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Friday, March 12, 2010

Iditarod 2010: Friday Morning

Good morning!

I don't "know" anything more than you do from watching the GPS and leader board. What it looks like to me is that Aliy left Takotna after her "24" and blew through Ophir, stopping only 7 minutes to drop an (unknown) dog. Then, it looks like she "camped" on the trail -- something we've explained she like to do -- and blew through Cripple, stopping only long enough to drop two (unknown) dogs and get supplies out of her drop bags. She probably rested on the trail again, and now the GPS shows her on the move with only 10 miles to go until she reaches Ruby.

For those of you who are trying to "figure it all out" on your own, I suggest you watch three things at the same time: the leader board, the GPS and the trail map. This last pice of the puzzle -- the map -- will help you see that, for example, the run from Takotna to Ophir is too short to warrant a rest in Ophir, and then it's too far to run straight through to Cripple. Camping on the trail before Cripple makes the run into Cripple too short for a rest, but again way too long to run straight through to Ruby. This is why she probably camped on the trail to Ruby, and will have a good run there before stopping at that checkpoint.

In other words, the dogs have been trained and conditioned for certain run/rest lengths. These do not coincide very well with the placement of checkpoints on the remote sections of the Trail, so Aliy has to "camp out" -- i.e. make her own "mini-checkpoints" -- along the way. Just because she is stopped on the trail does not mean she has a problem. Okay?

Frankly, the leader board is -- in my opinion -- the least useful data source. It's sort of an "arbitrary" snapshot that does a poor job of accounting for run/rest status, and it is delayed in updating which adds to the confusion. In the case of Allen and the Black Team, for example, the leader board shows him only out of Takotna and not yet into Ophir. The GPS has him already into Cripple. To me, that simply means the leader board is out of date... by quite a bit.

Bottom line: Aliy is solidly and consistently in "the front group" and running very well. Allen is at the "halfway mark" and moving well. I don't see anything that worries me. Enjoy the "drama" but don't take any one piece of data to seriously... Capice?

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Hunter said...

Debi and I have started referring to it as the "Somewhat Current Standings".
As I write this, Aliy has been stopped in Ruby for a half-hour and King is about 5 miles down the trail West and the board shows neither.
Do you think it is the checkpoint (no one is currently moving in or out)failing to call it in, or is it back in Anchorage, with no one feeling any sense of urgency to update?
Hunter
Ketchikan