Iditarod (More) (Corrected)
There’s a lot of inside baseball sort of stuff in the Iditarod, as we can see from the overnight report from Rebecca (CEO of Snowhook, our team in the world’s greatest sled dog race). But first, here’s musher AJ (Justin Savidis) with two stars of the team at the ceremonial start. Their names: Chet and Bernie! And note the chetthedog.com patch on AJ’s arm!
There have been some questions accompanied with a yeep and/or a yark—such is the nature of a Plunderer—about why AJ did not claim his eight in Tanana. This eight is race fan shorthand for the mandatory eight hour layover each musher is required to take at some point on the Yukon River. There is also a mandatory twenty-four hour layover to be taken anywhere and then another eight in the checkpoint of White Mountain.
According to race standings, AJ spent almost eight hours in Tanana, but not quite. It was not enough to declare his eight. This does not worry me. I have full confidence in AJ. However, there are a variety of possible answers to this question. He may want to take his eight later on the river. There are other long runs along the Yukon that would warrant an eight hour layover chaser. There is also the possibility of human error on either the musher or race official’s part. He may have calculated incorrectly, or he may have been told the incorrect time.
The trail is about trusting your training and being adaptive to the reality of the race, good or bad. Weather can be a reality you did not anticipate. Trail conditions can be better or worse than expected. Your own mental or physical can play a role in your race strategy. The conditioning of the dogs, their appetite, and their attitude may require a musher to adjust their plans for better or worse. In 2013, despite running at the front of the pack, the dogs caught a stomach bug. AJ adjusted his race to nurse the dogs to health. Instead of pushing them, he slowed the dogs. He cared for them, and rested them much longer than he planned. They returned the favor when AJ came down with a stomach bug in the final third of the race. He did not slow, but they cared for him by delivering him to the next checkpoint. Things happen on the trail and more often than not, I will not be privy to the story until we reach Nome.
AJ has invested his time, energy and love into the dogs. They know him and trust him. He knows and trusts them. This is why not taking his eight in Tanana does not concern me.
We can expect AJ to twenty-four in Galena.
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 8:37 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.