BIB NUMBERS
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!

THE FINAL MILES OF IDITAROD 2018
              
Uphill.  40 miles to go, views never gets old.  "Blow Hole" (select Johnson's Camp) calm in 2018;  Nome hoves into view 5 miles out...FINISH







CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE

FINISHER'S BANQUET
Chena's story of the Black Team's adventure
Ceremonial Start Teams:  http://spkennel.com/2018/03/id-ceremonial-start/
RE-START ORDER
Maps
#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
Pre-race
Background




(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 she’s 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




DAY #1

   
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?



DAY #2

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 what?



DAY #3



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 Uncle Scout.


"24" IN TAKOTNA, arrived 5:46am E.S.T. 


DAY #4

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 words)?"




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 on!!!"


DAY #6

        
CONDITIONS?  ATTITUDE?
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.


DAY #7

 



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. 




DAY #8

On the trail "run dogs run"
 

FIRST PLACE TEAM is at 805 miles of 998, Monday 3-12-18, at 12 noon EDT.  

RED TEAM
at 750 - out of Unalakleet with 10 dogs. 



DAY #9



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



DAY #10


SO TOUCHING
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 right.










B L A C K    T E A M





DAY #1


CHENA WAS SO EXCITED
Ditto.  Gorgeous view from 2011 via Aliy Cam re-run!!!



DAY #2

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
      
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



DAY #3


ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
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...



DAY #4


AS THE SAYING GOES..."THE EAGLE HAS LANDED"


24hrs in Takotna:  Sounds like a W.C. Fields punch line about Philadelphia...second prize is 48 hrs.
ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzeatzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzeatzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzeatwoofwoofwoof

Chena hiding in McGrath, as reported on Insider.  Willie reflects on this his #8 ID.  WOOF WOOF WOOF son of ChaCha!



DAY #6

   
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.


DAY #7
 
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."


DAY #8
  
"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....



BREAKING NEWS: 
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.



DAY #9

581 miles in, Black Team moving forward.   618 and resting.  629 running again...632 and now 635 and running!



DAY #10


"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)?



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 "fun police."




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:
  1. Northern Route again 2017 because no snow on Southern one. Red Teameighth
  2. 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.
  3. Alternate Route in 2015.  Red Team fifth
  4. Red Team second place in 2014
  5. Red Team second place 2013
  6. 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 warm-up.


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:

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:  https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/10/28/john-schandelmeier-dallas-give-me-something-to-hang-my-hat-on-and-lets-move-on/

News of declining sponsorship and resulting lower prize money:  https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/iditarod/2017/09/22/cash-strapped-iditarod-reduces-minimum-payout-to-mushers-for-2018-race/





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.