If you were listening to the start on the radio, you probably noticed that several teams were not ready to start at their designated times. The CB300 rules are very specific about how this is to be handled:
"Teams will leave the starting line at two-minute intervals. Any musher who cannot leave the starting line in the order drawn will be started after the scheduled departure time of the final team."Instead, what actually happened is that teams were slotted into the starting flow as they became available. That explains why the starting order doesn't match the bib order. The problem I see is that the CB300's worksheet shows teams starting at steady 2 minute intervals, even though that's not how it actually happened. Instead, as I heard it happen while watching the clock, it looked to me like several slots were missed altogether and some of the later mushers (including Aliy) were pushed back from their designated times due to others being slotted in.
So, for example, the steady 2-minute start gaps on the CB300 worksheet shows Aliy starting at 10:54, her designated starting position was 11:00 and by my clock-watching at the start, she actually started well after 11:00. Considering how precisely the SPK teams time out their pre-race routine, do you actually think Aliy's Red Team was standing around at the start six minutes early? The dogs would be going nuts. To the contrary, I believe they approached the line exactly on time and still had to wait.
I pointed out the problem to our handler team at the start, and the response to their query was "We don't think it will matter for the teams that started late." Meaning, I think, that they are not competitive teams and their actual times won't really matter in the final standings. That may be true for the teams that missed their start times, but it isn't true for Aliy, Ryne and others who were started late. We've all seen the CB300 come down to minutes between top teams.
Although starting time discrepancies won't affect run times, they will affect the amount of time teams should take for start differentials. I think the race officials will need to take another look at this, and I won't be surprised if we see changes to the actual start times and differentials soon. Meanwhile, I'm going to stick with the scheduled start times according to bib numbers, mostly because that's how my worksheet is set up and I don't want to rework the whole thing until the issue is sorted out.
If this has been a useful explanation, I'm happy. If it hasn't been, just pretend you didn't read it and enjoy the race... Go SPK!