have left Shaktoolik.  There is less than four hours between Dallas and Mitch.  3 teams are still in Shaktoolik, 5 teams are on their way to Shaktoolik, 7 teams are in Unalakleet, 13 teams are traveling to Unalakleet, 7 teams are in Kaltag, 3 teams are traveling to Kaltag, 5 teams are traveling to Kaltag, 2 teams are in Nulato, 2 teams are traveling to Nulato, 4 teams are in Galena, and 3 teams are in Rubyy.

RED LANTERN POSITION; Jan Steves who is in Ruby

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 15th place and he is in Unalakleet.

SCRATCHED; Wow! There were 5 scratches overnight.

Pat Moon scratched in Ruby due to a small number of dogs,

Lachlan ClarK scratched in Galena due to a small number of dogs

Josh Cadzow scratched in Kaltag because his team wasn’t enjoying the trip.

Jeff King scratched in Unalakleet and at the moment no reason has been given

WITHDRAWN: Jake Berkowitz was withdrawn from the race in Unalakleet.  He severely cut his hand out on the trail cutting up frozen fish to feed his dogs.

WEATHER: The weather in Shaktoolik is -15 and partly cloudy, The weather in Unalakleet is -20 degrees F and fair.  The weather in Kaltag is -19 degrees F and fair. In Galena it’s -20 and fair.

Answer to Yesterdays Question: The next and final Mandatory Rest Break must be taken in White Mountain

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What is the difference between scratching from the race and being withdrawn from the race?

FAN QUESTION: Send me some questions and comments today and maybe your question will be picked for the question of the day.

I’m looking for your predictions for the winner and for the Red Lantern winner.  Have a great day today.

Until later today,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Statistics

by Sanka W. Dog

John Baker, Defending Champion, into Unalakleet at Sunrise

John Baker, Defending Champion, into Unalakleet at Sunrise

In a race that’s this close, everyone is looking for some significant sign to predict who’ll be the 40th Iditarod champion. Past recipients of the Wells Fargo Gold Coast Award are listed on the trophy. Consider this – in fifteen of the past 19 years, the first musher to make the Gold Coast has also been the first musher to the burled arch in Nome. Here are the exceptions. In ’93 Rick Mackey made the Gold Coast first but Jeff King was first to the arch in Nome. In ’04 Kjetel Backen was first into Unalakleet then Mitch Seavey claimed the championship. In ’07 and ’08 Jeff King collected the Wells Fargo Gold Coast Award then Lance Mackey collected the Dodge truck. It won’t be long before we’ll know if Iditarod XL will follow the trend.


Daily Update 3/12/2012

Hi, Boys and Girls,

Does your family play a sport or enjoy an outdoor activity together? Tennis, hiking, basketball, or playing outside? The Iditarod race this year has family members enjoying the race’s challenges outdoors.

Here are some hints about the families in the race. You see if you can find out who they are.

Anna Berington Iditarod 2012

Anna Berington Iditarod 2012

Hint #1: A father and son are running this race, and it’s not the first time they’ve done it together.

Hint #2: Who are the twins in the 2012 Iditarod?

Hint #3: Find the grandfather, son, and grandson running the race. Here’s another clue to help you—the grandfather raced in the first Iditarod.

Use the Musher Listing under 2012 Race and the Race Archives under About Iditarod to help you figure out these family members in the race.

Have fun playing and being active outdoors!

Happy Trails,

Zuma


Daily Update- 3/11/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Time just seems to be slipping away from me today.  Oh yeah, it’s now daylight savings time.  Remember to check your clocks and make sure they are correct.  You don’t want to be late for school tomorrow!

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/11/2012

TIME: 12:46

LEADERS: 1. Aily Zirkle,  2. Dallas Seavey, 3.  Aaron Burmeister,  4. John Baker, 5. Mitch Seavey

Aily was first into Unalakleet and won the Wells Fargo Gold Coast Award.  She won a gold cup filled with $2500 in gold nuggets.  The award will be presented to her at the finishers banquet in Nome.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The top 8 mushers are all resting in Unalakleet. There are 19 mushers traveling to Unalakleet.  There are 2 mushers in Kaltag, 6 mushers on their way to Kaltag, 7 mushers in Nulato, 7 mushers on their way to Nulato, 6 mushers in Galena, 2 mushers on their way to Galena, 4 mushers in Ruby and 3 mushers on their way to Ruby.

RED LANTERN POSITION; Jan Steves who is between Cripple and Ruby

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 21st place and he is between Kaltag and Unalakleet.

WEATHER: The weather in Unalakleet is -20 degrees F and partly cloudy.  The weather in Kaltag is -14 degree F and fair. In Galena it’s -16 and fair.  It just seems to get colder as the race goes on.

SCRATCHED: None

Answer to This Mornings Question: An hour will be taken off everyone time to make up for the hour lost during daylight savings time.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Soon the mushers will be taking another 8 hour mandatory rest.  Where will that be?

FAN QUESTION: Anna asked if we have facebook.  Zuma does have a facebook page. If you have facebook, be sure to check it out.  Search for “Zuma the Reporter”. Zuma has some great posts there to read.

Now is the time to really start watching the front runners.  Will someone make a move to take over the lead? It’s just so exciting to watch when all the teams are this close.  It’s a close race from first musher to last musher this year.  Write me and tell me who you think will win.  Who do you think will get the Red Lantern award? Most of all enjoy following the race.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Daily Update-3/11/2012 The Early Edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

Good Morning.  I’m so confused.  I felt like I got up at my usual 5am getting up time but the clock said it was 6am.  It couldn’t be 6am because it was still very dark out and where I live it’s been just getting light out at 6am.  My human tried to explain this thing called Daylight Savings Time.  It sure doesn’t make sense to me, does it to you?  Anyway, I hope you remembered to reset your clocks to this new time.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/11/2012 early edition

TIME: 1:17

LEADERS: 1. Aily Zirkle, 2. John Baker, 3. Mitch Seavey, 4. Aaron Burmeister, 5. Dallas Seavey

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The top 5 have all left Kaltag along with 4 others.  There are 9 mushers in Kaltag, 5 mushers are on their way to Kaltag, 9 mushers are in Nulato, 6 mushers are on their way to Nulato, 8 mushers are in Galena, 6 mushers are on their way to Galena, 3 mushers are in Ruby, 4 mushers are on their way to Ruby, and 3 mushers are in Cripple.  13 mushers still need to complete their 8 hour mandatory rest.

