IDITAROD 2019 IS ALSO KNOWN AS "XLVII" for the continuous running of the event total (#47). STANDING ABOVE RIGHT
SP Kennel policy 2019: One team for each of the longest distance
major races...links to race when it starts 3-3-19 - the sky on Ceremonial Start Day.
WATCH THIS SPOT FOR LINK TO OFFICIAL RED TEAM REPORT ID#47
IDITAROD INSIDER: Interview shows lots of ID planning - including self-deprecating humor.
AWARDS BANQUET SUNDAY MARCH 17, 2019: 4th Place in 2019!!! Woof woof woof.
SP Kennel Red Team received the Halfway Award for completing 1st half first. And...
Humanitarian Award for best dog care! WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF
HOW IT IS AWARDED (as we heard it):
- Winner must be from the top 20 finishing teams.
- What items considered?
- Condition (physical);
- Dog attitude and weight.
- Look of coat, of the dog team/individuals at every recorded vet check point...
- Added up from each vet's top three (must choose 1, 2, 3) for each classification...
- PLUS post race physical exam - compared to pre-race data as well as check-point data.
- Obviously, this is a matter of statistics assembled over 10 days or so and then the numbers are run...
Kennel recognized as winner for the 5th ("woof") time!
THE "PAWNOTES" UNOFFICIAL VERSION. NOW WE BEGIN WITH LINKS TO OFFICIAL VERSION
CHENA WAS ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON HER EDITORIAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IDITAROD XLVII
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER: WE NOW BEGIN ADDING GRAPHIC LINK TO SHORT SP KENNEL VIDEO STORY AS REPORTED OFFICIALLY
The Red Team's adventure, day by day
(begins 6:40pm approx. EST 7:40pm). Unofficial version. "Pawnotes" includes some
graphics from previous ID's.
THE FIRST FEW MILES LINK TO SP KENNEL
- AND THEY'RE OFF!!!
- At the 48 mile mark. Red Team motoring along, moving up from 19th
to 13th place. This looks to be a most interesting ID, although
here, about 4 hours in, it is of course too soon to tell.
- Now 18th place a few minutes later (resting?) -
passed by Nick Petit and Martin Buser...this is why I don't watch
constantly - it is nerve wracking. Chena says not to worry.
- Now she's in 14th place 20 minutes later...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZmiddle of the night, way down the list then...
- And upon waking...4th place!
- An hour later (117 mi), second place...and now resting 123mi. Where is this?
- FINGER LAKE.
That's the check point before some of the most challenging parts of ID
- After a lengthy rest, Red Team embarks on this difficult leg. In seventh place @145mi.
- We watched an interview of defending champ Joar -
from Finger Lakes - and he said the trail was fine, but it was getting
warm - he would run at night. During the day he lets his dogs set
their own pace - lots of rests so they can roll around in the
Here at the beginning, Chena wants to be sure everyone understands that this is a collaborative effort.
Data sources (secondary) she used are:
The true "primary" source, Chena says, is her group of "field reporters" - team members who give info to the
Eagle Brigade. This flying squad of eagle-eyed journalists
pierces the clouds/snow and observes progress from on high, a truly
"cheap" or "cheep" way to communicate.
- Insider-provided GPS tracking, video, interviews
("secondary" meaning not original in this case - of course there is no
better "primary" source than GPS) as well as
- SP Kennel website as well as
- Online reports from ADN.
**BREAKING NEWS - FIVE MEMBERS OF THE FIRE LITTER ON ID RED TEAM
- On to Rainy Pass...(right - arrival by Red Team in previous event) with the Happy River Steps along the way...
- ID is 987 mi - not counting 11 mile "ceremonial start" - so with more than 10% done RED TEAM is in second place.
- "The Iditarod is smaller this year, in terms of both mushers and
dogs. The field of 52 is the smallest since 1989, when 49 mushers
started, and a new rule trimmed the maximum size of teams from 16 dogs
- The quote above is from ADN article. We note that Iditarod began in 1972.
- Word is that there is snow on the trail through the Alaska Range,
and up the Yukon River, but the Bering Sea (above, left) is not frozen... would that
be Norton Sound (our graphic from 2016)?
