I'm delighted to report that early this morning DeeDee Jonrowe finished her thirtieth #Iditarod, pulling into Nome in 31st place at 5:10AM, after ten days on the trail. This wasn't her fastest or her highest place, but she finished with 15 dogs, the largest team still running, and she finished! As noted earlier she suffered from severe frostbite earlier in the race, during those cold early days along the Yukon (-40F!), and despite being among the leaders into Huslia, the halfway point, was never able to recover. Congratulations to her for persevering and finishing, wow.
DeeDee signs the finishing register
(note her fingers!)
Speaking of persevering and finishing, I highly recommend Beyond Ophir, a book by longtime Iditarod musher Jim Lanier, which I've been reading as a delightful companion to the 2015 Iditarod. It chronicles his first Iditarod, way back in 1979, and is a wonderful collection of stories of a life well led in the wilds of Alaska. Jim is a retired pathologist (!), and this year at age 74 was the oldest musher in the race. I was sorry to see he scratched yesterday in Unalakleet, due to "musher illness".
And so ends the 2015 Iditarod (for me at least, there are over 30 mushers still "out there", and the Red Lantern Cindy Abbott has only just checked into Unk). Each year at the end of the race I have this sad feeling of leaving a strange and cool little world and returning to "the real world", until next year. Onward!
Oh, and some final pictures...:
Ken Anderson in the Nome stretch
Martin Buser mushes down Front Street toward the burled arch
Tesla's plan to kill range anxiety with a software update. "The company’s latest software update has two key features ... the car’s estimate of how far it can go before being plugged in will be more accurate, accounting for things like heavy winds and terrain. And a new 'Trip Planner' proactively warns drivers before they head out of range." Excellent. And shows the value of being able to enhance each car's software with over-the-air updates. Can't wait to test it!
Here's an awesome GoPro video of #Iditarod musher Jeff King flying through the "Blowhole" between White Mountain and Safety. Thirty mile an hour winds are no picnic for a dog team, especially after 1,000 miles on the trail. Wow.
Here's a video of Dallas Seavey cruising to his third #Iditarod victory this morning just after 4AM in Nome. Four hours later his father Mitch finished second, quite a family dynasty they've got there. Aaron Burmeister finished third, all by himself, a great result for him and his best ever. Still on the trail but almost Nome is Jessie Royer, who will finish fourth, and the top five will be rounded out by Aliy Zirkle. She can take some comfort from the fact that at least she didn't finish second again (which she's done the last three years!)
As the last full day of the 2015 #Iditarod ends, Dallas Seavey is out of White Mountain and about halfway to Safety, both literally and figuratively (the next and last checkpoint is named Safety). He's about four hours ahead of his father Mitch, who just left White Mountain after his [mandatory] 8-hour break there. That should be an insurmountable lead. Aaron Burmeister is third, another hour or so back, and that's most likely where he'll finish too. He's just about to leave after his 8-hour.
While lacking in suspense, the finish of this year's "Last Great Race" will provide some drama; we have Dallas, winning his second in a row and third overall, just ahead of his father, who has also won twice before; a family dynasty. And we have Aliy Zirkle breaking her string of three second places to finish a likely fifth, after battling Jessie Royer. And who knows what else might happen?
Dallas has about 40 miles left to go and is traveling about 7mph, so that's around six hours 'till he finishes. Most likely he won't stop, although he could easily afford to rest in Safety for a bit. So we'll probably have a winner early tomorrow morning!
In the meantime, here are some pictures from the trail...
Dallas Seavey and team leave White Mountain
White Mountain on the Fish River
Mitch Seavey's team pulling into the checkpoint
DeeDee Jonrowe and team, from the air
they are presently heading for Koyuk, in about 30th place
three teams leave Unalakleet at the same time
headed over the ice to Shaktoolik
I recorded this little video of the #Iditarod 2015's awesome GPS Tracker, a speeded up version of the action which has taken place over the last 18 hours, showing defending champion Dallas Seavey (#46 in the tracker) extending his lead as he blasts from Koyuk into White Mountain by way of Elim, followed by Aaron Burmeister (#63) and Dallas' father Mitch Seavey (#18). Further back racing for fourth and first woman bragging rights are Jessie Royer (#3) and the past three years' runner up Aliy Zirkle (#32).
All the teams will take a manditory 8-hour break in White Mountain, and will resume racing late tonight. You might think its over but its never over 'till its really over, as everyone found out last year! Stay tuned...
The leading teams in the 2015 #Iditarod are now mushing away from Koyuk toward Nome, with the checkpoints at Elim, White Mountain, and Safety in between. (And a manditory 8-hour break at White Mountain.) Dallas Seavey was the first to leave and is in command; his team are moving about 1-2mph faster than Aaron Burmeister and his father Mitch, who are battling for second. A bit further back Jesse Royer and Aliy Zirkle are fighting for fourth as well as being the first woman to finish. It is tempting to conclude that this race is over, until you remember what happened last year. Still that was with much worse weather; this year the forecast has nothing that disruptive coming up.
