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Iditarod – Day 3 — Why Now?
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Iditarod – Day 3

Iditarod map even yearsThe leaders are beyond Rainy Pass and everyone is beyond Skwentna. Next up is the descent to Rohn and then the stumps and moose on the Burn into Nikolai. The most current standings [11:30PM CST] are:

At Rohn
1 Sebastian Schnuelle (35)
2 John Baker (8)

Beyond Rainy Pass
3 Warren Palfrey (27)
4 Ray Redington, Jr (9)
5 Zack Steer (47)
6 Paul Gebhardt (7)
7 Sven Haltmann (42)
8 Hugh Neff (56)
9 Jeff King (15)
10 Mitch Seavey (41)
11 William “Middie” Johnson (16)R
12 Hans Gatt (20)
13 Gerry Willomitzer (55)
14 Lance Mackey (49)
15 Cim Smyth (3)
16 Linwood Fiedler (2)
17 Aliy Zirkle (50)
18 Ryan Redington (25)
19 Martin Buser (37)
20 Dallas Seavey (19)
21 Jessie Royer (6)
22 Ken Anderson (51)
23 Sonny Lindner (44)
24 Thomas Lesatz (62)
25 Jim Lanier (43)

At Rainy Pass
26 DeeDee Jonrowe (31)
27 Rick Swenson (57)
28 Dan Kaduce (64)R
29 Justin Savidis (10)R
30 Jason Barron (71)
31 Bruce Linton (65)
32 Quinn Iten (28)R
33 Blake Freking (11)
34 Wattie McDonald (4)R
35 Gerald Sousa (48)
36 Matt Hayashida (12)
37 Peter Kaiser (67)R

Beyond Finger Lake
38 Michelle Phillips (36)R
39 Ramey Smyth (21)
40 Robert Nelson (32)
41 Karin Hendrickson (23)
42 Cindy Gallea (39)
43 Tom Thurston (68)
44 John Stewart (69)R
45 Lachlan Clarke (63)
46 Chris Adkins (33)R
47 Allen Moore (54)
48 Newton Marshall (14)R
49 Karen Ramstead (29)
50 William Pinkham (40)
51 Scott White (13)R
52 Judy Currier (72)
53 Kristy Berington (38)R
54 Michael Suprenant (30)
55 Art Church, Jr(24)
56 Michael Williams, Jr. (59)R
57 Colleen Robertia (61)R
58 Trent Herbst (60)
59 Emil Churchin (53)R
60 Zoya DeNure (5)
61 Billy Snodgrass (70)
62 Hank Debruin (45)R
63 Ross Adam (18)
64 Dave DeCaro (52)R
65 Pat Moon (17)R

At Finger Lake
66 Kirk Barnum (34)
67 Tamara Rose (26)R
68 Sam Deltour (66)
69 Jane Faulkner (22)R
70 Kathleen Frederick (46)R
71 Celeste Davis (58)R

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Iditarod, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Iditarod can be seen by selecting “Iditarod” from the Category box on the right sidebar.


1 JuanitaM { 03.09.10 at 8:01 am }

Checked the “current standings” page and it looks like Aliy Zirkle checked in at Rohn with one less dog. Hope there’s nothing serious there.

For me, it’s pretty much about the dogs which is probably true for a lot of other people as well. I mean, sure, I’d like to see one of the women win (notice none in the top ten so far!), and I take some interest in the rivalries a la Mackey/King. But primarily, it all about the dogs. I just like to see all of the mushers arrive safely, with Toto, too!

If you hear anything further about Zirkle’s dog, let us know.

2 Bryan { 03.09.10 at 11:18 am }

You mentioned the wind, and there are a significant number of dogs that don’t like it and won’t pull it. The other possibility is a paw injury from the lack of snow.

Actually I’m more surprised that fewer dogs than normal have been dropped at this point. The climb up the mountains are helped by the 16-dog team, but for the majority of the race you are better off with fewer dogs. The Quest is run with 14-dog teams.