- WE NOTE THAT MICHELLE PHILLIPS HAS WITHDRAWN (AFTER A TOUGH RACE, FINISHING HIGH - 4 or 5 - IN YQ1000 LAST MONTH).
on the team, but is now able to devote herself to her position as Editor
in Chief of the WOOFSITE and bring her best insights to you!!!
Here's her first post: "This is going to be a dog fight with so many
highly skilled teams up front" but she warns not to count out those who
picked high numbers. "ID is truly a mind game and dogs might prefer
having to fight to get the lead..." On the other paw, Chena
herself loves either method - "Running in front is cool, too!" she
stated, citing her recent victory in both the YQ200 as well as 2018 YQ1000.
kills as the saying goes. What I've found is the relation between
"run" and "rest" in a distance race like ID or YQ is critical. If
the moving speed is faster than the average speed here at the early
phases of a long distance race, unless you are driving a team of super
dogs, or holding some in reserve (probably not so much this year) it
should catch up with them later in the race.
****STEPS: Quite a few years ago,
Red Team Leader kept her hand-held camera running while descending the
Happy River Steps - now that is a daredevil move if ever I heard one! The video
was so scary (you could hear the "whack" as tree limbs closed in and the
"BANG" as the sled bounced down each and every Step - this is not a warm and fuzzy
sport! Of course, the most scary
one was when, some years later, I believe Jeff King wore a camera
mounted atop his visor - the year of the "wipe outs" due to no snow
the dogs love this and run super fast - Red Team musher made it through
but others just called it a day, "scratched." Broken bones and nerves
among that group.
Rainy Pass can be really tough - this year running at night may be good for the team, but tough on the musher!
WOOF WOOF WOOF
- Arriving Rainy Pass, Red Team took a longish rest...
- 5th place at 9pm on the way to Rohn (not the member of the Board
of Finance in Weston). Whose meeting is going on and on, taking me
away from keeping track of ID...
- March 12th is a big meeting in Weston -
Selectman, Finance, Education and our 3 state legislators...we heard
First Selectman say Weston under the present formula in SB431 (Sen. Looney)
would be told it puts 42% rather than 25% toward TRSZZZZ.
- Upon awaking in Weston CT we read in the HOUR (Dan Haar) of the
Progressive Democrats push for actions against Weston - that would be 2
of Weston's 3 legislators.
- Lunchtime and 5 miles to Nikolai for the Red Team...nominally in 4th place but some fast teams breathing down their neck...
- Arrived Nikolai (mile 207) in 4th or fifth place...
- POST-RACE INSIDER INTERVIEW - RED TEAM MUSHER SAYS IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE LEAD PACK AT THIS TIME, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WIN.
- Chena reports that ID has asked that no more comments about CT politics appear on her WOOFSITE.
- Chena has consulted with Beemer and Viper, as well
as contacted Waylon in New Zealand, and she will continue to complain
about the CT Legislature. "I have been told I can say whatever I
like about 'an entity' but not individuals" she stated. "An
'entity' could also be a fire hydrant, for example, and male dogs know
what to do" so she continued "We will continue to SPEAK UP."
- We got started late covering Day #3 because we
figured the Red Team would spend longer tending to ouches...out of
Nikolai towards McGrath;
- As we write these notes, the Red Team is in fifth
place, cookin' with Crisco as my favorite watercolor teacher once
said...speed increased from earlier...293 miles done.
- "Spirit of the North" - first into McGrath goes to Quick Nick.
- At 9am in Weston we are shocked to see that Red Team
is...in second place!!! Some of the lead teams may be taking
their 24 hour rests, but it is nice to see anyway!!!
- Back from morning rounds...and it looks to me that Red Team is taking its long rest in Ophir...one all-day rest, and 2 8 hour rests - one along the Yukon and one at White Mountain.
- WRONG - only 2hrs and guess who is in FIRST PLACE at mile 359? Red Team!!! What fun!!!
- Next stop: Iditarod. Jefe remembers this from last year!
- Chena has no idea what is going on, but she stated "Red Team is hanging tough" against speeding two leaders.
- Is the maximum 14 dogs having an effect? Not yet.
