And so the 2014 Iditarod is history. Dallas Seavey held off Aliy Zirkle by about two minutes to win his second Iditarod; this is the third year in a row Zirkle finishes second. And Dallas' father Mitch is back in Safety, but looks to be a solid third.
The final 20 miles were pretty exciting, with Zirkle pulling to within about 1/3 mile but never quite catching Seavey. Both mushers obliterated the previous time record set by John Baker in 2011 by nearly five hours, despite the frozen windstorm on the way to the finish. This year's race featured little snow, hard rough conditions, and lots of interesting strategy.
We have to feel bad for Jeff King, right? Just a few hours ago he was poised to win, but then his team was blown off the trail into driftwood and he couldn't recover and had to scratch. Check out this video of Jeff going through Dalzell Gorge. Wow!
And we have to feel bad for DeeDee Jonrowe, who had to scratch early in the race after serious trouble negotiating that same gorge, and the Farewell Burn which follows it. In fact, there were a record number of teams who scratched this year ... given the ever increasing level of preparation, that more than anything shows how tough the conditions were all week.
Here's my favorite picture of this year's race, "mushing into the sunset". Every year I resolve to actually visit Alaska and see the race in person. Maybe next year...
(All Iditarod 2014 posts)