Left-right (Iditarod Trail [s], our "design" team logos) - LINKS to IDTracker, Red Team & Black Team stories.
You may note that this page has a white background - that is because both a Red Team and a Black Team are entered for SP Kennel at the same distance.
WOOFSITE link here.
GRAPHICS OF THE TRAIL: A series based upon SP Kennel video reports from the RED TEAM 2018. Links to the trail of both Red and Black Teams
"Approaching the Alaska Range". On the right, "Elevator Going Down..."
"Into the Race: Ophir to Iditarod" which
means the Southern Route is kicking in and to tell the truth this feels
different - don't know why - from villages on the Northern Route...the Black Team made it to this spot on their Day Six.
"Half Way!" Onto the wild and windy Mighty Yukon. The team, depleted, fights on, channeling Bob Dylan's song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfOoo4vmEq4
FROZEN OCEAN...OR NOT? FROZEN FLEET (R) ON TO ELIM.
As it appears, not We know the team has taken swimming
lessons from Mac. When daylight dawns, YES it is frozen!!!
And then there were wind gusts...which eventually banished fog, brought blue sky on the way to ELIM!
DOWN TO THE FINAL MILES OF IDITAROD 2018 OR ACTUALLY UP THESE MILES. The final 40 miles.
We thought this looked familiar! Terrain and Topkok reminded me of last year's from Chena's adventure in 2017...Champs of Nome-Council 200!!!
CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE
Chena's story of the Black Team's adventure
Ceremonial Start Teams: http://spkennel.com/2018/03/id-ceremonial-start/
#31 - Red Team Leader wins "Humanitarian Award for Dog Care" - follow their race day-by-day - we expect more information about the Red Team as it is the "A" team - here
#26 - Black Team - follow their race day by day, via Ultimate Insider package, here
(Only eligible if you finish in the top 20)
L E O N H A R D S E P P A L A D O G C A R E A W A R D (for the 4th time)
RED TEAM and its leader "first woman to finish" as #15. Also, wins the Leonhard Seppala dog care award. WOOF
IDITAROD XLVI WINNER is Bruno's Daddy's team!!! Quito pups with Kossak - on the first try - there are three youngsters plus Bruno (pictured below) coming up! WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!
Left: Southern Route red. Northern Route in blue; at right immediately above, Southern Route (aqua) - Alternate Route
used in 2016 and once before, in red. Standings.
We do not think Chef Clyde ever got Iditarod Trail Committee approval for his "Trail-side Tratorria" concept.
Perhaps because he used the word "trail" in the title for his
restaurants? Infringement of use of the word? Iditarod
protects its "brand."
Red Team Leader clearly to us seems to be expressing her devotion to her dogs but even more to Black Team Leader
T H E R E D T E A M
Link to SP Kennel website
DAY STARTS @4pm. With DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, @5PM
Start time 31 x 3 - 93 minutes past the 2pm E.S.T. RE-START
FOLLOW THE DAY BY DAY PROGRESS OF THE RED TEAM
T H E B L A C K T E A M
Link to SP Kennel website
"...Chena is one of the best leaders in the kennel but Aliy felt
might not use her in lead so much and that her talent would be somewhat
wasted in the back of the team. As such, she will be a main leader and
“big fish” for Allen’s team. She will be happier and more animated at
the front end." After Iditarod, in a far-ranging interview, Red
Team Leader says that Chena was cool and the rest of the team was hot to
trot, so that's why Chena, who would not have been in her favored spot -
lead - was "demoted."
Feeling that she had to prove herself, Chena is all in on leading the Black Team...
DAY STARTS AT @3PM and with DAYLIGHT SAVINGS IME, @4PM
Start time 26 x 3 = 78 minutes past the 2pm E.S.T. RE-START
FOLLOW THE DAY BY DAY PROGRESS OF THE BLACK TEAM
R E D T E A M
HANGING BACK...AND STARTING TO MAKE A MOVE...LOCKING HORNS WITH LEADERS (3rd) BY 12 noon.
And they're off! 44 miles on by 10pm (leader at mile 54,
having had an hour and a half lead). At @8:30am, Mile 101, not the
YQ checkpoint, Red Team on the trail to Finger Lake. And out into
Alaska Range (@130 miles) by high noon. 2:30 resting at mile
146. In the heat of the day in AK?
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ for 2 hr. and 40 min and counting,
asleep at mile 146. Well, that was a quick 21 miles - now 167
miles in in 9th place (?) by 9:30pm. Next landmark...Rohn Roadhouse.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN REMINDED THAT IDITAROD IS FOR ENDURANCE.
