Saturday, March 12, 2011

iditarod 2011, the next 10 mushers (or close to that)

the iditarod continues. the race came to a standstill the other day as seemingly everyone took thier 24 hour stopover. they are required a 24 hour, another 8 hours on the yukon river and one last 8 hour at white mountain. while the leaders all were on their 24 a few from the middle of the pack got to play leader for a bit. trent herbst, the teacher from idaho, got to lead for a bit and will take home gold for his efforts. he quickly lost his place when the others came off thier 24 and he had to take his. i suppose it was fun for a bit though. last i checked baker was currently in lead. he's out of kaltag. there is a pack of about 5 mushers that are very close to each other though baker appears to have an approximate 2 hour lead and the rest are neck and neck. it can be a bit fluid, but it's baker's to lose at this point. we shall see.
buser's team seems to have dropped back. it's not looking like he'll get his 5th win. mackey wasn't in that top bunch either so he may be ending his run and missing that 5th victory as well. another big name in mushing is out as well, mitch seavey. he was withdrawn by the race officials. sounds like he accidently partially removed a few fingers cutting the wires off a hay bale or something. he was trying to figure out how he could continue on, but the race officials finally intervened and just called it quits for him. seavey has won the race once, but has finished in the top ten repeatedly. his son dallas, who just won the quest, is still in and in the top ten i believe.
there has been some issues with kennel cough out there and so a few teams have had to scratch partially for that reason. paul gebhardt is one of those. i had owens and zoya switched. i guess zoya had a dog drop dead on her, she gave it cpr. the dog eventually came around and they should all be home now. her sled dogs are all rescue dogs. the old guy from new zealand is out and i heard the jamaican has also scratched. anyway, 9 teams are out at this point.
not the greatest picture, but above is angie taggart. she is from ketchikan. i lived there for 6 years so i must root on the home team. great little town. no place to really train a dog team so i believe she took a leave of absence from teaching to live this far so good!!
rick swenson is doing pretty dang well considering he must be suffering in silence with his broken they say, "tougher in alaska". there is some truth to that. the fact that seavey was debating continuing on despite having fingers partially attached. he has already returned to anchorage and had he's back with his team, but off the trail.
the northern lights have been dancing all week. can't say i've had any great shows myself. was working the last 3 nights. several friends have captured pictures that came out not half bad. i have no clue if i can even take a northern lights picture, but maybe i'll take a drive some place dark tonight and see if they show up. not sure where to go...hmm. lots of cool pictures at the iditarod site of great light shows out there on the trails and at the check points. i've also been enjoying the video clips. they had a great one of teams flying down the switchbacks and another nice one of the lights.
the fast snow that the race began with softened. the trail is ever changing. overall it sounds like it's been pretty good this year. some years there isn't snow at all in some wind swept areas. snow everywhere so far.
above is ally zirkle. she is in 16th place i believe so doing quite well. have liked her in the past. seems like good folk. i think she may have won the quest a few years back?
these pictures are of lance mackey. 4 time iditarod winner. twice he did the quest iditarod wins back to back. it was said that couldn't/shouldn't be done. he's a tough guy who has survived cancer, had the docs cut off a finger that was damaged somehow from the cancer treatment i believe. it was too painful to deal with and be able to care for his dogs so he asked it just be removed. he battles constantly dry mouth. i believe it was a throat cancer, but don't quote me. okay, i just looked. some sort of squamous cell neck cancer. surgery took neck muscle, nerves, nodes, salivary glands...radiation caused more damage. sometimes cancer treatment saves you but it also leaves you with long term medical issues. the radiation ate part of his jaw. the nerve damage makes him sensitive to the cold. all this would make most people quit a thing like taking a team of dogs to nome. not mackey. nothing has ever come easy for him in this life, but he seems to always have an easy attitude about it all. you gotta love the guy and you just have to root for him...not matter who else you root for as well.
didn't take too many pictures of lance, got several of his sled and his team.
even deedee is ahead of him this year. he still takes it all in stride and seems to want to do best by his team. guess he saw a light bobbing ahead of him the other night. it was buser, who was having a hard time staying awake out there. like driving, if you are nodding off, you probably should just pull over and take a nap. hopefully, buser did at that point. no race is worth it. i think since you are responsible for that team of dogs and they will just keep running, you had better stay awake as long as they are active to make sure they are safe. i'm not sure how one would enforce that in a race such as this, but i think mushers should be docked somehow for sleeping when their team is running.
these pink bootied dogs are mackey's.
the other night at work the talk started up about us being on a tsunami watch. everyone was watching the news and checking online as apparently japan had a huge 8.9 quake. this came with tsunami's and watches. mostly, i think the aleutians were on watch and i think the water level just raised a bit. looks like some coastal area's in california and hawaii got some damage. the pictures coming out of japan are impressive in that a great deal of damage has occured. haven't heard huge death tolls, which is always a relief. i'm sure the numbers will increase in thier guesstimates. the big worry at present is the nuclear power plants. an oil refinery also was on fire. 8.9 is a huge quake. tokyo is a mere 300-400 miles away from the epicenter. we are capable of such a quake here in alaska and have had such quakes. does make you realize what can happen here. it is always amazing how different the damage and death tolls are dependant on the economic status of the region hit. stronger buildings, better planning. you can never prevent deaths or damage in a nature disaster of this level, but good planning can scale it back significantly. haiti is still a mess from thier quake, which i don't believe was nearly as large as the one japan just had.
work has continued busy and overall think i'm getting better at the computer charting. still haven't had to do much order inputing, but every day i learn a bit more. we have expensive computer folks there flown in to assist in this process. of late all the questions/issues you take to them they just look at you and say "they are working on it" or some such thing. so not very helpful at times at all. wonder how my friend,sandra is doing tonight. it's her first night on the computers. at least it's an hour shorter. i always get the fall time change. that hour extra is a drag.
below, #16 is jodi bailey of chatanika. she's trying to be first rookie to finish both the quest and iditarod in thier rookie year. so far she seems to be doing okay. seem a few clips of her and she seems like she'd just be fun to hang out with. good attitude. hopefully, her trip goes well. she is currently in 36th place.
the weather continues to be awesome up here. have gotten out on several nice walks. today we hit the dog park, which is always packed on the weekends.
rio loves it as everyone knows her and she gets lots of treats and attention. blossom just likes to play with her toy. also got my laps in. the pool was nice and warm. felt great. the sauna is closed off, but luckily we still have access to the locker room.
took a walk up powerline trail from the flattop trailhead the other day and have done a few days out at n. bivouac. it's too beautiful to not be out there. the side roads and my driveway are very icy. i've done a couple slow slides trying to turn into my driveway this week.
had a great crew at work, which always makes the night pass quickly. have to remind myself to process all the numbers i'm inputing in the computer. it's easy to focus on learning the computer and losing site of the details of patient care. had to keep checking myself. it is a totaly different way of doing nursing for me so it will take some time to re-develope my own routine.
this is bob storey out of new zealand. guess they vacationed up here and he loved the dog mushing thing and iditarod called him. he went home, packed it up and moved here to train for the iditarod. he's retired military back there. he's already dropped out. at 65 years old, running the iditarod is a pretty major undertaking. it's not for the faint of heart. you got to give him chops for giving it a go. not sure why he dropped out, but it does make one think. we all die, but not everybody lives. sometimes you have to grab it and give it your all. he didn't finish the trip, but he started it and most of the time that is the hardest part. making the choice and taking the steps to live the dream. most people are just too dammed scared to live thier lives and thus end up with regrets.

