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Donna Newsletter – Part 8

It is all becoming clear now. Lance had the fastest time coming into Kaltag and is headed to Unalakleet after a short rest. He is still very strong and will need something cataclysmic to de-throne him. Sebastian, the enterprising fellow, looks determined to give Lance some heat from behind. He arrived 5th in to Kaltag but rushed back out onto the trail again. Cutting his break in Kaltag can be deadly… he may very well be planning to camp on the trail, not so much for what’s happening in front, but for what he has looking at him from behind. I expect Lance to do the 90 run to the coast without a rest which will put him arriving into Unalakleet late this afternoon. Mitch, Hugh and Jeff are making valiant efforts. Run times show us that it took Jeff a bit longer that Mitch… you never know, one potty stop or snack stop can take up that 15 minutes. John Baker is rallying and his team is moving very well. I am excited for him to have a strong team on the coast.

A 6 hour rest in Kaltag is fairly standard. This is an atypically close race with many strong teams breathing in each other’s air. The fun of watching this year’s event is exactly that; so many nice, strong, and healthy teams. The conditions are been great for that but it also demonstrates how far we’ve come in the advancement of dog care and training in this sport.

Also of significance is that their have been very few scratches from the race this year. I was devastated with Bjornar’s withdrawal. He is a great contender and had a fabulous team. His injury was of serious enough concern that he truly had no choice. We wish him the very best and truly hope that he is able to compete in the race in 2010.

Well, on to Unalakleet! It is usually just over two days from the time they leave this coastal village until they arrive into the cheering throngs in Nome. Keep your fingers crossed….

Comments

  1. The race in unbelievable. Go Jeff and team! The strength and stamina of the dogs is amazing, hard for us who do not mush to comprehend. The athletes of sled dog racing and their leaders have hooked us all into a wonderful experience.
    Again, thanks for sharing your expertise Donna. It helps us understand. You are a great ambassador for the sport. A gracious and analytical commentator and competitor, who’s example is one that all can learn from, no matter what the sport.
    Judi

  2. I am glued to the race updates from here in London! I can’t believe Lance is making such good speed all the time and he is so far ahead – something’s gotta give surely? Doesn’t that man need sleep? I am just visualizing Jeff making a photofinish on that line in Nome! Go Jeff!

  3. Yes, indeed, it is an interesting race this year. I have only been following the Iditarod since 2005. I can’t remember if other years had so many teams in contention. But this year, wow!!!

    GO TEAM!!!!

  4. Well I am foolishly still up and Jeff and Hans turned around after spending all of that time on the ice. I am wishing them well after a night of some Iditarod tragedy. I hope you let us know the story. He and Hans are wasting no time.

    Dianna

  5. I have been a Jeff King fan and an Iditarod fan since our visit to Husky Homestead in June 2007. Watched my first Iditarod via website 2008 and hooked again this year. Love that GPS!!! Whatever position Jeff is in, he is a true champion – always looking out for his team. From the first dog to cross the start line, to the last dog to cross the finish line – every one is a champion..

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