Speed is really fast and some may not feel the two leaders can keep it
- Chena lining up stand up gigs for Red Team musher as she mocks
her "dilly-dallying" over her treating her dogs as if they were puppies
(see snap above - a mock concerned look).
- Considering that the rules call for one 24 hour rest and 2 specified 8hr. rests, what's the plan?
IDITAROD THE PLACE
Spark's graphic of Iditarod Traii. Red Team doesn't do anything half-way - but they'll take the gold.
"We didn't know Spark was an artist - hasn't got to color studies yet"
Chena reports. "CT should change its motto to 'Home of Executive
Kidneys'" and Bruno agrees!
TWENTY-FOUR HOUR PLUS TIME OUT: At 1:38am AK TIME...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
- Long leg to Iditarod winding down...and they
arrived1:38am, AK time. In the dark, of course. Dogs look
happy and wagging tails!!!
- Took a long time to get there - trail (they were
breaking trail) not well marked. But now everyone else will have
an easier time.ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ24hr
- Is the 24 hr rest going to be like a camp out? Looks that way!
- About 10 hours in Red Team still has the place to themselves.
But the circus will be coming to interrupt
- BREAKING NEWS REPORT: It was Bruno in the sled bag - and we believe he got impatient circling around the tussocks - NO SNOW ON THE TRAIL 15 miles from Iditarod.
- Refreshed from being at historic Iditarod, the team accepted the $2000 in gold (not "Gold").
- Day Five will begin around 6:40pm, but since we began some previous days late, how about this one...early?
- Commentary from ID regarding trail on Southern Route says...watch out for blustery Yukon...
- And Red Team is back on the trail, now in 12th place. But refreshed from 24 hrs at historic Iditarod.
- Into Shageluk in 11th place...
- How about that! The Red Team is thrilled to have Gold recognized in such a nice way!!! WOOF WOOF.
- Analysis by Chena reads as follows: "Red Team looks great, moving well at equivalent speed of leaders."
- Q&A with Insider Team in Grayling on the Yukon made it clear
that Red Team "went for it" and it didn't come out - but she was happy
- We note that Iditarod Insiders pointed out some dogs on leader's
team were over 70 lbs. in response to "14 dogs better than 11?" - female
dogs weigh less.
EAGLE EYE REPORTER NOTES: "Holy crap - she's going for it" says eagle on duty. After
almost as long voluntary rest, 8hr. rest saved for Kaltag!!!
- WOW!!! We took some time off...and now the Red Team is in 6th place heading into Grayling (where the top 5 are resting);
- On the edge of our seat...it appears some who had been ahead of the Red Team took 8 hr rest enabling Red Team to jump ahead...
- This "lead" mentioned above, after poring over our charts, will be given back once Red Team takes their 8 hr rest somewhere on the Yukon.
- Eagles think Red Team will grace their Island for the 8hr rest...which is required along the Yukon.
- Was it the eagle brigade that passed along intelligence to Bruno? That is legal - animal to animal communication is fine.
- Rumors about Eagle Island are being spoken of...and yes, mushers had to take extra supplies!!!
- That would be for 120 miles-worth of food and stuff - including the long haul to Kaltag...and then the 85 miles to Unalakleet.
- Complicating matters for Chena is the absence of chatter from the
eagles...why are they silent? Have they done any checking on the
lead pack recently?
- BREAKING NEWS FROM EAGLES: "Doing the math, leader is
advancing to Kaltag very slowly...with lots of stops at various cabins,
- WARNING: This is where time "springs ahead" at 2am. Which is why using the tracker is always better than doing arithmetic.
- Team loses Commando at Eagle Island- now only 13 dogs in line - which is still the highest number for any team (Jessie Royer has 13 too).
- During the night, Red Team, 13 strong - was that FIVE in lead?
Nope, probably Spark - made their way to Kaltag!!! Musher check
- We say that as ID analyst refers to "protecting their position" as a comment made by a team near the lead pack...
- OUT OF KALTAG!!! On the road again, as it were. 85 miles to Unalakleete...as this is written, 24 miles in to this, the longest "leg"...
