As of 9:30 this morning Travis was through the checkpoint of Ophir in 29th place. He posted a strong run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. He stayed In Ophir for 35 minutes probably to feed his dogs and give them a short break.
He is now on the trail heading towards Cripple. I imagine he will rest somewhere on the trail between Cripple and Ruby, probably during the heat of the day from about 11-4 or something like that as it is a longer run.
Without his 3 main leaders — Zema, Madori, and Mary — in the team I’m sure Travis is being more cautious as to when he starts really pushing the team.
Remember, last year Travis’ team didn’t start peaking until Kaltag about 630 miles in to the race. By Koyuk, 200 miles later, they were absolutely flying. These are dogs that generally get stronger the further they go down the trail and Travis is playing off of that. He moved up approximately 10 positions in the last two runs of 2013, passing the last team as he came onto Front Street in Nome.
Currently, only 4 hours separates 30th place from 19th place. And 6 hours separates 30th from 13th place. Two things lead to this: (1) the front of the pack is running faster (2) the back is resting longer. In reality it is some combination of the two.
Travis rested a little more earlier in the race with hopes that it will pay off later. Regardless, this is a very competitive field with a whole lot of race left… it will be interesting to see who moves up and who moves down in the standings as the mushers continue down the trail!