Tuesday, March 15, 2011

iditarod 2011, pushing to nome!!!

baker is nearing the end of his required 8 hour stay in white mountain. he will no doubt be ready to go at 12:03. should be to nome before noon. right on his heels will be ramey smyth. he was only about 50 minutes behind. it should be a nail biter to nome. nail biters are not common place in the iditarod. so this is quite exciting indeed. the native population is ecstatic as one of thier own may win the iditarod. it is john bakers to lose at this point. ramey smyth is known for his fast runs into nome.
posted a few more pictures from the willow restart for your entertainment. above is g.b jones. this guy looks pretty tough. he's started the race on several occasions and placed 52 once. currently, he's in 48th place. hasn't scratched yet. though 2 more teams have scratched since i last wrote.
do like the orange booties.
#39 is michelle phillips. she did well as a rookie last year, 27th. off to try again. she lives in the yukon. she has improved this year and is in 17th place, right behind lance mackey. seems like that would be good company. she has passed up martin buser who led for so long in this race.
there has been a moose attack in anchorage. as i drove home from my laps tonight i pondered what may have happened to make the moose attack. it's usually either some humans were tormenting the moose or loose dogs were. in both these cases a moose will become agitated and may turn to violence as a defence. moose, by nature are not attack animals. they are herbivores. they will attack if they are in mating season or if they have calves, but attacks are rare despite having a few thousand moose in the city of anchorage at any given time. when i got home i turned on the news. a neighbor said she had seen some loose dogs out. sadly, it was a 6 year old boy that got stomped. sounds like he is suffering from head trauma. never good. hopefully, he will be okay. there are those in anchorage who seem to think the city should rid itself of all wild beasts. i'm sure there will be a call out to kill moose. there should be a call out to control dogs and educate people how to behave around moose. that girl last week tried to pet a moose and got stomped, obviously, some education would be helpful.
these legs and sled belong to musher #38, wattie mcdonald of scotland. he hadn't planned on racing this year. someone paid his way and told him he was signed up. he does the ceremonial start in anchorage in a kilt. he was a rookie last year.
no kilt out on the trail apparently. he is currently in 39th place.
on of our local kttu news crew is leaving again, meg baldino. apparently she's taken a position with shell oil. a strange change. she did leave one time before and returned. not sure what role she will be playing at shell. bummer. tough to find decent newscasters in alaska. some are pretty bad. she was a good one. all the best to her though.
the death toll in japan is on the rise. early statements seemed awful low to me, but they have increased a great deal in the past 24 hours. 10,000-15,000 deaths is now predicted. they have several nuclear power plants that are at risk of leaking radiation. that seems to be the greatest concern of late. they keep increasing the area of evacuation around the plants. do recall having several discussions with one brother as he seemed to think we should be utilizing nuclear power as an energy source much more than we are in this country. i've always been hesitant as we don't have any idea what to do with the waste to contain it and also there is a huge risk in the event of a disaster occuring. wonder what he's thinking with all this. has he changed his mind? i hear many people in alaska are inquiring about where to get iodine to counter the effects if we become victims of fall out. the wind patterns and such could send the radiation our way. thus far we have been assured on the news that we are safe at this time.
lots of video and photos coming out of japan. those tsunami waves are truely horrific. water has such power. seems the waves cause much greater destruction than the earthquake itself. i'm sure they are suffering many aftershocks which can be very frightening. the first quake gets your attention and takes you by surprise, after that you are anxious awaiting the next one and the next one. the mushers are pretty immune out there to what is going on in the world. having been in that state of isolation during the september 11th attacks that is a blessing in many ways. always surreal to be surrounded by such beauty and know that such great suffering is going on. with sept 11, we drove through the yukon territory, no radio, phone, nothing. we were in beautiful country, at peace, but we also knew that out there war could be raging, nuclear bombs could be getting launched.
our lives on this earth can seem so seperate from those across the globe, but when disaster strikes, we all become humans for a time. the boundaries of nations seem to disappate and we all yearn to reach across to help those who need comfort and aid. generally, i just make a donation to the red cross, they seem to be the best source for aiding in these disasters. they are always there, a steadfast and trustworthy source.
#37 is karen hendrickson of willow. she had to scratch last year after her sled got all busted up in rainy pass. she is doing pretty well this year though, in 23rd place so far. not bad.
below is just part of the crew i was out on the trail with. mostly folks from peds. everyone had a great time out there. always a fun day.
#36 is jessica hendricks. she has scratched this year. issues with the dogs.
they look good here. they get sore or the kennel cough was going thru the teams.
apparently 5 somalis have been convicted of pirating. nobody has been convicted of pirating in the united states for almost 200 years. they went after a navy ship...not a good idea i dare say. i wouldn't want to be on any boat in those waters these days. they are getting more and more bold and are willing to kill.
most everyone brought chairs for the restart, as you can see they weren't utilized much.
#35 is hugh neff. he lives in tok. he and his crew dress in cat in the hat hats for the ceremonial start. i believe he tries to encourage literacy. he can be a bit of a jokester and has alot of personality. always a favorite on the trail. he's also a musher that can finish in those top spots. he hasn't won either the iditarod or the quest, but he's always a contender. his day may come. he has slowed a bit and dallas seavey has made the run past him into white mountain. that puts seavey in 4th and hugh in fifth. hans gatt has the #3 spot and will probably hold that, as dallas came in 4 hours behind him. they are running out of real estate as is often said. nome is fast approaching.
he's hard not to like and wish well. john baker isn't the outgoing personality that hugh neff is. though i read in the paper today that when john baker isn't mushing he's a motivational speaker. funny as he's quite soft spoken with reporters and seems to be a man of few words. native's in alaska are often a bit reserved around people that are new to them. once they open up though, their personalities and smiles light up all around them. baker is probably a totally different guy when the camera's are off and he's with friends and family. if he wins he will have alot of camera's on him and may have to say a few words.