I’m more concerned with DeeDee Jonrowe, Linwood Fielder, and Kirk Barnum, who have been leaving dogs behind at every checkpoint. That may just be bad luck, but it could be bad food, or a virus. These aren’t rookies, and they don’t usually have these kinds of problems.

3 JuanitaM { 03.09.10 at 5:18 pm }

I see what you mean. After reading your post, I went over to the “current standings” page again and noticed that both Fielder and Barnum are down to 12 dogs with Jonrowe at 13 dogs. Do all the mushers start with 16? If so, it would seem that some sort of illness just might be in play here.

We’re having our first 65 degree weather since, well, I don’t know. Seems like years. The snow is finally melting up on our mountain in Virginia, and we were out all day getting some work done before the weather changes again. It seems so strange for Alaska to be so warm (comparatively anyway) and for us to have been so cold. It’s been weird.

Really appreciate your analysis on this stuff, Bryan. It’s a pleasure to be able to ask someone who’s actually lived in Alaska for a fair period of time and has a good understanding of how the sport and weather operate. Who would have ever thought that there would be a lack of snow in Alaska, for heaven’s sake?

4 Kryten42 { 03.09.10 at 7:21 pm }

I hope the dogs are OK too!!

You know Bryan, I actually do find this fascinating even though I live a World away. 🙂 It really is a unique event in so many ways. *Man* (as in human, not male) and Man’s best friend (literally in most of these cases as I have been reading here over the past couple years) against some of the most taxing and severe elements Nature can throw at them.

I only spent a week at Elmendorf AFB in the late 80’s (we went to see the new E-3As that had been delivered there in ’86, and some info in operations etc in such a climate). Sadly, we were never allowed off-base, so I didn’t even get to visit Anchorage. I would have liked too. 🙂

I remember during the first briefing, we were told (with some pride) that Billy Mitchell stated in 1935 that “Alaska is the most strategic place in the world.” He was right. They certainly believed it during my stay there, even the motto: “Top Cover for North America.”

It was one of the *friendliest* bases we visited, and not just the service personnel, like most large bases, it has a large civilian population too. The thing that made me smile, and why I remember it well, was that I saw several dogs, mostly wearing Elmendorf AFB dog-shirts! 😆 (It was bitter cold). I was told by a very proud young dog owner that there were more Vet’s than GP’s on the base and in Anchorage! 😀 I could believe it. 😉

I’d like to visit properly one day.

I really hope everyone and the dogs are all well and safe.

5 Bryan { 03.09.10 at 9:47 pm }

One of the things that a lot of people miss is this is “sled dog racing”. There are some people involved, but it really is about the dogs, who represent the ultimate long distance athletes in the animal kingdom. They can run longer, further than any other animal.

They have evolved into a perfect match for their environment, which can cause problems if the temperature is too “warm”, or if there is a wind. They don’t have a very effective system of expelling excess heat, because the concept of being too warm doesn’t enter into their world. [This problem was encountered by the missionaries trying to convert the Slavs. After hearing that hell was eternal fires, the Slavs wanted to know what the bad part was.]

The wind is another example. The sensible thing to do, from the dogs sense of survival, would be to curl into a circle with your tail over your nose and everyone clumped together. With luck you will get covered in snow which never gets colder than 32°F [0°C] and wait it out. It is the people who want to keep moving, because the human body is designed to shed heat.

In the end you have a pack of dogs capable of moving goods and passengers 100 miles a day for ten days. That’s not something no other animal can do, and still be in good shape at the end. If you look at the Mackey teams than won the Yukon Quest, had a week off, and then won the Iditarod, basically 2000 miles in about a month, it is very impressive.

Almost everyone in Alaska has a dog, unless they live in a city. They are an early warning system, and emergency transportation. They are working dogs, even if they get to live in the house. They are also a lot cheaper to keep than a pick-up.

It was an odd experience being in the Air Force in Alaska. An amazing percentage of the people liked living there. A higher percentage than any of the other bases I was at as either a dependent, or during my own tours. If it wasn’t for the necessity of hunting to supply protein, I would have probably gone back.