So we are awake again and the sun is shining in Weston. Weather
forecasts in CT are for SNOW and a lot. Is this a sign? Of
BIG SMILE FOR DRY FEET!!!
Resting in Nikolai, interview with Insider - yes right off the trail
(see above). She notes that trail is narrow and pock marked with snow
machine ruts making it almost impossible to stay dry. Earlier,
defending champ had remarked that from driver's seat on his sled he just picked
up his feet!
RED TEAM LEADERS CHAT IN NIKOLAI (L) AND ARRIVE TAKOTNA (R)
"So Commando, who is this 'Nikolai' dude and why isn't one of the
checkpoints name 'Aliy?" queries Kodiak, doing his best imitation of studious and strict
"24" IN TAKOTNA, arrived 5:46am E.S.T.
- It is reported Red Team into Takotna in 6th place, declaring for its 24hr rest there.
- ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz plus z
- Which means as #31 x 3hr start time differential
- So 7:19am E.S.T. March 8th would be my guess for resumption of Red Team's race...
ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz until tomorrow morning E.S.T. @7am plus zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
RED TEAM on the hunt. IDITAROD, the village, is the halfway point 2018
Great video of Red Team leader talking to Mitch while asking about his
sled design "Isn't this more trouble than it is worth (not exactly her
DAY #5 BEGINS
RED TEAM pursues. But who is actually in the lead?
Will this be a test of teams' toughness? Dutch says "bring it
Bottom line: The dogs don't care. They are having fun and
not racing fast - Aliy does not feel like nagging them! It is
grey-looking out of Grayling.
Up the Mighty Yukon embracing the weather.
Having said "whatever" regarding the finishing position, and having
dropped another teammate (now 13 doggies in line), we hope everyone is
going to enjoy the remaining 400 miles.
HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYS CAN ONE CAPTURE THE SOLITUDE AND REPETITIVE "ALONENESS" THAT IS LONG DISTANCE MUSHING?
From the SP Kennel 2013 ID video series. On the Yukon.
On the trail "run dogs run"
FIRST PLACE TEAM is at 805 miles of 998, Monday 3-12-18, at 12 noon EDT.
- We note that he has won all the 300 mile races he and his team have run all season...
- IDITAROD INSIDER THINKS HE'S GOING TO WIN. In case you missed this news, he did not win because he got lost and had to backtrack thus losing his lead.
- This is a long, or should I say, slow, Iditarod because of wet snow, and wind.
RED TEAM at 750 - out of Unalakleet with 10 dogs.
IDITAROD INSIDER REPORTS MUSHERS IN CLUSTERS (not lead pack)
777 miles in and resting in Shaktoolik before heading across the sound
to Koyuk. 827 - in to Koyuk. Out of Koyuk, 837, moving
nicely in 16th place. 842
Moving forward!!! Almost to Elim...and in to Elim and since Red
Team not battling it out for a win, the adoration of the fans is so just
B L A C K T E A M
CHENA WAS SO EXCITED
Ditto. Gorgeous view from 2011 via Aliy Cam re-run!!!
- They had gone 43 miles by 10pm. Mile 93 at 8:30am...
- See map at Red Team
above. "Iditarod Insiders" commented that the race now begins...too scary to draw. Now 2pm and...
- The Alaska Range is next, including Happy
River Steps. To come for Chena, who, we believe, passed this way
once before. To be "happy" is be thru this spot in one piece..
CHENA DREAMS SHE WAS IN LEAD IN YQ1000...AWAKES TO BE LEADING IN IDITAROD XLVI (WITH SISTER DAISY)!!!
Chena and the Black Team are rested and roaring to go at mile
133 and now taking some ZZZZZZZZZZZ at mile 188.
REPORT: Ginger is fine but had to be taken off line to prevent injury
from DEEP SNOW. Who would have expected that at Iditarods in some
recent years! Second doggie left behind so now a team of 14, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
As her third day opens, at mile 224, Chena dreaming, asleep, content
with her lot altho' concerned with her teammates who have been dropped...but the Black Team has been progressing and...
AS THE SAYING GOES..."THE EAGLE HAS LANDED"
Wow - how did they pull this off!!! Into McGrath mile 311.
- Will they inspect the teams taking 24 hr rests there including the
original fastest leaders, then race ahead to report to the Red Team?
will they call in the Eagle Brigade to do it?