RED LANTERN POSITION; Bob Chlupach who is in Cripple

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: Brent Sass is the lead Rookie in 18th place and he is in Kaltag.

WEATHER: The weather in Galena is -14 degrees F and fair.  The weather in Kaltag is -17 degree F and mostly cloudy. It’s a little chilly out there tonight (it’s still night in Alaska).

SCRATCHED: I posted last night that Zoya DeNure scratched but at that time no reason was being given.  Zoya scratched over concern for her dogs.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I have heard a lot of people talk about this time change thing. How do you think it will affect the mushers total time on the trail?

FAN QUESTION: JK asked asked how many dogs are needed to finish the race?

A musher must finish with at least 5 dogs.

This has been a great race so far.  Keep those questions and comments coming.

Until later today,

Gypsy



Unalakleet is Ready and Waiting

by Sanka W. Dog

Drop Bags Sorted and Alphabetized

Drop Bags Sorted and Alphabetized

With the Unalakleet checkpoint prepared, race volunteers and villagers have time for some speculation. Aliy Zirkle is in a good position up front. She reached Kaltag three hours ahead of second place defending champion John Baker. Zirkle rested six hours then began the 83-mile trek across the portage trail through the Nulato Hills to Unalakleet. Family members have arrived to greet Aliy and they expect to see her between 0300 and 0500 hours.

Aliy is running many of the same dogs that were on Allen Moore’s second place Quest Team – second only by 26 seconds to Hugh Neff. It’s common knowledge that dogs improve with miles and Quest miles are valuable training. Is it to Aliy’s advantage that husband and kennel partner, Moore ran the Quest team. Mushers don’t fare as well as dogs on the trail, and are commonly considered the weakest part of the team. Aliy comes to the trail strong and fresh. Is this to her advantage compared to 2012 Quest champion Hugh Neff and Quest finishers Lance Mackey, Brent Sass, Sonny Lindner, Kristy Berington, and Trent Herbst who covered the 1,000 mile trail?

Baker arrived at Kaltag at 14:32 followed by Mitch Seavey, Aaron Burmeister, Dallas Seavey and Jeff King with 90 minutes. This is a tight race. The question is, who will begin to cut rest and what effect will it have on the team and their position in the race. What about the teams that call this end of the trail home – John Baker (Kotzebue) and Aaron Bermeister (Nome). Will their dogs recognize the portage trail as the beginning of the trail to home? Time will tell.


Running Iditarod in Five Different Decades

by Sanka W. Dog

Bob Chlupach into McGrath

Bob Chlupach into McGrath

In 1977 Bob Chlupach attempted and completed his rookie Iditarod. In total he’s completed ten Iditarods over four decades. The 2012 race makes for running an Iditarod in each of five decades. After graduating with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University, Chlupach took a fisheries job in Juneau. Once he was introduced to sled dogs, the canine athletes fascinated him and his life went to the dogs – so to speak. While Bob was booting and harnessing in McGrath, he was willing to share stories about his lengthy stint with Iditarod and how things have evolved over the years.

In the early days, the big white bunny boots were common foot wear while on the runners. Over the years, mushers have worn a variety of types and brands of boots. Today it’s common to see mushers in a two-layer system – often a wool boot inside of a waterproof overshoe. On this particular race, Bob is wearing heavily insulated boots with a thick sole and removable wicking liners. Bob recalls the best thing about the big heavy bulbous looking bunny boots was that if you got wet, you could dump the water out and change socks to have dry feet.

Bob Booties Dogs in McGrath

Bob Booties Dogs in McGrath

Dog booties have come a long way from the 70’s. Many fabrics and many systems of fastening have come and gone to get to the cordura and stretchy Velcro model that’s common today. He recalls a time when mushers used black electrical tape to hold the booties in place.

As for clothing, Chlupach used to wear heavy wool outer layers that were an inch thick. Insulating materials have evolved to lighter highly efficient synthetic fibers. Base layers are synthetic, first insulating layers are polar fleece. Outer layers are fancy and technical, waterproof and windproof. Bob might stand on the runners of a sled made from aircraft aluminum but he still prefers wool for his clothing. Note the black and red plaid wool shirt he’s wearing prior to donning his technical synthetic insulated one-piece suit.

Food for the dogs has changed beyond description. Nutrition labels on the kibble now a days reads like USDA requirements for human food. Canine performance has been researched and studied over the years to the point of calling sled dogs the most efficient athletes in the world. Human performance researchers are studying canine athletes with the hope of improving performance in humans. Chlupach says it was standard to snack dogs with beaver in the past. Mushers now use tripe and lamb. Chlupach prefers beaver because of its natural nutritional value but it’s not as readily available.

When asked about the trail – the Happy River Steps, the Dalzell Gorge and the Farewell Burn, Bob said then and now, it depends on the bib draw. The front of the pack this year found the steps to be as friendly as anybody could remember them. By the time the back of the pack mushers hit the steps, there were deep ruts not wide enough for two dogs to run side by side so one dog would be up on a firm shoulder while the other dog would be running in the rut created by snowmachines and mushers riding the break to control the sled. In the early days of running the steps, mushers tried to gain control of the sled by binding the runners with either chain or heavy rope. None of today’s mushers bind their runners.

