Friday, March 28, 2008

All Alaska Sweepstakes - Pass You on the Trail

The weather and conditions on the trail have been good, and the teams are making very good time in this year's All Alaska Sweepstakes. Jeff King is currently in the lead and was the first into Timber. As of the previous checkpoint Mitch Seavey was holding 2nd, with Lance Mackey about an hour and a half behind Jeff. Below, is Larry. He is Lance's lead pup and Iditarod Champ '08 - who has been left behind on this race, due to a nagging shoulder injury. Poor Larry! There are just 6 more mushers that have yet to reach Candle, which is the turn around point in this 408 mile out and back race. It is rare to have teams pass each other in opposing directions; most races use a loop format. The incoming (returning) teams have the right-a-way. So, those bound for Candle must pull off the side of the trail (which is just 2 snow machines wide) and allow the oncoming team to go by...praying they do not entangle themselves with the other team in the process...A couple of mushers have scratched, and there are internal rumblings about some kind of match times controversy brewing within the event; complete with closed musher meetings; rule changes by verbal consent; and yet, the main race judge will have the final say on whether there will be any adjustments to times?? I don't understand it very well. I want to know more and I'm sure it'll be revealed before too long. Josh's blog is very current, and informative - and he has a couple very interesting podcasts.This race is not only for the highly celebrated famous dog drivers. There are some Nome Kennel Club members that are serious contenders. Plus, many racers have admitted to doing this race simply for the history (centennial event) and to explore the wilds of the Yukon. Racing this year for example, is a homeschooling mother of 8, Cari Miller. Pictured below-She only started dog running about 3 years ago. And a teacher, Fred Mo Napoko (who's link actually goes to his co-teacher, Mariah Yaylor Thomas-Wolfe who might have run in his stead...but gives a good background on the school's intent.) He is representing the local high school and their mushing club and his students are acting as his handlers and support team. Stories such as these put a very folksy and human element into my appreciation for this sport.More cool blog notes HERE.
Slide shows and most photos today are from the Sweepstakes Website.

ADDENDUM: Photo credit for banner pic and shots from the Sweepstakes page goes to Jan DeNapoli She is a kind and talented photographer, who is generously sharing her gifts with all of us. Thanks Jan! Northern Light Media images are by Mark and Helen Hegener.

Got Pups?? .....Notice in the photos below, all the teams were transported to Nome via sledges, and standard pick-up trucks! It was reported that not one traditional dog truck was enlisted in the transport of the dogs this year... maybe I can do this with an f-150...or even a plywood box, as evidenced by the pics!
SlideShow 1 of the staging area; by Laura Samuelson

SlideShow2 of the race start; by T.Daily sleddog@alaska.netCheck out the burls on that archway. Burly!

Race finish for 1st place is projected at around 10 pm (Alaska time) tonight. Lance did claim he'd be back in Nome before breakfast on Saturday... not so sure he'll be the first to do it though. Keep Mushing!

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