- When - just checked @9:30pm E.S.T. Black Team had arrived Takotna!!! WOOF WOOF WOOF
24hrs in Takotna: Sounds like a W.C. Fields punch line about Philadelphia...second prize is 48 hrs.
Chena hiding in McGrath, as reported on Insider. Willie reflects
on this his #8 ID. WOOF WOOF WOOF son of ChaCha!
CHENA LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING THIS! MCCAW AND JEFE MOST IMPRESSED
As part of the education of the young members of the Black Team, Chena
asked Willie and Schmoe to tell the story of the Gold rush - not "Gold"
of the Olympics Litter.
Under the radar, Black Team learning so very much!!! Besides
the history of the Southern Route, there are lots of other things to
pick up. For example, not to tip your dish to save the dry kibble
and not let it get soggie IN FRONT OF YOUR MUSHER ON CAMERA. This
is a big one for young dogs striving to make the "Varsity."
"Willie is a rock star in lead" notes BLACK TEAM musher.
"Dogs are great" it is the musher who is under the weather, Allen comments....
Black Team musher sick with fever from infection but treated with a
course of antibiotics by medical team in Grayling. Waited a full 24 hrs
for medicine to kick in.
581 miles in, Black Team moving forward. 618 and resting. 629 running again...632 and now 635 and running!
"WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING"
Mile 650...and in to Kaltag mil 652, where unfortunately, the fever had
flared up again, so Black Team musher decided for the welfare of the
dogs not to mention his need of medical attention, he would scratch.
Live video of the Ceremonial Start out of the chute by Iditarod...Black Team graphic.
Meet the Sponsors
SP Kennel has camera riding with both #26 Black and #31 Red Teams! In 2018 temperatures and snow in the Alaska Range allowed a re-start in Willow Sunday.
Pre-Race "insider" interviews.
We can't miss this opportunity to review the responses of the "top
three." What were their plans (according to Ididarod Insiders)?
- One spoke of a year-round training regime - with no other races at
all, just training every day. Our comment: "All work and no
play makes Jack a dull boy" was the phrase used by prison camp
commander in "Bridge Over The River Kwai."
- Another commented that without Dallas, it wouldn't be a
contest. But he only wanted to run run run with his dogs and
actually had no plan.
- SP Kennel Red Team leader
spoke about...her team. They are selfless, all for one and one for all
attitudes of this group of dogs. They've been together in training
for 2 months, coming off Yukon Quest 1000 victory with all 14 dogs at
RE-START SUNDAY WE WON'T BE AROUND FOR...BUT THANKS TO THE INTERNET, WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO WATCH IT FROM ELSEWHERE!
C E R E M O N I A L S T A R T
GREAT LIVE VIDEO
We saw both #26 and #31 take off on the Ceremonial Start - which is the
route around Anchorage for walkers and runners, "paved" with snow for
this 11 mile event.
Bib draw was done at banquet Thursday, beginning at 10pm EST - #31 RED and #26 BLACK
"WHO" IS ON THE BLACK TEAM? Chena will be on the Black Team
if selected for the trip to Nome. She is to be on Black Team at the Ceremonial Start. Full team for the race will be
different, but as I remember, if a dog is on a ceremonial team he or she
cannot be moved to another team for the Re-Start on Sunday.
Assuming the Ceremonial Start team will be supplemented by 4 more
doggies, as far as we can tell, the Black Team will be made up of ...
Seasoned Iditarod veterans Willie son of ChaCha, and Schmoe
With lots of Olivia and Nacho doggies...
Chena and her siblings Tinder, Daisy, Amber
Barista, Sanka and Bean.
Then the Quito pups...
Ginger, McCaw and BRUNO
"WHO IS ON THE RED TEAM?"
In interview for Iditarod Insider at Banquet, Red Team leader reports
she will carry 13 of 14 Yukon Quest 1000 winning Black Team which also
ran the Copper Basin together (3rd place).
Out of respect to the 4-leggeds, we will not speculate as to the final
16 chosen to strike out for Nome...they are a proud group and team
spirited. Particular "shout out" to Nomex as Scout's replacement as
NOW WE KNOW THE CEREMONIAL STARTERS. WE WILL NOT KNOW TEAMS (16 each) UNTIL RE-START SUNDAY.
We note that the SP Kennel website has referenced "37 dogs" as the
number undergoing vet checks for Iditarod. Their EKG and blood
work being analyzed by Iditarod medical teams. Other analysis of
condition and rating to be done. We note that the Ceremonial Start
on Saturday is also an opportunity to meet and greet perhaps for some
who are not to be racing this year?