Chlupach Suiting Up to Leave McGrath

Chlupach Suiting Up to Leave McGrath

Bob told one story about the Farewell Burn. He and Joe Redington, Sr. were running the burn together; both were a bit the worse for wear. Joe, Sr. was bleeding from a gash on his forehead and Bob was bleeding from a cut lip. They were both wet and decided to stop and build a fire to dry off. Sitting around the fire Bob was ribbing Joe, Sr. and vice versa about being banged up with little knowledge of his own bleeding wounds. Pretty soon they realized the little fire they’d built was larger than needed for a couple of guys to dry clothing. They were wondering if they’d be the ones responsible for starting another Farewell Burn.

When thinking about a musher on the trail who’s run in five different decades, one probably would have guessed Dan Seavey in bib #100 running to celebrate the centennial of the Historic Iditarod Trail. Dan comes close but he didn’t run in the 1980’s.


Daily Update- 3/10/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

The race seems to be going so fast.  I hope you are having fun following your favorite team. I’ve been a little busy today.  My humans went away for a little while and I worked very hard on my kennel and housework.  Before I started my daily post, I

I'm just resting my eyes! Really!

thought I’d stretch out for just a minute, or two.  Well you see what happened. I didn’t even hear my humans come home. Sorry my post was a little late today.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/10/2012

TIME: 13:27

LEADERS: 1. Aily Zirkle, 2. MItch Seavey, 3. John Baker, 4. Aaron Burmeister, 5. Dallas Seavey

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Aily is the only musher so far to reach Kaltag.  Mitch, John, Aaron, Dallas, and Jeff King have left Nulato and are approaching Kaltag.  There are 10 mushers in Nulato, Eleven mushers have left Galena and are headed to Nulato, Six mushers are in Galena, Eleven mushers have left Ruby and are headed to Galena, Six mushers are in Ruby, Six mushers have left Cripple and are headed to Ruby, Four mushers are in Cripple and the last 2 are on their way to Cripple.

RED LANTERN POSITION; Bob Chlupach

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POSITION: This award is given to the Rookie who  is the first Rookie to cross the finish line.  Right now Brent Sass in 20th position is leading the rookies but John Cadzow in 21st place is only 21 minutes behind him. Right now there are 4 rookies

WEATHER: The weather in Nulato is 4 degrees F and cloudy but tonight prediction is -21 and clear. The weather in Ruby is 1 degree F and cloudy. The forecast for tonight is -14 degrees F and clear. It’s sure going to be cold on the trail tonight!

SCRATCHED: Zoya DeNure- I haven’t found a reason yet but will let you know when I do.

Answer to Yesterdays Question: The question had to do with the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius.  Well temperature is temperature but how we measure it differs by where you live.  Here in the U.S. we use Fahrenheit to measure temperature.  In many countries, like Canada they use Celsius. So for all our friends who use Celsius, there is an equation to convert Fahrenheit (F) to Celsius (C).  It’s (F-32) x 5/9

So let’s give this a try.  Todays temperature in Nulato was 4 F.  Let’s put that into the equation.  (4-32) x 5/9

-28   x 5/9

-140/9

-15.5

I hope I got that right.  I’m sure someone will correct me and help me out if I didn’t.

Answer to this Mornings Question: This mornings question had to do with when and where the mushers must take their 8 hour mandatory rest.  Well the rules state that each team, must take an 8 hour break somewhere along the Yukon River at a checkpoint of their choice. From what I have heard it’s to give the teams a good rest before the next part of the race which can be tough.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Since I gave you a question this morning I’m going to give you a break.  But be ready for tomorrow’s question!

FAN QUESTION: No Question today.  Keep those questions and comment coming.  I really enjoy them.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Daily Update-3/10/2012 early edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

I’m so excited to see what is going to happen next in the race that I can’t sleep.  So I thought I’d do another early edition report for you to read when you wake up.  It’s an exciting race out there.  Who do you think is going to win?

DATE: 3/10/2012   early edition

TIME: 00:58  I received some answers to what time it was when I posted yesterdays early edition.  Hope from a 3rd grade class in Kansas says their class is trying hard to learn 24 hour time.  Good job Hope and to all your classmates.

LEADERS: 1. Mitch Seavey, 2. Aily Zirkle, 3. Dallas Seavey, 4. John Baker, Aaron Burnmeister.  Mitch, Aily, and Dallas have been pretty consistent in the top 3 spots.  I’m watching this closely.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Mitch and Aily have left Galena.  21 mushers From Ruby to Galena have finished their mandatory 8 hour rest break.  The rest of the mushers are between Ruby and Ophir.

RED LANTERN POSITION: Bob Chlupach who is resting in Ophir.

SCRATCHED: None

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Hope you are looking for the answer to the question.  I’ll post the answer later today.  I have another question for you.  What is this mandatory 8 hour break and where does it have to be taken at?

Well I’m off to do some kennel work and then take a nap.  I’ll be back later today with another update for you.  Enjoy!

Until this afternoon,

Gypsy



Daily update-3/9/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Isn’t the race exciting.  How are your mushers doing?  There are still 3 mushers who have not finished their 24 hours rest. Have you been reading Sanka’s updates?  That lucky dog is traveling down the trail with the teams.  She’s having a great time reporting some interesting stories.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/9/2012

TIME: 14:48

LEADERS: 1. Aily Zirkle, 2. Mitch Seavey, 3. Dallas Seavey, 4. John Baker, 5. Aaron Burmeister

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Aily and Mitch have left Ruby.  Aily has a 5 hour lead on Mitch.  There are 16 mushers in Ruby.  20 mushers have left Cripple and are traveling to Ruby.  10 Mushes are in Cripple, 9 mushers have left Ophir and are headed to Cripple, 3 mushers are in Ophir, 2 mushers are traveling between Takotna and Ophir, and one musher is still in Takotna.

THE RED LANTERN POSITION: Dan Seavey, Dan is still in Takotna and has not finished his 24 hour rest yet.