- We are so sad Commando had to sit out the rest of ID. Get well, brother!!! WOOF WOOF WOOF
- Commando is reading now of the bill in C.G.A. regarding a "bear hunt" in
Litchfield County and he notes: "There were no bears on the ID
- Chena is very concerned but feels helpless to do anything about the
situation - "GO BRO!!! WOOF WOOF WOOF" she faux calls out to
- At the end of the day, Red Team is chugging along in seventh -
getting closer to sixth place team and seeming to draw away from those
behind - but we wear rose colored glasses.
- This is the longest stretch in ID - 68 miles down, 17 to go 'til
UNK. Eagle team reports "Red Team moving forward!" and thru the
- In to Shaktoolik...previously, we hadn't figured that Red Team would stay here for a while.*
- FRONT PAGE in Anchorage Daily News of Aliy giving Nomex a tip - or maybe she was just telling him what a big boy he is...
- For a young team they are doing fantastically well - WOOF (translation from Chena - "JMO").
- Team down to twelve (48 paws), departed Shaktoolik for Koyuk - total
50 miles..."But it seems like 100 because it is blowing on the ocean
and the view is the same..." an official comment.
- Shaktoolik has great bathrooms, if memory serves. With awesome hotel-like showers (perhaps we exaggerate a bit).*
- Looking back, last year mile 777 was in DAY NINE...
- Eagles are proud they planted that story with their Eagle Island picture of Red Team.
- FWIW - not yet "DAY#9" - Red Team more than 40 miles
behind so they are not worried about anything up front...
- Make that 32
- In 4th place as of 10:12pm. 818mi.
- Of the 48 miles to Elim from Koyuk at mile 862, that makes a baker's dozen to go...or seventy-five percent done on this leg...
- 868mi now, and Eagle Brigade has signed the contract for remainder
of ID with race officials. They will defer to official news
sources in case of a tie in exchange for various gifts.
- Red Team in Elim mile 875 (above second from right)!!!
- We're going to take off here...and thru the night...Driver had
to step out of the line, as well as Amber (this is a note post-ID)
- See above, center.
- Eagles report loud and constant wind gusts, which hamper somewhat
- But their reports are still better than Insider - oh wow, the
Eagles' deal paid off - no one but they can report!!!.
- NEWSFLASH: Eagles report fast leader SCRATCHES (above, far right).
RED TEAM FINISHES 4th - we watched the finish live.
The only working mic picked up Red Team musher turning to fans and thanking them!!!
- Into White Mountain in 4th place. How did
she do that??? Guess the benefit of great long distance training
as well as the 24hr coming at the halfway point!!!
- Out of White Mountain in 4th Place...
- Have we passed the "blow hole" yet???
- They don't call it "Safety" for no reason...22 miles more...
- Now ten miles to go, still in 4th Place!!!
- AND RED TEAM COMES IN 4th!!! AWESOME!!!
- Technically the Red Team finished in Day #11 (the way Chena has been doing the calculations)
- Watching it live was absolutely amazing!!!
ON COMPARING 14 TO 16 TEAM MEMBER EFFECT:
- Especially tough for Red Team leader who remarked that she was, as
I expected, going to go with her team of younger dogs PLUS her
favorites from Black Team.
- Multiple winner and someone who's advice Red Team leader took this
season, remarked that the reduction of number of dogs might have a
stronger impact on less experienced teams.
- Chena says "It won't affect SP Kennel because our musher puts dogs first ALWAYS."
ON COMPARING YQ1000 WITH IDITAROD
Chena was a member of the winning Black Team in Yukon Quest 2018, and
has run ID three times, calls attention to facts found on the Iditarod
website. Differences in the races are profound...
All in all, she notes: "I prefer ID because it tests our ability
to concentrate" although admitting that YQ is more fun for dogs.
"As a team, we were really happy all the time" in 2018, she stated.
- Both are 1000 miles long but run one month apart (Feb. and Mar.) - does this affect the race courses/weather?
- Long rest is longer (36 hours) and in a fixed spot on the YQ1000
while ID is 24 hours and can vary based upon musher's preference.
- Rainy Pass is the one high point on ID and YQ1000 has four (4) peaks all higher than that to climb!
- Fewer "check points" on YQ1000 although they are reachable by support teams;
- ID is a lonely trip (no contacts by road so no friendly and
familiar faces) but has many more "check points" where supplies have
been "dropped" in advance.