HOW MAY DAYS? LESS THAN A WEEK NOW!!!
Who will be on the Red Team? And how about the Black Team? Iditarod provides for 16 dogs to run as a team times two = 32 dogs get a shot!!!
F.A.Q. ABOUT THE ROUTE (S)
Traditionally, there have been two different routes from Willow to
Nome: The Northern or the Southern. See maps above.
Because of lack of snow and/or temperature too warm or both, in recent
years the Iditarod, after a disastrous attempt, well documented, of
teams careening down the Steps or crashing on Farewell Burn, decisions
were made for an Alternate Route taking the race to a Fairbanks start
(central Alaska) and heading up to Santa Claus territory before
returning to the regular Northern Route.
HOW HAS SP KENNEL RED TEAM DONE? Red Team has entered and completed Iditarod since the 2001 race. Placement in the last six recent years:
- Northern Route again 2017 because no snow on Southern one. Red Teameighth
- Northern Route 2016. Red Team third. This was the Iditarod of the terrible attack on two teams (Red Team one of them) by a snow machine driver.
- Alternate Route in 2015. Red Team fifth
- Red Team second place in 2014
- Red Team second place 2013
- Red Team second place 2012.
WE'VE NOTED THIS BEFORE, BUT BLACK TEAM PARTICIPATION IN YUKON QUEST GETS DOGGIES IN SHAPE FOR, IMHO, EASIER IDITAROD.
Just a thought - the Red Team members, prior to the time Black Team
leader began competing in Yukon Quest in 2011 (finishing sixth in his
rookie year) were not trained with the rigor of YQ 1000 as a requisite
AND HOW DOES THE QUEST DIFFER FROM IDITAROD?
The thing about Iditarod is that mushers and their dog teams are on
their own. At a few spots there are airports, but otherwise,
besides the first few miles out of Willow, it is...nada except the official race contact. Which is different:
- Except...there are more checkpoints in
Iditarod (23 instead of 11) so preparation of drop bags does make a specific difference.
- And no 36 hr layovers in one spot (Dawson). One 24 hr layover in one
of a few choices, are available to teams, plus similar 4 hr required
rests, one in the first half and one in the second. Similar to the
Quest, there is an 8 hr layover at the last checkpoint for everyone.
What do we think?
We think that the YQ is tougher on dogs and the
Iditarod is tougher on mushers. Red Team leader won the YQ in Yr
2000 - on her third try - and she is the only woman to have done so even
to this day. We will not comment on the way the Iditarod has been
dominated by repeat winners thru the years.
We have been following the Iditarod since @2006.
We originally started because there was a picture in the Westport NEWS
of a little girl from Westport Connecticut in Anchorage petting her
uncle's lead dog. He finished as the Red Lantern that year.
But my attention was attracted to the fact that Governor of Alaska,
Sarah Palin, had just named the first Sunday in March "Susan Butcher
Day" after the 4-time female Iditarod winner. In addition there
had been another woman who won the Iditarod previously - Libbie
Riddles. And leading all the first half was another woman, Red Team leader Aliy (from New England, from an Ivy League school). I was hooked. And I have been following the Iditarod ever since.
In particular, I remember ChaCha becoming the main lead dog, giving
birth to her first, second ("Car Litter" - that's you, Beemer, et al)
and third ("Honkey Tonk Litter" - Olivia and her brother Waylon, et al)
and the "Outlaws" including Clyde.
IDITAROD CHECKS UP ON KENNELS
IZZY joins the I.T.C. Advisory Committee to inspect doggie conditions at kennels.
WHAT COMES AFTER THE YUKON QUEST?
GLOBAL WARMING CONVENTION AT SHIP CREEK
"Will Southern Route provide more or less contact with polar bears, in training for circus work in Canada?" Chena asks..
DNN SPECIAL REPORT ("HOT LICK")
SP Kennel has signed up for IDITAROD
XLVI..."We're all excited in the 'Yard" said Chena, noting that Scruggs
had had the scoop!"
SP Kennel on "Advisory Committee" to inspect kennels for proper conditions (and food - Clyde volunteers): https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/12/01/iditarod-says-it-will-establish-dog-care-standards-for-its-competitors/
Most interesting commentary yet on dog doping drama:
News of declining sponsorship and resulting lower prize money:
Taking aim at the last part of the Iditarod Trail in late August, RED
TEAM LEADER pays a "thank you"call on villages along the latter part of
the historic route.