WEATHER: The weather in Ruby is 4 degrees F and mostly sunny. Tonights forecast is -3 degrees F and mostly clear. In

SCRATCHED: No one since this mornings report.

Answer to yesterdays question: The red lantern is presented to the musher who crosses the finish line in Nome in last place.  Now I want you to do some research to find out why it’s called the Red Lantern?  Is there another name that it is sometimes called?

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I have been posted weather in degrees F or Fahrenheit.  Some of our readers from other countries report their weather in degrees C or Celsius.  What is the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius?

FAN QUESTION: Grey asked a good question.  It’s: Where does the Iditarod find all of the volunteers needed to run the event?

Volunteers come from all over the United States and some are even from other countries.  If you are going to be in Alaska during the race, you can sign up to be a volunteer at the Iditarod website.  There is a list of jobs you can sign up for and the Volunteer committee will match you to the jobs you would like to do.

Hope you are enjoying the race.  It’s the weekend now and I’d love to stay busy answering your comments and questions.  Please keep me busy :)   The busier I am the less chores I’ll have to do around the house!

Check back tomorrow for another update.

Until then,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Sibes Rock and Roll

by Sanka W. Dog

Debruin's Dogs Ready to Roll

Debruin's Dogs Ready to Roll

During the lower 48 supper hour on March 8th, there was a flurry of activity in sending teams out of McGrath. Pat Moon, leaving with 10 of his 12 dogs from Middy Johnson’s Unalakleet team departed at 17:26 followed by Hank Debruin’s Siberians at 17:41 and Karen Ramstead’s Sibes at 17:48. There wasn’t a reluctant starter in the whole bunch of dogs that left during the 1700 hour. Hank DeBruin finished putting booties on and attaching tug lines, walked back to his sled and said, “Okay boys.” In a unison move, 13 powerful Huskies stood, head and tails high and began howling, barking and lunging. They were more than ready to go, no questions about it.


Daily Update-3/9/2012 early edition

Hi Boys and Girls,

This is a quick morning update due to so many changes during the night

DATE: 3/9/2012

TIME: 00:41  (can you figure out what time that is?)

LEADERS: 1. Aily Zirkle, 2. Mitch Seavey, 3. John Baker, 4. Dallas Seavey, Ray Redintonton.  All have left Cripple within less than 3 hours of each other.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The mushers are spread out from past Cripple to McGrath.  Almost all the mushers have completed their 24 hour mandatory rest.

SCRATCHED: There have been 2 scratches.  Ryan Redington scratched in Takotna due to personal reasons.  Wade Marrs scratched in Ophir due to concern about his dogs.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Hope you are looking for the answer to the question.  I’ll post the answer later today.

Hope you are enjoying the race.  I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and questions.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Hello Moose!

by Sanka W. Dog

Moose in McGrath

Moose in McGrath

Moose are having a hard winter. The abundance of snow has made it very difficult for them to forage for food and it’s made it difficult for the large hoofed animals to move around. Moose are seen in places they normally wouldn’t be found, places were it’s easier to find food and places where it’s easier to move about. Upon returning to the bunkhouse from the McGrath checkpoint, there were some folks peeking around the corner of a building carefully and quietly taking pictures. After passing some large snow covered vehicles, I suddenly saw the subject of their photos and found myself standing a little too close to this moose. Thankfully the critter was focused on food and climbed up onto a pile of snow to nibble on low tree branches. Word has it that the moose has climbed high snow banks then onto the roof of the cafe to munch tree branches.  Mushers are very aware of the heightened possibility of encountering moose on the trail to Nome.

Nibbling a light lunch in McGrath

Nibbling a light lunch in McGrath


Daily Update- 3/8/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Hi Everyone,  Well most of the mushers are finishing their 24 hour mandatory break and are starting down the trail again.  Now is when we will see the leaders emerge.  I hope you are enjoying the race.  Please don’t forget to write me with comments and questions.  I love reading  and answering your questions.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/8/2012

TIME: 12:37

LEADERS: 1. Jim Lanier, 2. Trent Herbst, 3. Mitch Seavey, 4. Aily Zirkle, 5. Dallas Seavey.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The first 31 mushers have left Ophir.  All have completed their 24 hour rest excep Jim Lanier and Trent Herbst, there are five teams in Ophir, 3 teams traveling to Ophir, 13 teams are in Takotna, one team headed to Takotna, 11 teams are still in McGrath and one team is on the way to McGrath.

WEATHER: The weather in Takotna is 18 and cloudy with a forecast of -10 and partly cloudy tonight. The weather in McGrath is 18 and cloudy with a forecast tonight of -15 and mostly cloudy.     i

SCRATCHED: The first scratch of the race is Silvia Furtwangler from Norway.  She scratched in Nikolai due to concern for her own health.

THE RED LANTERN POSITION: Dan Seavy.  Dan has left Nikolai and is headed to McGrath.  He has not taken his 24 hour rest yet.

Answer to yesterdays question: Since the mushers don’t all leave the start line at the same time, that would give an advantage to the mushers who left first.  So to even everyones time, a race differential is initiated during the 24 mandatory rest.  Only the musher who left Willow last will actually rest for 24 hours.  The musher next to last will rest for 24 hours and 2 minutes.  The musher who left first, Ray Redington will rest for 26 hours and 10 minutes.  That’s the amount of time between when he left and when number 67 Ryan Redington left.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Today I listed the Red Lantern position for the first time.  What is the Red Lantern?

FAN QUESTION: Joyce asked: What is “Happy River Steps’? Why is it called that?
Answer: The Happy River Steps comes off of the Happy River. It is one of the more hazardous sections of the Iditarod Trail. It is very steep with switchbacks.

Hope you are enjoying the race.  I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and questions.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Race Picture Comes into Focus

Ray Redington, Jr. Bib #2

Ray Redington, Jr. Bib #2

by Sanka W. Dog

Who’s leading the race? In the early days and miles of the race, it’s a mathematical challenge to know who’s leading the race. But once the teams have taken the long twenty-four hour layover, the picture comes into focus. When a driver declares the team’s mandatory rest, they’ll be staying put for a full twenty-four hours plus the start differential time.

