An update on our adopted musher DeeDee Jonrowe; she is still in 8th, presently resting at the Koyuk checkpoint. The map at right is the live GPS tracker; the little numbers represent the competitors. #53 is John Baker who is leading, and #30 is Ramey Smyth who is chasing in second. DeeDee’s #2 is under the TOT symbol at Koyuk, upper right; TOT means “Teacher on Trail”, a cool program wherein an elementary school teacher has been mushing along the trail giving video lessons all through the Iditarod. This whole event is a big deal in Alaska even for schoolkids.
It appears that while DeeDee is still running strong with 10 dogs, she is not likely to win this year. Most observers think this is a three team race at this point between Baker, Smyth, and Hans Gatt who is in third. Still there are 150 miles left along a mogully seacoast and much can happen.
You may notice that the red track in the map above appears to extend across Norton Sound. That’s because it does! – the mushers actually run over the sea ice far out from land in order to cut the corner. That makes for a long smooth (cold, windy) run. After Koyuk the trail is on land which has a bunch of rises and falls and inlets and rivers. Not a superhighway :)
Once the mushers reach White Mountain they must take a mandatory 8 hour layover. After that it is a 75 mile sprint to the finish. It is worth noting that Lance Mackey, the defending champion who has won each of the last four years, was never first to White Mountain. This account of John Baker’s stop in Unalakleet was fascinating, all the stuff a musher does to care for their dogs at a checkpoint.
Some of you have asked if DeeDee is the only woman left. No! There are about 10 other women left running, and 4 have scratched. She is presently the top woman but Jessie Royer is in 9th place right behind her, so there’s a battle there too.
Cheers, stay tuned, and go DeeDee!
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