Insights from an Armchair Musher

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The cold isn’t quite gone, but it is going. Eagle will be above zero by the time the first teams arrive. Dawson will be a bit colder, but no longer the fifty below of the past week or so. Dogs will rest well on their 24-hour break.

Mike Ellis and his team of fast Siberians should be resting tonight on the high ridges above Indian River; about halfway between Scroggy and Dawson. I wish I could be in Dawson to see his team. I’ve never run Siberians, but I have the utmost respect for that tough, happy breed.

Jeff King pulled out at Stepping Stone. I understand his dilemma. He has the Iditarod coming up and he can’t afford to take a lot of weight off the dogs in his team that will also be competing in that race. The last time Jeff ran the Quest was many years ago and he had a different type of dog in his kennel then. The dogs of today tend to be of a thinner body type with less hair.

Jeff’s last Quest was also a cold one. He was running with a damaged hand that he had recently cut with a skillsaw. He froze it early in the race and had to drop out just over one hundred miles in. Folks in Fairbanks will get to see Jeff’s team again soon. The Iditarod announced a few hours ago that the 2015 Iditarod would be starting in Fairbanks!

A look back at the leader board will show that Moore is moving a teeny bit faster than Sass. Not enough to matter at this time, but maybe later it will? Don’t trust tracker speeds; they aren’t an accurate indication of speed. Look at times in and times out. Six hours at Dawson is far from insurmountable. Runyon caught Atkinson from that far back in 1985. Cotter caught everybody from that far out in 1989.

John Schandelmeier