For example, consider the bookend Redington brothers, Ray Jr. and Ryan. Ray Jr. drew bib #2. Ryan drew bib #67. Teams leave the restart in Willow at two-minute intervals. In order for the first musher making the burled arch in Nome to be the Champion, time adjustments have to be made. This differential is added

Ryan Redington Bib #67

Ryan Redington Bib #67

to the long rest, where ever and when ever the musher decides to take it. Ray Jr. took his mandatory layover in Takotna while Ryan chose to rest with his team in McGrath. Being the final musher to leave Willow, Ryan can leave the checkpoint exactly 24-hours after he checks in. On the other hand, after the twenty-four hour rest, Ray Jr. on the other hand has to wait an additional 130 minutes to make up for the head start he had on Ryan. Apply the differential to Jim Lanier and Trent Herbst as they press on to Ruby where they will probably take the long rest. Lanier wearing bib #3 will wait an addition 128 minutes to leave the layover checkpoint and bib #16, Trent Herbst, will add 102 minutes of wait time. Once this happens, the picture will come into focus.


Zoom Lens – Siberians in McGrath

DeBruin Spreading Straw for his Siberian

DeBruin Spreading Straw for his Siberian

The Siberians and a whole lot of other teams are resting in McGrath. Hank Debruin came off the Kuskokwim Wednesday afternoon at 16:52 followed by Karen Ramstead at 17:26. Folks tend to flock to the checker’s station to see the handsome Siberians. Both teams came in with a lot of spirit – tails and heads held high and leaning into their traces while waiting for their musher and checker to finish business. Both are staying in McGrath. As DeBruin and Ramstead spread straw, the dogs finished arranging the straw to their liking then settled down anticipating dinner. With the day as warm as it was, Debruin said he stopped often to allow his dogs to cool off. These thick coated working dogs whose ancestors are from Siberian are well suited to cold harsh environments. The forecast is for cooler weather to move in which the Siberians will appreciate.


Daily update- 3/7/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Well it’s day three of Iditarod 40.  The teams are moving really well down the trail.  Several teams have declared their 24 hour mandatory rest.  Congratulations to Aily Zirkle for being the first musher into McGrath and winning the Penn Air Spirit of Alaska Award.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/7/2012

TIME: 12:57

LEADERS: 1. Martin Buser, 2. Rohn Buser, 3.  Aily Zirkle, 4. John Baker, 5. Mitch Seavey.

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: Martin and Rohn have both left Takotna. The next 28 mushers are in Takotna, where many have declared their 24 hour mandatory rest. Six mushers have left McGrath and are on their way to Takotna.  Twelve mushers are in McGrath where some of them will be taking their 24 hour rest.  The rest of the mushers have either left Nikolai, are in Nikolai, or have left Rohn and are on their way to Nikolai.

WEATHER: The weather in Takotna is 27 degrees F and it is lightly snowing.  The forecast is for the temperature to drop to -1 tonight. The weather is McGrath is also 27 degrees F with light snow.  McGraths temperature tonight is to drop to -8 degrees F.

SCRATCHED: No one.

Answer to yesterdays question: The world is divided into time zones.  When it’s 8am in Alaska, it’s 9am in the  Pacific time zone, 10 am in the Mountain time zone, 11am in the Central time zone and noon in the Eastern time zone.  In Hawaii it would be 6am.  What time zone do you live in?  So this update was posted at 12:57 Alaskan time.  What time was that where you live?

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Once all the mushers take their 24 mandatory rest, their true positions will be known.  What happens to the rest times for this to happen?

FAN QUESTION: This was a great question that I didn’t know the answer to and found very interesting.  I hope you do to. Thanks for the great question.

My fourth grade in Ashland, Massachusetts would like to know why the finish line is called the Red Fox Olson Memorial.
Wow, you had me stumped with this question. I found this answer in Wikipedia:

“The official finish line is the Red “Fox” Olson Trail Monument, more commonly known as the “burled arch”, in Nome. The original burled arch lasted from 1975, until it was destroyed by dry rot and years of inclement weather in 2001. The new arch is a spruce log with two distinct burls similar but not identical to the old arch. While the old arch spelled out “End of Iditarod Dog Race”, the new arch has an additional word: “End of Iditarod Sled Dog Race”.”

Hope you are enjoying the race. Remember as more mushers take their 24 hour break things will quiet down some.

I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and questions.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Zoom Lens – Baker follows Zirkle into McGrath

Team Baker comes into McGrath Checkpoint

Team Baker comes into McGrath Checkpoint

by Sanka W. Dog

Eight hours after the PenAir Spirit of Alaska award was presented, thirty more teams have made their way into the checkpoint of McGrath. John Baker followed Aliy Zirkle by about half an hour. Baker, Zirkle and nearly the entire front half of the field continued right on to Takotna, 18 miles up the trail. It’s likely that most will take their twenty-four hour rest in the little village of fifty-five residents. Takotna, known for its delicious abundant meals and wide variety of pies has been called the friendliest little checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail. In the middle of the race, father and son, Martin and Rohn Buser came into McGrath at 0328 and 0438 respectively, spent a couple of hours then took off. Mushers in the second half of the pack are likely to take their long rest in McGrath as parking space as well as peace and quiet is limited in Takotna.


Zoom Lens – Zirkle Earns Award at McGrath

by Sanka W. Dog

PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award Claimed by Aliy Zirkle

PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award Claimed by Aliy Zirkle

Aliy Zirkle and her 16 dogs climbed off the Kuskokwim River to the luminary lined trail that leads to the checkpoint. Enthusiastic spectators gathered on the mild winter evening with light snow falling and northern lights flickering while a hazy full moon illuminated the checkpoint. One wouldn’t expect to experience all of that on the same evening but in Alaska any weather combination is possible.

