RED TEAM UPDATE
The Red Team pulled in to Ruby checkpoint at 11.23pm tonight in 9th position. As expected, they camped out on the trail for about four hours half-way through the run.
Teams will be starting to take their mandatory 24 or 8 hour stops and for the next few checkpoints we will see lots of leap-frogging in positions as some teams rest earlier and others rest later. Only once everyone has done both the "Yukon 8" and their 24 will we have a better picture of actual positions.
Overnight the Insider crew are sure to have some video of them arriving so we'll hear more about their run then. This will have been Aliy's first night on the Yukon River and she will be pleased to get that hurdle cleared.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
The Insider crew interviewed Allen at Tanana and he talked a bit about his team and how their speed is really good currently as he is resting longer than some of the front running teams. He said he will give them another 100 miles of longer rests and "maybe start racing a bit, which will be fun". This is what he is great at in the Iditarod: pushing a younger team just enough to test them but not too much to make it too challenging and too hard for them. He will push a little and back off a little as needs must. Scooby, Five and Hotshot have already gone further than they have ever raced before and that is an exciting milestone for them. Allen says that once a dog has run 1000 miles they can do anything!
He was asked about the cold and he talked about having just come off the Quest and so these cold temperatures "didn't seem that bad" and that he should be used to it, but that the wind got up a bit on the river which makes it feel colder. The white pants you see Aliy and Allen wearing are wind blockers and help trap warmth inside.
The Black Team is currently resting at mile 301 so it appears he is breaking this run into three, having stopped on the trail for four hours earlier, in the warmth of the day. The next checkpoint for them is Ruby. By stopping here they may go through Ruby and camp on the other side, or do a series of shorter runs then rests to help keep up their speed. We'll just have to wait and see.
Kennel friend and Decaf sponsor, Dawn, volunteered in the Communications Team for the Iditarod last year and she wrote this:
If you want to pass this along to your readers... I thought I'd share what I learned about the danged race standings entries while I volunteered in Comms last year.
- We stared at the race standings screen...(much like I did from home before and after volunteering.)
- We stared at the GPS Trackers wondering why we hadn't been updated on this mushers entry into a checkpoint...(much like I did from home before and after volunteering.)
- Ding!!! We would get the email from the checkpoint or in the case of the far out places with no internet, the satellite phone call.
- Now we could enter the musher's info including time in (sometimes the time out happened in the same email), and dogs in (and out if same time)
- All of the calculations of time en route, time in the checkpoint, etc. were done by the program. Good thing or I would not have been able to volunteer for this task!!!
- Sigh. Back to staring at the screens!
We could make NO updates unless the information came from the checkpoint which in some cases involved the person checking in musher, handing information to the runner, who ran into building or tent to send us the email. There were some cases where the emails might be missing a dog count, and we'd have to email them back to get all the info. Then wait for the reply, but in the meantime that runner went back outside. I thought I'd be in the first to know when Aliy & Allen would be getting places. Nope. Same as all of you. I might have been 30 seconds ahead of you. I type pretty fast.
I promised myself after six shifts in Comms to never, ever, get mad at the data entry people again. The remote villages took time to wind up the internet and get information to us. The more I learned about it all, the more I was amazed at how fast we get information from the remote of Alaska. No really. It is pretty darn fast.
Also note that it is not required for a musher to physically "check out" of a checkpoint so out times and dog counts are sometimes missed. I think we forget sometimes that this race is in the Alaskan wilderness - we get used to such good coverage that when things are a little slow it can be frustrating. Thanks Dawn for explaining how it all works.