dog walk monday was attended by the usual group. haven't done much working on getting folks out. the monday walks will wrap up in short order as we all seem to get busy and go our seperate ways come summer. everyone runs in every direction in the summers, enjoying all the sunshine and adventure opportunities. with such short summers everyone one tries to fit it all in. truth is i like fall, then winter, then summer and finally spring. break up i could avoid and that is when i should fly south every year.
swimming was great today. the water has been nice and warm of late and i got in 30 laps. had the lane to myself the entire swim. when you are under the water, you hear next to nothing. so peaceful.
parting shot of hugh neff, actually these are in reverse order so this is him coming and above are parting shots.
msut have lost a few racers in there. this is #32 scott janssen. he is a rookie in 40 something place. so sitting hasn't moved him up the trail fast. he's a mortician and is referred to up here as "the mushing mortician". wait...this is actually 34, paul gebhardt. that did look like a 2...oh well. paul has scratched already, which is a huge disappointment for him. his team just wasn't up for the task this year. he has been in second a few times.
watching "corpse bride". have never seen it. it's quite cute. another late night for me.. doing laundry and i still want to go through and see if i have all my tax stuff together so i can get that done tomorrow or wednesday. joy, joy, joy.

happy running dogs.
the number is more clear here. gebhardt. such a great iditarod guide i am. haha.

this is the mushing mortician. looks pretty happy out there. gotta be a huge change from his day job.
somehow i did miss gerry willomitzer of the yukon. he has also scratched already. he immigrated to the yukon from germany.
i believe this team is sebastian's below. leaving willow....
#31 sebastian schnuelle also of whitehorse, also an immigrant from europe. his team is a bit older, most of his dogs are 6-8 years old, which is considered older for mushing. they have experience and they just keep going, albeit at a slower rate. he seems very caring of his team and lets them guide him on sleep/run schedule. he is just after hugh neff in the 6th place postition. won't win, but he can go home proud.
i believe this is judy currier of fairbanks running off. she has also scratched.
i'm pretty sure this group of dog close ups are all of ramey smyth's team. loved how they came out. great looking dogs and he gets alot of compliments on his own fitness level. mackey said he would be happy with either musher winning, but you could tell he was kinda hoping smyth would pull it off. baker has many sponsers and smyth has had to muddle through and fight for it. more like lance. i'm sure he can just relate to that path more.
it's down to the dogs now. who will complete those 77 miles from white mountain to nome first. which team will run and not falter.
they will run through the night. the dogs prefer the cool night air to the heat of the day. mind you, the heat of the day at this time of year may be at 20F. the days are getting longer and with the time change the sun set tonight around 8 pm.

so will it be ramey smyth or john baker...?
you will have to tune in tomorrow to find out...of course, you could get the information from many other internet sources as i'm likey to not be posting until the wee hours of hte night such as i am tonight.

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