Next to the checker and vet team that would greet Zirkle stood PenAir Excutive, Danny Seybert holding the coveted Spirit Mask that’s presented to the first musher to McGrath. PenAir has presented the award since the mid 90’s. He confirmed that Aliy is the first woman to earn the award.

The spirit mask was created by Bristol Bay artist, Orville Lund. Seybert explained that every being has a spirit. In Iditarod, the spirit of the musher and the spirit of the dog is joined as one. The icon created by Lund for the mask depicts the blending of the spirits. It is a beautiful delicate piece of art that will be transported to Nome by Seybert and presented to Zirkle again at the Finisher’s Banquet.


Zoom Lens – Zirkle and Baker race to McGrath

Flying over the Alaska Range in a Cessna is a trip! The two hour flight is filled with incredible scenery on clear days – including an awesome view of Denali. The mountain wasn’t out today but there was plenty of scenery going over Rainy Pass. Traveling above the trail as it runs above the Dalzell River Gorge and on to the Rohn Safety Cabin.

Students welcome mushers to McGrath

Students welcome mushers to McGrath

Within a couple of hours, the first musher will be into McGrath. It looks as if Aliy Zirkle will be the first woman in recent history to collect the Spirit Mask awarded by PenAir to the first musher into McGrath. Aliy is a perennial top finisher in the Last Great Race and is the only woman to have won the Yukon Quest, another 1,000 miles wilderness race. Her husband, Allen Moore took second in the 2012 Quest by only twenty-six seconds to Hugh Neff. Many of Allen’s dogs are running the current Iditarod with Aliy.

It’s way too early in the race to make predictions about who’ll make Nome’s Front Street first. In the meantime, Zirkle is having a great race. Defending Champion John Baker left Nikolai with Zirkle but she’s moving a little faster and is a couple of miles ahead of John about fifteen miles out of McGrath.

Born to Run,
Sanka W. Dog


Daily update- 3/6/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

Well it’s day two of Iditarod 40.  How are you enjoying the race so far.  The mushers are still pretty close together and moving well down the trail.  Most have finished the “Happy Steps” which is considered one of the toughest parts of the trail.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Now for today’s update:

DATE: 3/6/2012

TIME: 12:44

LEADERS: 1. Aliy Zerkle,  2. John Baker,  3.  Lance Mackey,  4.  Hugh Neff,  5. Ray Redington

WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The leaders are all in Nikolai along with the next 9 mushers,    , there is a LARGE group traveling between Rohn and Nikolai.  The rest of the mushers are either in Rohn or on their way to Rohn.

WEATHER: The weather in Nikolai is 21 degrees F and mostly cloudy, and in the Rohn area it’s 9 degrees F and clear.

SCRATCHED: No one

Answer to Yesterday’s Question: For the Iditarod sled dog race, Military or 24 hour time is used.  It’s a way to tell immediately if you are talking about am or pm.  For example 8:00 is 8am while 20:00 is 8 pm.  So yesterdays time of 13:30 is really 1:30 pm.  See below for the time conversion chart.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: While we’re talking about time- If it’s 8am in Alaska, do you know what time it is where you live?

FAN QUESTION: Penny askedcan you tell me where to find the kind of “press releases” I used to see two years ago? The kind that tell why teams leave dogs behind and that kind of thing? My class likes to know why the number of dogs changes.”

answer: http://iditarod.com/resources/press-media/

I hope you are enjoying the race.  I sure am.  I’ll have another update for you tomorrow.  Please send me your comments and questions.

Gypsy


24 hour time

1 am    1:00                          1 pm   13:00

2am     2:00                          2 pm   14.00

3 am    3:00                          3 pm   15:00

4 am    4:00                          4 pm   16:00

5 am    5:00                          5 pm   17:00

6 am    6:00                          6 pm   18:00

7am     7:00                          7 pm   19:00

8am    8:00                           8pm     20:00

9 am   9:00                           9pm    21:00

10 am 10:00                       10 pm  22:00

11 am  11:00                      11 pm  23:00

Noon  12:00                        Midnight 0:00


Daily Update March 5, 2012

Hello, Boys and Girls,

The Iditarod started March 4, and all the mushers are working their ways down the trail to Rainy Pass and beyond. The mushers first went to Yentna Checkpoint. Some of them went through that checkpoint very quickly, signing in on the checker sheet, and some of them stayed for a while. The checker sheet is where the race volunteer checker writes the bib number of the musher, how many dogs the musher has at that time, the time and date of the arrival, and gets a musher signature.

The volunteer checkers follow this procedure at every checkpoint. Then, another volunteer, called a COMMS volunteer, emails this race information to race statistics and race communications (COMMS) headquarters in Anchorage. This is how the Current Race Standings get updated with new information. There are race statistics and race communications volunteers working 24/7 to send and receive the information.

At the first few checkpoints, all the mushers are still pretty close together, so Yentna and Skwentna deal with all the teams coming in and out within about 18 hours. Those are some busy volunteers! The vets are busy checking the dogs, too.

Keep watching the race standings and the Iditarod Insider for video and GPS tracking of the teams.

Happy Trails,

Zuma


Daily update- 3/5/2012

Hi Boys and Girls,

How exciting is this! The 40th Iditarod has started.  I was able to watch it yesterday on my computer.  Did any of you get to see the start.  The dogs were so excited.  They were jumping up and down at the start line and couldn’t wait to go.  Good luck to all the teams.  We’ll see you in Nome soon!

Now for today’s update:

TIME: 13:30


LEADERS: 1. Ray Redington, 2. Hugh Neff, 3. Lance Mackey, 4. Aliy Zirkle, and 5. Jim Lanier


WHERE ARE THE MUSHERS: The leaders are in Rainy Pass, There are 21 mushers at Rainy Pass and they appear to be resting,  there are 19 mushers traveling between Finger Lake and Rainy Pass.  The rest of the musher are either in Finger Lake or Skwentna.


