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Iditarod day 9 - AM - King into White Mountain, heading for Nome

Monday,  03/10/14  10:04 AM

Aliy Zirkle and Jeff King leaving Elim with their teamsDay nine of the 2014 Iditarod, and it looks to be the finishing day as 5-10 leaders are on pace to smash John Baker's 2011 record by nearly eight hours.  Jeff King pulled into the White Mountain checkpoint at 7:00AM this morning, starting his mandatory eight-hour layover.  When he pulls out at 3:00PM this afternoon he'll have 77 miles until Nome, and that should take him less than nine hours, so he's likely going to finish *today*.  Wow.  Aliy Zirkle came into White Mountain an hour behind, and unless she can find some new speed in the final stretch she's going to finish second for the third year in a row.

That's Aliy Zirkle (red) and Jeff King (green) leaving Elim together


frozen and un-snowy tundra in the 2014 IditarodMeanwhile Dallas Seavey has found a new gear and is charging, but it might be too little too late.  He's now just three hours behind, but he's running out of track.  His father Mitch Seavey is also closing, now in fourth, with Martin Buser and Sonny Lindner fading.  That whole group are ahead of Baker's record pace, which shows how the conditions have been bad but fast.

Left: frozen tundra, cold and hard and dirty


 

Here's the GPS tracker's view this morning:

King and Zirkle are both stopped in White Mountain (orange #17), with the checkpoint of Safety and the finish line in Nome left to go.  Dallas Seavey (#14) is almost there too, but it will be first in first out with an eight-hour break for all teams.  Still mushing from Elim to White Mountain are Mitch Seavey (#6), Martin Buser (#36), and Sonny Lindner (#70), with Joar Leifseth Ulsom charging into that pack (#47).  Onward to Nome!

(All Iditarod 2014 posts)

 

Iditarod day 9 - PM - final push into Nome to crown the King

Monday,  03/10/14  08:04 PM

Mitch Seavey mushing his team into White Mountain checkpointThe leading teams are in the final stretch of the 2014 Iditarod, heading for Nome.  Jeff King has widened his lead over Aliy Zirkle a bit - it is now 9 miles, with about 50 left to go - and they look to finish one two.  Jeff has already won this race four times and will join a select group of five-time winners (nobody has won six).  And Aliy is going to finish second for the third straight year, behind a different team each time.  That's got to be tough.

Reminds me of listening to DeeDee Jonrowe speak, a few years ago; someone asked her "what does it take to win the Iditarod" and she said "if I knew that I wouldn't have finished second twice" :)


Teams King, Zirkle, and D. Seavey rest up for the final push in White MountainDallas Seavey is running a solid third but although he's closing on Zirkle he still needs 13 miles, and it doesn't look like he'll catch her.  Shown at left are the three leading teams, resting in White Mountain, King, Zirkle, and Seavey.  In fourth is Dallas' father Mitch, the defending champion (Dallas won the previous year in 2012); that's Mitch's team above right, on the way into White Mountain.

A recent post by experienced musher and blogger Sebastian Schneulle about the final stretch from Golovin to White Mountain is a great overview of the conditions, and is accompanied by great pictures of the leading teams.  Sebastian has been following the race all week via snowmachine, leapfrogging the leaders, and he's given us all great insight.  Knowing the intricacies of what it takes to get a team of sled dogs through 1,000 miles of back country makes the accomplishment seem all the more impressive.  Here's his latest: Safety update.

Here's the current GPS tracker map, showing King (#17), Zirkle (#10), and Seavey (#14) all heading to Safety, the last checkpoint, and then on to Nome:

It looks like the race will finish right around midnight tonight, and the King will be crowned :)  I'll check back in with a final post just after...  onward!

(All Iditarod 2014 posts)

 
 

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