Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Iditarod 2011

I spent this morning following the Iditarod...again. It looked to be an exciting finish with John Baker leaving White Mountain and heading to Nome (about 77 miles) followed closely by Ramey Smyth 51 minutes later. In the past, Smyth had average times during this stretch that was faster than Baker's. If the averages played out, then the two of them would be getting off the ice and into Nome at just about the same time.

It didn't work out that way. Smyth pushed Baker early on, but Baker and his team kicked it into a higher gear and opened up his lead from just five or so miles at the start to nearly 8 miles by the time they reached Safety, 55 miles from White Mountain. The last 22 miles was a formality. John Baker of Kotzebue, AK finished just over one hour ahead of Smyth as he set a new record of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds. That eclipsed Martin Burser's record by over 3 hours. (Story here.)

That doesn't end the race, however. What it does is mark the beginning of the end. The race continues until the last musher and his/her team crosses the finish line under the burled arch in Nome. They will be several days in getting there. Eleven mushers and their teams have scratched.

You can see who is finished and who's still out on the trail by checking the current standings here.

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