WEATHER: The weather along the trail from Skwentna to Rainy Pass is around 9 degrees fahrenheit and it is lightly snowing.


SCRATCHED: No one


QUESTION OF THE DAY: The time of todays update was 13:30.  What kind of time is 13:30?


FAN QUESTION: Send me your questions and maybe you’ll see your question here.


Hope you are enjoying the race.  I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and questions.  Check back tomorrow for another update.

Until tomorrow,

Gypsy



Ceremonial Start

Hi Boys and Girls,
The last musher just left the start line of the Ceremonial Start. I bet some of you are wondering why there are two starts to the Iditarod. The Ceremonial start is on the first Saturday of March every year. It takes place on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. The dog trucks are lined up down 4th Avenue and on the side roads in starting order. The mushers and fans are able to talk with each other, have pictures taken and some fans are lucky enough to pet the dogs. A lot of mushers put special bandannas or dog coats on their dogs that represent their teams. There are 12 dogs on the ceremonial start team instead of the 16 that will be on the restart teams. A few of these dogs may not be on the team headed to Nome tomorrow. All the dogs still have had to have been checked out by the ITC vets but for one reason or another did not make the final team.
Every sled during the Ceremonial start has an Idita-rider. An Idita-rider is a person who has paid for the privilege to ride in a sled for the 11 miles they go today. What a great experience for these people. All teams also have what’s called a drag sled. A drag sled is a second sled attached to the first sled. This helps slow the team down. The dogs are so excited and there are so many spectators along the trail that a drag sled really helps keep the speed down and keeps it safer for everyone.
Once the teams finish the 11 miles they pack up the dogs and their sleds. They will now make their final preparations for the restart tomorrow. Hopefully they will all get a good meal and a good nights sleep.
I can’t wait until the start tomorrow.
See you on the trail,
Gypsy


Getting Ready

Hi Boys and Girls,
In a few short hours, Iditarod 40 will begin. Today is the Ceremonial Start in downtown Anchorage. Have you ever wondered what it takes to get the roads of downtown ready for dog teams to travel on? Dog teams have different requirements than cars do. They need snow covered roads. Since the roads are usually cleaned for cars to travel on, where does the snow come from for the dog teams?
Last night there was a rumble of trucks around Anchorage. Dump trucks and huge snow blowers were busy gathering snow from all over town. The dump trucks then went to 4th Avenue and dumped the snow in the road. Other equipment then moves the snow around and prepares the trail. I think this part of the trail is 2 miles long. So it’s a busy night getting a road for cars turned into a trail for dog teams.
When the last team leaves the chute today, and the fans and dog trucks head out, the process will reverse. The roads will be cleared so that cars can once again drive and park downtown. It usually takes less than 24 hours from start to finish.
Now that downtown is ready, hope you are. Check back often for posts and updates.
See you on the trail,
Gypsy


Zoom Lens – Musher Banquet XL

by Sanka W. Dog

In just a couple of days, teams will be passing through the Yentna Station checkpoint at mile forty of the 40th Iditarod. Sixty-six mushers drew bib numbers night at the Musher Banquet. Joe Redington, known to all as the father of the Iditarod has a pair of grandsons who’ll be the bookends of the mushers leaving the starting line. Ray Redington, Jr. drew bib number two and his brother, Ryan Redington drew bib number 67. The memory of founder, Joe Redington, will be honored as Ray, Jr. leads the teams down 4th Avenue for the Ceremonial Start and across Willow Lake for the Restart and with Ryan as the final musher to leave the chute.

Yukon Fox, Emmitt Peters (photo M. Dobson)

Yukon Fox, Emmitt Peters (photo M. Dobson)

Emmitt Peters of Ruby attended the musher banquet this evening. He is considered an Elder in his Athabascan village, likewise for Iditarod. In 1975 during Iditarod III, Peters claimed the honor of champion AND rookie of the year. He is the last rookie to ever win the race. They call him the Yukon Fox. In the first two races, it took twenty days for the champion to reach Nome. Using races from the two previous years, Emmitt planned and strategized.   He is credited with turning Iditarod into a race when he claimed victory in just fourteen days. Peters has reached Nome in thirteen of his 14 fourteen attempts. In seven of those runs he finished in the top ten.  Emmitt’s last and best race was in 2000 when he reached Nome in 12 days.

God Speed to all the mushers.

Born to Run,
Sanka


Bib Numbers

Hi Boys and Girls,

Last night at the Musher Banquet, the mushers picked their bib numbers.  This number tells in what order the mushers will leave the start line.  For a complete list go to:  http://iditarod.com/race/musher-listing/

Here you can see what number your favorite musher drew.

Gypsy


Drop Bags

Hi Boys and Girls,

While we’re waiting for the start of Iditarod 40 I wanted to tell you some of the preparations that have taken place in the past few weeks.  The mushers  had to get all their supplies ready for the trail.  Have you ever wondered how they get all the food they and the dogs will need and the rest of their supplies from Anchorage to Nome?  The sleds are just not big enough to carry 9-15 days of supplies.  So what’s a musher to do?  They prepare drop bags that are provided by the Iditarod Trail Committee.

Now you’re thinking “What’s a drop bag?”  A drop bag is a bag for the mushers to use to  send supplies they will need down the trail.  Mushers pack dog food, human food, booties, clothes, boots, etc into these bags.  Each bag must have the checkpoint name and mushers name on it.  The mushers then take the bags to Airland Transport in Anchorage. There the bags are weighed.  A bag can weigh no more than 60 pounds and a musher can only have 3 bags per checkpoint. Then the bags are sorted by checkpoint. When all the drop bags are received and sorted, they are flown out by the Iditarod airforce.

Mushers are also able to send extra equipment out on the trail like extra sleds, runners for the sleds, extra boots, dog bowls, and buckets.  This equipment goes with the extra sleds and are not part of the drop bags.  This equipment is also flown out to a designated checkpoint.

