Tuesday, March 6, 2012

iditarod 2012, it's all about the dogs

i probably have more pictures of dogs than mushers, but they are the workers of the race and i find them to be the most amazing athletes. above was a black and white that i thought turned out pretty cool!! these are bibs 2-9. bib #1 is an honorary bib. of course, i'm at a loss at this moment who was awarded the honorary title. awww...found it. the honorary bib went to a guy dave olson. he ran i think 4 races and did alot of work on the trail over the years. ally zirkle is in lead at this moment. at least when i checked a bit ago. she has been in lead position for a bit now. the pack is pretty tight though and it's still early, about 300 miles in. things can change a great deal over the week with people taking breaks at different times. i think a few mushers went off course, which can take some time out of your run. trail conditions sound pretty good so far. lots of fresh snow. different dogs/mushers do better on different trail conditions, which can change over the 1000 mile run. so many factors, too many to call a race too early on. it is nice though to have a female in the lead position. it's been awhile since a woman won and so that wouldn't be a bad thing.we had thought there seemed to be quite a few females this year. i counted 17. 67 mushers so that seems a goodly amount. (i always like to toss a goodly in here and there due to a discussion over a scrabble game in the hope cabin). it also seems to be a bit of race old guys vs young guys. the old guys all seem to be further up than the young ones at present so we shall see. the old guys also probably are the owners of the kennels and the dogs so they probably get to select the best dogs for thier teams. point old guys. bib #9 is nicholas petit from girdwood. he got in last year when the musher he was a handler for had to back out for surgery. he finished his rookie year and is on the trail again. his dogs looked good. today started out cloudy and bleak, then the sun arrived. the girls and i just played in the bog here. blossom got lots of frisbee time in. we did a loop in the center. the sun was shining right here in the bog so that was the reasoning for that. look for the sun and then follow the sun is usually my plan for the day. texting can help with that. sometimes you can't tell in your part of town how it looks in another. anchorage can get socked in with fog at times, but if you head up the hills you will be able to look past the fog and even see denali at times. strange.finally got the oil changed. took the dogs with me as they are generally pretty well behaved in public. luckily lots of dog lovers so they both got lots of pettings. ran into my friend lena's husband at the store, only i had no clue who this guy was who was looking at me strangely. then he was asking if i had dogs. i was also on the phone to friends in california. another friends father passed away and she has to leave the country. it's so tough being far away from family at those times and i know it's also tough to organize a trip like that in the rapid way that it must be done. she has two big dogs and when she first texted me she thought she had a place for them. her one dog kinda goes after cats so i couldn't help with that one, but lena said she could take that one and i'd take the one who was scared of cats. she dropped them off at the petsmart boarding so hopefully that goes well. so we'll be her back up if it doesn't and i'll try and stop by and check on the boys a few times. felt for her as i know this will be a tough trip. she is like me now, both her parents are gone. #8 here is cim smyth. his dad ran in the early iditarod years so he's worked with dogs his whole life. as i was getting ready for bed late last night blossom started barking. i thought it was the black kitty cat that frequently wanders our hood, but instead it was this huge bull moose. very tall. he was heading our way, but i think blossoms barking annoyed him. the mushers were warned to watch out for the moose in the area here. still one got kicked. she said they have alot of snow where she lives but the moose don't seem more irritable this year like the ones here. i was kinda laughing with my friend because our city moose, often referred to as townies, are kinda like the people who live in big cities. they are a bit edgier and more willing to fight rather than flight. they are just used to people and aren't nervous around them so they are more apt to tell you to go to hell in moose fashion. the moose in more rural areas just have less encounters with humans so tend to just move away.loved that this guy had a pink sled. takes a pretty tough guy to ride 1000 miles in a pink sled. looked cool though, right? pink sled dude is wade marrs from wasilla. this is his second iditarod. gonna fry up some chicken. haven't had fried chicken for ages. last night i went for another classic family food. cream tuna on toast. i would probably totally not go for that had i not been raised eating it. off subject as usual, but this guy who lives in a homestead with his 22 cats and was traveling to anchorage with those 22 cats in his car has gotten his cats back from animal control. the cats all looked well fed and happy and he was very distraught to have them taken from him. he was in town getting supplies and looking for a woman. it didn't mention if he found a woman who will accept him and his 22 cats. i had wondered about how that turned out. i should buy some tickets for the nenana ice classic. they've been doing the ice classic since 