Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Projected 2013 Iditarod Winner Is...

The projected 2013 Iditarod Winner is the fan because this has been an unbelievable journey to watch. It looks like it is going to be a nail biter all the way to the Burled Arches. Take a look at the historical race times from White Mountain to Nome for the top 5 in the past 4 years.  It looks like a foot race between Aliy and Jeff.

Mitch Aliy Jeff Ray Jr Dallas
2012 12:43 10:42 10:11 11:06
2011 9:42 10:17 10:02
2010 13:13 11:02 10:16 9:55 9:25
2009 11:48 11:23 8:55 8:46 9:48
AVG 12:34 10:42 9:35 9:47 10:05

Monday, March 11, 2013

Still the King

Jeff King has been patient and persistent. He has been down this trail before and he has a capable team of huskies from the homestead that have been rising in the ranks the last half of the race. It is hard to believe that he was 12 hours off the lead in Iditarod, but now he is less than 1/2 hour from Mitch.  Historically, if you look at Jeff's times from arrival to Koyuk to arrival to Nome, in recent years he runs it a couple hours faster than Mitch.  Look for Aliy and Ray Jr. to also potentially pass by Mitch. The Viking Joar Ulsom is a wild card, but it looks like he still has some gas in tank. Wow, what an exciting Iditarod!

Koyuk - Nome
Time Year
Aliy 39h36m 2012
37h45m 2011
Jeff 37h20m 2010
37h47m 2006
Mitch 41h42m 2012
40h42m 2010
Ray Jr. 40h38m 2012
38h08m 2011
Aaron 42h21m 2012

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sunny Sonny

Sonny Linder is no rookie to the Iditarod. But when he was a rookie back in 1978, he won the Rookie of The Year Award. In fact Sonny’s son Chad also won ROTY in 2009. There are many mushing families in the Iditarod, but Chad and Sonny are the only father/son team that have both been ROTY.

Sonny’s highest placed finish in the Iditarod was 2nd during the 1981 race. He is consistently a top 20 finisher and was on top of the winner podium in the inaugural Yukon Quest ract. But he hasn’t been in the single digit Iditarod finisher since 1985 with a 9th place finish.

This grandpa should not be overlooked. Even though Sonny checked into Iditarod a couple hours behind Lance, with a bib number of 67, he will be able to hit the trail a little more than a ½ hour ahead of Lance.  The unanswered question is what team will be on the trail ahead of them?  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Buser Cruiser

Martin sharing a smile & autograph with young fans in Aniak during a K300 race.
Martin Buser was the first musher to depart Willow Lake and the first person to depart Finger Lake. The trail conditions are ideal for his team that likes to run fast. Buser had his fastest Iditarod race in 2002 and the record for 9 years until Kotzebue musher John Baker became the fastest race record holder with 8d18h46m39s in 2011.  One can only assume he wants his record back! As Buser told a reporter, he is going to either look like a genius or an idiot for this unconventional move and we won’t know until later up the trail.

As of now, Buser is ½ way to Rohn and no one else has even checked into Rainy. Currently the second place team, about 25 miles back, is the Buser B team led by Matt Failor. One has to wonder about the thoughts running through Rohn’s mind as he is back tending to the kennel. Rohn had a tough time at the K300 this year and elected to sit this Iditarod out and let his father run a super team (filled with young and excited girls according to wife Kathy Chapoton). Lest you worry about the puppy team, that is being run by Buser Dog handler James Volek. Those pups are wresting in Skwenta having averaged 11.76 mph on the way to the checkpoint.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Still the King, Former King, or King Emeritus?

Photo by Tony Wright
We all know unequivocally that Jeff King is part of Iditarod royalty with his 4 wins, but will he ever again be the first to arrive under the burled arches of Nome?  King and the Iditarod community at large made a big deal about his retirement in 2010 after his 3rd place finish; but his retirement was short lived, i.e., only one year. King is the top Iditarod money winner with career winnings of $808K. It is worth noting that Lance Mackey's winnings (also 4 wins) are about 1/2 that, but King has about 20 more finisher belt buckles in his collection!

King is the consummate inventor. He brought us the Iditarod Barcolounger in 2004 (with seatbelt) and heated handle bars in 2006. There hasn't been any news of inventions of late coming out of the Husky Homestead research labs, but one can only hope.

Last year when King came out of retirement he was running about 4th place with fast run times for much of the race until his team hit a metaphorical wall 12 miles outside Unalakleet and he was forced to scratch. He's back this year, but one has to ask can he make it all the way to Nome this year and if he does, does he have a chance of winning it all and joining only Rick Swenson as a 5-time Iditarod winner?

King finished 12th in 2009, 2nd in 2008, 5th in 2007 and in 2006 he was the first to Nome. 2006 also corresponds with the last time King won the always competitive and always interesting Kuskokwim K300 race. He brought 12 dogs across the finish line in Bethel to place first among a competitive field including Tony Browning (Aaron Burmeister's dogs), Pete Kaiser, Paul Gebhardt, Rohn and Martin Buser, John Baker and Ken Anderson among others. He was King of the Kusko this year, but will he be back as King of the Iditarod?