Some views along the trail:
Scott Janssen and team, outside of Unalakleet
DeeDee Jonrowe and team enter Unalakleet (with fifteen dogs, most left in the race!)
Michelle Phillips and team leave Unalakleet
Ray Redington, Jr and team, outside of Unalakleet
Here are the current positions as shown by the GPS Tracker: Dallas is #46, well out in front, with Aaron #63 chasing along with Mitch #18. Further back you can see Jessie #3 and Aliy #32. That's your top five.
Some non-Iditarod related things ... as the Ole filter makes a pass ...
Excellent: how to make a smartphone microscope. This is a huge opportunity, the current state-of-the-art for remote microscopy involves expensive complicated devices costing tens of thousands of dollars. An inexpensive solution would hugely expand the market.
#Iditarod 2015 superblogger Sebastian Schnuelle gave GoPro cameras to Jessie Royer and Dallas Seavey as they mushed across the Bering Sea from Shaktoolit to Koyuk, and here's the amazing result (click to play):
Jessie is flying right along, in fourth, catching Aliy Zirkle.
Dallas is in second grinding down Aaron Burmeister for the lead.
The #Iditarod 2015 leaders have reached Koyuk! At the top of the Bering Sea ... meaning from now on it is overland about 130 miles to Nome. The finish should take place late tonight!! No silly of course not, it will be tomorrow morning; I forgot everyone has to take an 8-hour break at White Mountain...
Dallas Seavey was the first in, after catching Aaron Burmeister just outside the checkpoint; he came in about 10 minutes later. Both teams will rest a while here, probably allowing Aliy Zirkle to catch up to them; she is presently about 10 miles away still out on the ice. Jess Royer has almost caught her (!), for fourth, and Mitch Seavey is about five miles further back in fifth.
Aaron has been running longer slower runs and Dallas shorter faster runs. Most observers think Dallas has the edge, now that he's caught up to Aaron. Aliy is still in it and so is Jess, as her team seems to be moving really well.
It isn't over 'till its over, you may remember last year Jeff King was about to win before he had to scratch, and Dallas won while thinking he was finishing second (and Aliy finished second while thinking she was racing for third). So anything can happen ... stay tuned!
Now the race is really on, as the leaders in the 2015 #Iditarod have reached the coast. There's still well over 200 miles left to go, but after today there are only a handful of teams racing for the win.
Aaron Burmeister was the first to reach Unalakleet, at 3:45 this afternoon; he rested about 4 1/2 hours and then took off again. (that's his team, at left; beautiful!) Aliy Zirkle was second in at 6:06, she rested for 4 1/2 hours also before heading for Shaktoolik. But Dallas Seavey came in at 6:06, rested 5 minutes, and was the first one out; he seems to be driving the team to beat. His father Mitch was fourth in and third out after resting just 12 minutes in the checkpoint. One of those four teams is going to win. Jess Royer is racing a strong fifth but is probably too far behind now to win, still, congratulations to her on a great race so far.
The conditions up the coast are considerably warmer than they were on the portage (and significantly warmer than the sub-forty-below conditions along the Yukon River!), and not as windy as feared. Good snow is falling on the ice making it easier for the teams to make progress. We'll have to see who's the fastest across the bay and who has gas left in the tank for the final push West to Nome!
That's DeeDee Jonrowe at right, with her easily identified team all in pink; she's presently running about 25th.
In the GPS Trackers shot below, Dallas is #46, Aaron #63, Mitch #18, and Aliy #32. Jessie is #3, her flag is underneath the TOT flag for the Teacher-on-Trail.
Whew, a long and interesting weekend ... with a long and interesting week ahead! And then I'm off for two weeks, on a long and interesting trip to Boston (business) and London (pleasure, visiting my daughter Alexis, who is studying there for a semester). But meanwhile, it's all happening...
The pic at right is a Renovo beauty. Just couldn't resist :)
I have to confess, with March Madness impending I am not feeling it. I don't have a rooting interest and I haven't watch a single game of basketball this year. I have a Tivo with four tuners which has been recording game after game after game but I just can't feign interest. Not sure why.
Well this is exciting: Tesla promises to end 'range anxiety' on March 19th. Calendar, marked. They've said it will be a software update available to all current cars, so I suspect they'll have a new feature which automatically reduces the car's power to get you where you need to go. Sort of like a cruise control but for power instead of speed. (I've asked them for that already :)
Congratulations to Richie Porte for winning the Paris-Nice stage race. He won in fine style, by winning the final time trial up the Col d'Eze. I rode up that in a car once, and wow, what a climb. Good for him.
Are streaming music companies about to bite the dust? An overly dramatic headline - the article isn't nearly as skeptical - but it does raise an important issue; even the most successful of these companies like Spotify and Pandora are not growing. They're good businesses but perhaps not VC-fundable revolutionary huge-IPO businesses...