Next question is “how does the musher know how much to send to each checkpoint?”. Mushers make plans of what they hope their race will look like.  They decide where the best place to take breaks will be.  So they will send more supplies to where they plan to take the mandatory 24 hour break, than to a checkpoint they don’t plan to stay a long time at.  So what happens if a musher has to change the race plan?  A musher needs to remember where the supplies were sent and plan accordingly.

Not all supplies that are sent to the checkpoints are used.  Extra dog food left behind will be used at the discretion of the officials.  No food, dog or human, is sent back in the drop bags.  Other supplies such as sleds, extra equipment, and clothing are sent back to ITC headquarters and can be picked up by the mushers when the race has finished.

Well I hope you are excited for the race start tomorrow.  I will be starting my daily updates so come back and read the posts often.

Happy Trails,

Gypsy

Teacher on the Trail 2013 Finalists

Hi Boys and Girls,


Can you believe that it’s almost time for Iditarod XL to begin.  Are you getting ready?  Have you picked a musher to follow yet?  I’m just so excited, I hope you are too.


Every year the Iditarod Education Department picks a teacher to be the Teacher on the Trail.  Do you know what that is? It’s a special program that teachers can apply for.  The chosen teacher spends 3 1/2 weeks in Alaska doing presentations, visiting schools along the trail, and flying from checkpoint to checkpoint. The Teacher on the Trail then prepares lessons and reports from the trail.  I bet your teacher has used some of those lessons in your classroom.


What does a teacher have to do to become the Teacher? They first have to fill out an application.  The application takes months to complete.  I’ve looked at that application and it’s the biggest project I’ve ever seen. Then the selection committee selects 3 finalists who will go to Alaska the week before the race start. They do a presentation at the teachers workshop, have an interview with the selection committee, complete an assignment/project, go to the banquet, the start and the restart of the race. They meet many of the mushers and K9 athletes.  I hear the finalists give those K9 athletes oodles of belly rubs.  When the race is over, the selection committee will meet and select the next Teacher on the Trail.  What a great experience for those 3 teachers.


Every year I get the chance to talk with the three finalists. They are very special teachers and I’d like you to meet them too.


betterBETSY ANDERSON

Betsy is a 3rd grade teacher from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She has been teaching in East Grand Rapids for 20 years.  Before that she taught in American schools in the Dominican Republic and Egypt. Betsy attended the 2008 Iditarod Summer Teacher Workshop. She has used that experience to teach the Iditarod in her classroom all year long. Her students are busy reading, writing, thinking, doing math, and using technology all because of the Iditarod.  Betsy also says she’s a “science nut” and works to make her lessons both “hands on” and “mind on”.


Betsy has set some goals for herself.   She said her personal goal as TOTT is “ to push myself beyond anything I have done before”.  She said she wants to meet and learn from all the people who work in all aspects of the race- the mushers, the volunteers, etc.    Her professional goal is to inspire other teachers to use the Iditarod in their classrooms in a meaningful way that leads to long term learning.  Those are great goals aren’t they.


Betsy is married and has three sons. She enjoys gardening, skiing, sailing, traveling, spending time with her family and her dog Addie.  And guess what? Addie also has a goal to be a “reading dog”.  Isn’t that cool.


LindaLINDA FENTON

Linda is a 3rd grade teacher from a small town in Central Wisconsin.  She has been teaching the Iditarod in her classroom for the past 12 years.  Her students are busy reading books, doing research projects, choosing mushers, studying maps and many other activities.


Linda is excited about meeting the people who make the Iditarod possible.  She’s even more excited about meeting the dogs of the Iditarod.  I hope she’s able to meet some of my canine friends and give them some belly rubs.  They’ll really like that.


Linda is married and has three sons.  In the summer when school is out, she owns an Ice Cream Shop. Wow! How cool is that.  She also enjoys skiing, walking, running, knitting, reading, and swimming.


232323232 fp635;9_nu=3434_683_2_3_25256833;4253ot1lsiLEEANNE FOX

LeeAnne is a 5th grade teacher who teaches in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  LeeAnne says it’s because of the energy and enthusiasm of this years class and her past classes that enabled her to apply for TOTT.  In teaching the Iditarod to her classes, LeeAnne has found that everyone can make a connection to the race whether it be to a musher or to some aspect of the race.

This year her class is corresponding with a class at Nome Elementary.  Doesn’t that sound neat! I bet her class is learning a lot about the state of Alaska and the people living there.


LeeAnne has also set some goals for herself.  She said her personal goal for Teacher on the Trail  “is to showcase the power of teaching this amazing race”. She said “the race like life, is about having the courage to push yourself beyond your knowledge of your personal best. To push yourself beyond what you could have imagined possible.”  Her professional goal “is to stress the versatility and ease of the Iditarod Race as a teaching tool.  Anyone can teach the Iditarod, any level, any subject, there is something for everyone.”


LeeAnne lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, a cat and a dog.  She enjoys hiking, and backpacking.  She has run in the Chicago Marathon and has hiked Mt. Washington in the winter and three 14,000 feet mountains in Colorado.  Wow! I’m tired just thinking about all that hiking.

*****


Wouldn’t you like to be in one of these teachers classes?  They really are special teachers.  I wish them all the best of luck.  Do you know a special teacher that would make a good Teacher on the Trail?  If so, ask them to apply and maybe next year, they’ll be a finalist.


Happy Trails

Gypsy


Zoom Lens – Junior Iditarod

Dog Team into Yentna Station

Dog Team into Yentna Station

The Juniors arrive at Yentna Station Roadhouse about the same time the snow begins to fall. They’ll take a ten-hour rest before running seventy-five miles to the finish at Willow.  The trail from the Knik Lake to Yentna Station was hard and fast.   These dogs are looking forward to a hearty meal and a nice bed of straw.

Born to Run,

Sanka W. Dog