Posts Tagged ‘Iditarod patch’

Iditarod (More) (Corrected)


March 12th, 2015 Posted 8:37 am

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 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.




Iditarod (Cont’d)


March 5th, 2013 Posted 8:11 am

Close-up of the Snowhook sled, taken at the Rainy Pass checkpoint, showing a lovely patch:


“First,” says Spence, “here’s something from Rebecca – “

“CEO of Snowhook Kennel – ” says Admin.

” – who’s so very nice to get in touch on so little sleep. For those who don’t know, Snowhook is ‘our’ team in the Iditarod race, a team consisting of Justin (AJ) and Rebecca Savidis and sixteen (with more back home) beautiful and well-cared for racing dogs. Here’s Rebecca’s report:”

The first full day of racing brought strong race times for the team and some quality time spent in fourth place.  The team’s place in the standing has changed and that is expected.  When it comes to the race, change is always expected.  Up until tonight, AJ has followed his race schedule, coming into and leaving checkpoints within minutes as planned.  He remained in Rohn longer than I anticipated.  What was the reason?  Your guess is as good as mine, yet the extended stay could be a result of weather, sled issues, trail conditions, or dog related.  No matter the cause, I trust AJ’s judgement and competency. 

“And,” says Admin, “here are two members of the racing team, perhaps running through some snowy Alaskan forest at this very moment. Abe on top, and then Charlie.”

“Many thanks to Rebecca for these photos.”



Welcome Happy, Old Annie from TN.


Snowhook Patches! Featuring Chet And The Legendary Whitey-Lance!


February 5th, 2013 Posted 8:34 am

“And they can be yours,” Admin says. “You can sport one of these beautiful patches – designed by Melanie, Plunderer extraordinaire – and at the same time support the wonderfully humane Snowhook Kennel in the their racing endeavors this winter. All proceeds will go toward dog care and remaining race expenses.”

“The patches,” says Spence, “are three by four inches and cost $15.00 USD per patch for orders shipped within the United States, shipping & handling included, $20.00 USD for orders shipped outside the U.S. Patches can be ordered online at Here’s what Rebecca of Snowhook has to say:”

‘Last year, Snowhook proudly displayed Chet the Dog patches specifically designed for our 2012 Iditarod race on our parkas, dog jackets and sled bag.  This new patch—what the Plunderers are calling the ‘forever’ patch—is timeless and features Chet and Whitey-Lance, Snowhook’s infamous wanderer waiting for the team under the burled arch which signifies the finish line of the Iditarod.’

Here’s the patch – Chet on the left, Whitey-Lance on the right.


Welcome Monty, Pixie & Bean.



Iditarod: Ceremonial Start


March 4th, 2012 Posted 10:52 am

“Got the laptop working?” says Spence. “Barely,” says Admin. “And who knows for how long. First – and we’re so grateful that Rebecca of Snowhook – ” “Our team!” ” – is taking the time to give us updates. Yesterday was the Ceremonial start, and today the actual race begins – I believe at 3 p.m., local time. You can follow the race at As you’ll see from Rebecca’s report, they’ve endured another setback, but their spirit is just amazing. And down at the bottom, we’ll post a picture of AJ and Twigs wearing patches that make us very proud. Here’s Rebecca:” Last night ended this morning and today started at 5 am. The Ceremonial Start is always a long day, and for us it has turned into a long night. I started writing this email from the vet emergency room where I took Rory, one of AJs main leaders late this evening.  She is having emergency spleen surgery.  We are awaiting word and keeping our fingers crossed. This is another blow to the team that is already down two main team members. Ceremonial Start: AJ and I toured eleven miles though the streets of Anchorage today with our Iditarider, Jan.  Individuals from all over bid for the eleven mile ride with their musher of choice in an auction. To buy the seat in the sled outright costs $7500. AJ was chosen by our Iditarider for our Greek last name. Yesterday was the dress rehearsal, Sunday is go time. We will enjoy breakfast with friends of the kennel, load up the dogs and head to the starting line. If a prize was given for shortest commute, we would likely win it; the eve starts across the street from our property. We will be honored to have a VIP (very important Plunderer), Charris join us for the restart tomorrow. AJ and team will be counted down shortly after 3 pm. And, then it is good-by.

Note about photo: We’re having some trouble posting it properly. 


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