YAHOO!!! Jeff is having a brilliant race!!
But, believe me, it is a stressful position to be in; leading the race with several of the best, most experienced, determined and very motivated dog drivers on the planet hot on his heels. Jeff and his team definitely have command of the event right now as he is leaving Nulato and headed for Kaltag, a pivotal checkpoint in this Last Great Race. From what I can see of Lance and his team however, they are scary. The team looks great, had a similar run time to Nulato and Lance is fired up and on the hunt. This is reminiscent of the 2008 race only the team positions are switched.
Mitch Seavey and Hans Gatt also look like they are moving well down the Yukon. Three hours tends to be a safe lead, but barely. That constitutes one rest and if a team is willing and able to forego one rest break and still remain on their game…. well, as we know, “It ain’t over ’til its over.” There are only seven more runs for the teams to make until they reach Nome. Hans made up 20 minutes on Jeff in the last run. If he can do that seven more times…. well, you do the math. It definitely adds some excitement to our speculations.
I have not heard how the wind is on the Yukon. The weather in the videos has looked perfect and the temperatures seem to be remaining very manageable. Looking forward to weather on the coast, it appears like it should hold up well with mild winds and temperatures as well. As we perennial spectators know, the coast can really shake things up and has provided many an Iditarod tale of man against nature and race-altering events. My best guess is that this year the teams will be granted a reprieve.
As for the dropped dogs, Jeff left Alamo in Ruby and Colonel in Ophir to be chauffeured home. We don’t have them here yet so no story to tell there. Dave left young Stewart in McGrath.
We are approaching the most exciting portion of the race as the teams make their way to Kaltag and then overland to the coast. They are definitely on a record pace. I usually figure they will be in Unalakleet by noon on Sunday. They are likely to be there around 2:00 am. which is well ahead of the past years. Hold on to your hats!
My prediction: this is going to be another fabulous King-Mackey Show!