Tuesday, March 4, 2014

more of the ceremonial start...meeting the mushers!

 above is last years winner, Mitch Seavey.  he's won the race twice and he's in the race with two of his sons this year. Dallas, who has also won...they are the oldest and youngest to have won the Iditarod.  also his son Danny is in the race.  he has another son who recently won the Jr Iditarod race so we may be seeing Seaveys in this race for many years to come.  his father has also run. a family business for sure.
 still loading photo's of the restart in willow.  for the ceremonial start i tried to focus on the mushers and at the restart i had fun photographing dogs more.
above is Curt Perano from New Zealand.  sounds like he and his wife split their time between New Zealand, where they have a mushing business and Willow.
 the front of the pack right now includes many of the usual leaders in the race.  Martin Buser seems to be making a run a bit like he did last year.  the top 10 are now out of Rohn which is already the 5th check point.  things change and these early leaders are not necessarily an indicator of who will win.  the mushers have to take a 24 hour rest and two 8 hour rests, the last one being at White Mountain, the next to last check point.
those at the lead have already passed through Yentna, Skwentna, Finger Lake and Rainy pass.  after Finger Lake comes the Happy River Gorge and an often hairy trek down the Happy Valley steps.  apparently this part hasn't been too bad, it was made even easier for Berkowitz as his rope snapped meaning he did the steps with just his sled and two dogs while the rest of the team carried on down the hill on their own. they were caught on the bottom and all was well.
 above is Paige Drobny.  she's from Fairbanks.  this is also her second year at the Iditarod. she is dedicating this race to her dog that died last year.  she'd dropped the dog at Unalakleet and a big storm had come through. not too clear but apparently the dog got buried in snow?  some things have changed to hopefully prevent this from ever happening again. the dogs name was Dorado.
 there appear to be some really rough bits on the trails out there.  glare ice, water over ice and trails that are without any snow at all.  the ground would be frozen still but the rocks and plants sticking out are sure to be hell on the sleds and the riders.  could be tough on the dogs little paws as well.  various weather conditions help or hinder various teams depending on what they have trained on.
 above is Gus Guenther out of Clam Gulch.  that is on the kenai.  below is Yvonne Dabakk.  she is out of Norway.  sounds like she grew up in Germany though.  she's is a physicist, so pretty dang smart.  she and her husband have moved to Fairbanks for further work and studies.  so why not run some dogs to Nome, right. haha.  her team is all Siberian Huskies.  could  be a rough run for them til the coast if it stays this warm.
 the teams on the ceremonial start are often out of order.  they stop to visit or pick up a beer or a hot dog from folks along the trail.  i told you it's a party. does remind me in that way of the Rose Parade.  all night it was a 5 mile long block party.
 Newton Marshall is always a favorite with the crowds.  he's from Jamaica.  funny that last musher is a physicist and then this guy doesn't appear to have much as far as an educational background. it is what i love about this race.  it's how you utilize and care for your dog team.  they even the playing field.  age, sex, education, race...none of it really matters.  he's attempted the race several times, but has actually only finished it once, in 47th place.  must get some good sponsers to afford to run this race..it's not cheap.
 here again is Seavey.  he is running in top 10 for the moment.  everyone does their own sleep/rest planning.  often, especially with this relative heat, they will run at night more in the cool, the dogs like it better colder
 i think Aliy took a dip with her team.  the dogs took the old route rather than a route the trail crews had worked on.  creatures of habit...it's been a year but they still remember.  her husband won the quest this year.  she's been second place twice getting to Nome.  hoping she gets that #1 spot this year. it's time for a woman to win...at least i think so anyway.  she is bib # 10.  she's finished the Iditarod 12 times.
 another musher lost his team....he laughed as he's been mushing for years and has had this happen as i'm sure they all have.  he said he yelled "whoa" and the team actually stopped.  apparently they usually don't.  he was quite happy.  Ulsom took a wrong path and had to back track to avoid a penalty.  it all worked out.  another musher was needing to make repairs on the sled, i think dee dee took a good spill as well.  so doesn't sound like it's all pretty out there, but the miles are clicking by anyway.
 #11 is Richie Diehl from Aniak.  he's been mushing much of his life and is a pilot as well.  he finished last year in his rookie year and i'm sure is happy to try and improve.
 managed the Monday walk today.  Michelle and Gretchen both came...first timers and Karen caught up with us as well.  the day was beautiful as it has been.  rio was debating a couch day, but i knew Michelle really wanted to visit with her.  she flew up from the lower 48 for the Iditarod festivities.
 i'm coughing and draining snot at an alarming rate.  always so fun to feel so disgusting.  you imagine there is dried snot all over your face.  lots of sneezing and i'm trying to drink lots of liquids.  after coffee today i settled in for a nap.  i had no choice.  am trying to get the basics done, laundry, dishes, cat litter.  such is life.
 Kelly Maixner, above, is a dentist and a musher.  he's finished the Iditarod 3 times i think.  i think he does pediatric dentistry.  i think my co-horts on the trail yesterday yelled out as he passed, "we all floss" or some such thing.  they like to entertain the mushers as they head to Nome.  it does seem to make them smile.
 DeeDee Jonrowe is always a competitor.  she's been running this race for many years.  ran it through a bout with breast cancer.  she is a huge crowd favorite.  she is 60 years old and still running this race.  always amazing to me how these folks keep on keeping on.  inspiring really.  aging in no way needs to mean sitting in a rocking chair on some porch.  she lives in Willow, where many mushers reside.  she has finished the Iditarod 29 times...that nuts!!
 Jeff King is another well respected and liked musher.  he's finished the race 22 times.  he's an innovator when it comes to the sport and leads the way for others.  he announced he'd wear a helmet this year and he had made adaptations to his sleds that others have followed suit on.  he's from Denali.  he's won the Iditarod 4 x and is always hoping for that magic 5th win.  he also won the quest.
 another Seavey, Dallas.  he's won the race 1 x as well.  the battle continues.  this race tends to have multiple previous winners in it every year.  Lance Mackey is out this year though.  he again lives in Willow.  he's been doing some Alaska style reality tv over this past year or so.  big into wrestling and always competitive and contemplative.  you know he'll have his own plans for how to possibly win this thing again.  this is his 8th Iditarod trip.
 meandering the news while i write and look up stuff.  just saw that sea otters in the sound have been declared recovered from the exxon valdez spill 25 years ago..took a long time.  hoping we never repeat that again.  horrible.
 #20 is from Anchorage, not many mushers in this town.  he's also one of the Morticians in town.  so he goes my the name of "the mushing Mortician".  at the restart, my group all layed out as if dead and yelled out, "we are dying for you to win".  i think he quite enjoyed that.  on the ceremonial run some guy called out something to him from behind me and he'd yelled back that he was "dying to get to Nome".

