Hi, this is Wes. I am sitting here in Nome and am doing this update because Kaz is in transit to Nome and Mickey is sitting in the departure lounge in Anchorage on standbye trying to get an earlier flight. Alaska Airlines are aware she is Aliy's mom and are doing everything they can to get her on this flight but it is fully booked. If she doesn't get on the next flight, she is at least confirmed on a flight that lands in Nome at 8:30pm. This is so close to Aliy's expected arrival time that it is touch and go if Mickey will get here in time.
As Aliy is in the very early stages of the final run of what is turning out to be the most exciting Iditarod in years, she is now focused on two things; Seeing what she can do to break into Dallas's 1hr lead and then keeping a wary eye behind her on Raymey Smith whose ability to hunt down competitors in the dying stages of this race is legendary.
As I am writting this, Allen is informing me of all the things that Aliy will have done to ensure she has the best trip possible.
1. She will have walked the dogs individually and gotten them to pee up to 30 minutes before departure so that they will start on time. Many times in races a musher pulls the hook to start and then the dogs immediately spend 5 minutes relieving themselves from their large hydrating meals.
2. She will have dropped everything unnecesary from her sled like her cooler, dog blankets, cooler, second hook, and even the the lid from her cooker.
There is a possible X-Factor in this race. The temperature is 4 degrees F and winds are supposed to get up to 30mph and it is already blowing in White Mountain. The Blowhole, just before Safety will likely have gusts much faster than that! It cannot be taken for granted that each team will handle the wind and especially the Blowhole with the same tenacity. For those of you who are not familiar with the Blowhole, it has claimed many victims in the past due to high winds and low visibility.
Just earlier this year snowmobilers were rescued by Blackhawk helicopters from the blowhole. Safety is actually a roadhouse providing refuge to people who have just made it through the blowhole. Here is a link to video that Aliy got coming through this section last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwNOwY_zZSs
Here in Nome we are getting the crates and dog boxes ready for the dogs to rest when they get in this evening. Other than that we are joining you on refreshing our screens every few minutes.
Its great to have all of you here with us for the greatest Iditarod race Aliy has ever run.