1917. you pay and guess when the ice will go out on the nenana river causing the tripod to fall over. i've never participated, but it's only $2.50/guess and the winners usually get nearly $300,000. split if multiple people guess same time. just saw the neighborhood cat...it's not a moose this time. blossom is on it though. #6 is jodi bailey. she finished both the quest and the iditarod last year as a rookie in both i think. that ain't half bad for a rookie. the little white box on the front of the sled is the gps locator. the sleds have all had those for a few years. you can track thier progress for a fee on the iditarod web site. gives speed of travel as well. i think i've seen 5 mph-15mph as average. dependant on team and terrain.i'm always on drool watch. love a good drool shot. i know there are a few in here. lots of long tongues. hard to imagine for us i guess but sled dogs like it cold. the teams often stay put in the "heat" of the day...especially if that heat gets over 30F. dogs don't perspire like we do so heat is lost through pads in feet and by panting. this year they had this trail nicely prepped for dogs and wouldn't allow us or the snowmachines to use it right before race started. snowmachines are the same as snowmobiles. up here they are always called machines. confused a relative once by calling them that. i have never been on a snowmachine myself and have only been on a 4 wheeler once. i suppose if i had some remote cabin i'd be needing to get those. they are a major source of travel up here though. many of the smaller villages use those almost exclusively and i know some places don't have actual roads wide enough for cars and trucks. #5 is tom thurston out of colorado. when jeff king took the year off last year he wandered about the lower 48 and norway checking out the mushing scene in other locations. eventually, he said he had a new appreciation for mushing in alaska. the folks in the lower 48 often have to travel far to train and race. for us it's right there, snow everywhere. i think he had a fun time on his year long adventure, but obviously mushing is in his blood and even on a break he was still in mush mode.love shots like these two. one is from the back with the snow flying and you can focus on the whole team in motion. the other is just cropped. something i occasionally do to see if i can salvage a picture. must say, i don't out and out toss too many pictures. of course, that means this blog will be filled with pictures of dog after dog after dog. i just love taking the pictures of them in action. they just love to run and it's an amazing thing to watch and fun to try and capture that with the camera.so many interruptions. just peeked, no cat, but then there was another moose cruising past. they are everywhere. no photo op. it started booking past when blossom discovered it. she seems to understand it's not a good idea to bark unless you are safely inside the house or in the car. moose are pretty large. i didn't see any in the bog today. actually, oddly, we didn't see anyone else out there at all, human or moose. did see alot of magpies. they are a cranky lot, but entertaining.with the zoom at distance i can either focus on the musher or the dogs. i did take more with the other camera that had the macro on it. switching back and forth as a team runs past is a challenge. it would be even more challenging to change lenses though. #4 is william pinkman. he is out of colorado too. he's done a few iditarods, but i wouldn't put him in contender mode. just a close up of the sled. and the runners.my brother informed us all on facebook that it's oreo cookies birthday? or some such thing. since oreo's were on sale, seemed like a good idea to help them celebrate...i mean it was the least i could do, right?those faces are so cute!more black and white shots. love em. gotta get the colour of the booties. guess i could shoot raw, make it black and white and then add in just the booties. that would be fun!! this team was just a great team to do black and white in though. #3 jim lanier is 71, a retired pathologist and he's run like 14 iditarods. he's the one who dropped out for hip surgery last year and then gave his spot to the girdwood musher i spoke of earlier. i do like that he had hip surgery last year and is able to run this race this year. that gives hope to all who will one day need hip surgery. so we have 2 racers over 70 this year. that is impressive!! #2 our final and actually the first racer off to nome on sunday. ray redington jr. he is related to joe redington sr, considered to be the "father of the iditarod". he came to alaska after wwII and began to mush and got the idea that it would be great to have a race from anchorage to nome. the first race in 1973 took 20 days to be won and he used that time to drum up the money for the prize that he'd promised. he worked closely with a friend doug katchatag. he was from the village of unalakleet and he worked with the various villages that would become checkpoints to get thier involvement and support. this friend was also responsible for clearing the trail from kaltag to nome. many of the dogs are also related. guess i shall finish up for the time and get some dinner made. love looking at the puppies, this years and last years. got my own puppies who need attention though.off to check the lastest standings in the race. i'm not excite to return to work tomorrow. may have to try and post one during the day tomorrow. otherwise it may be a few days before i get back to it.

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