What a run! Travis arrived into the ghost town of Iditarod at 9:23 this evening after 13 hours and 3 minutes on the trail. He stopped along the trail at Don’s cabin, arriving there at 12:24 and departing almost 4 hours later.
This put his actual travel time closer to 9 hours. Although most teams camped along the way to Iditarod, most of the front runner rested between 3 – 3.5 hours. He also passed four teams who left before him: Rick Casillo, Matt Hall, Michi Kono and Michelle Phillips.
The trail is soft and the weather warm. It sounds like both Travis and the dogs are having to work hard, but looks like their efforts are paying off through faster run times than those immediately surrounding him. His goal is to maintain speed and to continue picking off the teams ahead of him.
For my part, I spent the day preparing and shipping out a sled after getting word that Travis thought it would be a good idea. The only problem was the sled he wanted was buried under snow, had no sled bag, and by the the time I got word I only had a few hours to get it prepped and to Anchorage.
Thanks to my friend Lou Perieria, Noah Pereira’s dad, we were able to find a sled bag and get the sled out before the shipping company closed. It will make it’s way to Unalakleet early tomorrow morning provided the weather holds. Keep your fingers crossed!
I expect Travis to leave Iditarod between 4 and 5 hours after his arrival. This puts him on the trail somewhere between 1:30 and 2:30 in the morning — which is hard.
The human body seems hardwired to want to sleep at this god forsaken hour and staying awake can be a real struggle. From about 2am to 5am is often great mushing for the dogs — cooler weather, harder trails —- but can be tough on the musher. It also sounds like Travis was considering dropping his “caboose” on his sled which will force Travis to be more attentive but allow him to more easily help the team in the dog snow.
I had wanted to spend the day writing about our dogs, giving a team roster, and filling in some of the gaps in our winter — but it seems the day had other plans!