 he's finished the race twice.
 i have work the next 3 nights. i'll have to try and get a post or two in despite working and sleeping if i can just so i don't get too far behind on the iditarod news.  it's always fun to blog about
 rather focus on the Iditarod news over the world news right now.  sometimes the world news is just too depressing.
 my first rookie to mention is above.  Monica Zappa.  cool last name.  she's got  a masters in geography and was started towards a PhD when she got sidetracked to dog mushing.  now she does whatever so she can continue with this life.  she lives in Kasilof.  she is trying to campaign against the Pebble Mines as part of her mushing.
 Aaron Burmeister has run 14 Iditarods and lives in Nome.  he was actually born and raised there.  i did see lots of dog lots out there as well when i visited last summer.
 with the rough trails they have at the beginning of this race they are sure to be going through many booties.
 poor puppy paws.

 Robert Sorlie is out of Norway.  he's run in 4 Iditarods and won 2...so pretty good odds. he's 56 now.  there are several mushers from Norway in this year. he hasn't attempted this race for 6 years.
 Nathan Schroeder is from Minnesota. he's a rookie in this big race, has raced in the lower 48.  he may be used to rough trails like we are having this year.
 this looks like the Austrailian.  really should be better at my flags. haha.
 it never snows where he lives in Austrailia, his name is Christian Turner. he first attempted some mushing when on vacation in Banff.  he is working with Dallas to make this dream come true.  his dogs are from Dallas's kennel. this is often how it works.  it's probably some of dallas's younger dogs that he wants to get experience on the Iditarod trail.
 Charley Bejna is the one i went out to the kennel of and got to ride on the runners and take my first run with a team of dogs.  it was lots of fun.  he's from Illinois and goes back and forth between here and there trying to make this dream come true.  he scratched last year so is listed as a rookie again.
 everyone is a bit out of order. i'm sure i will miss at least one musher.  other years i've only talked about like 10-15 mushers in one post so do bear with me.  i think it did work out to try to get the mushers pictures at the ceremonial start and then focus on dogs yesterday. i can post pictures of dogs with race updates and general rambling as i always do.
 a few black and whites of some puppies.
 Cim Smyth of Big Lake.  he grew up further north in Fairbanks.  i think he's finished the race 12x, no wins.  can't remember if he and Ramey are related, brothers? cousins?

 i think brothers.
 Ellen Halverson out of Wasilla.  this is her 5th attempt.  she's finished twice and both times got the red lantern, which goes to the last musher into nome. she's a psychiatrist.

 i am getting tired.  below is Nicolas Petit out of Girdwood.  he's the one i got a fun picture of his older dog chilling on a camp chair last year.  he's completed 4-5 Iditarods.  that dog is named "ugly".  his first Iditarod  race came when another musher, Jim Lanier, needed hip surgery and got him to take the team to Nome.  he rose to the challenge and did well.
well, that should be plenty to get started on.  i shall bid you good night.  hope i can keep up with work...dang work is always taking time away from my leisure activities. haha!

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