regrets...that i didn't marry some old rich guy, who then died off and left me millions of dollars. i think there are always things we could have done better, but as long as you learn from the stuff life give you then you are better off for it, thus reversing any regret that may have grown from said decision. dwelling the past is a waste of time.
was watching my netflix movie. not sure if i'll finish it or fast forward through it all. may just give up on it as i'm getting sick of watching the animal killings. the movie is called "walkabout". it's about 2 kids who are out in the outback with thier dad for the day. as they set up the picnic thier dad shoots himself and blows up the car. they wander and eventually meet up with an aboriginal boy who helps them. you never see them eat all these animals they do show getting killed by the kid. one hopes this is all computer generated, but still. how much meat do 3 young people need? i can take most stuff in movies, but when they seem barbaric to the animal kingdom i cant' stomach it for long.
happy dogs...happy, happy dogs!!
loved these pictures of these dogs running. they always look so cute in thier harnesses. i need to put blossom's on her just cause she's so cute.

love the close up's as well. guess i will be needing that 500 zoom after all, haha.
i think the legs came out clear and thier faces came out a little blurred. this was my way of salvaging the picture. love the crop!! i think it came out cool in the end.

the dogs would scoop up snow as they ran. then came the drool. eek.
hopefully, i will get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. it's almost midnight and i did want to get out there and see if there are any lights about so perhaps that is unrealistic.
#13 is bruce linton out of kasilof. guess he's finished both the iditarod and the ironman. the ironman is a snowmachine race which i think kinda follows the iditarod path. it occurs early in february if i remember. linton is a diabetic so he uses the iditarod as a platform to increase awareness and education related to diabetes. gotta love that!
cute dogs too!
guess i must have been getting a drink or snack when #12 went past. that was melissa owens. probably some of the dogs above are hers. sometimes i focus on the dogs and get a crap shot of the musher. she dropped out already. she is from nome. young. she had injured her leg before the race and reinjured it out on the trail.
off to gander for northern lights. then off to sleep. watching these dogs run is making me sleepy.

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