Well, there is not a big question in our minds this morning on how the race is stacking up. Lance’s run into Iditarod and then through Shageluk with a reportedly sharp team is reminiscent of Jeff’s and Doug Swingley’s previous wins. It is now Lance’s race to loose. The trail conditions still appear to be good and with his time advantage at this point, even if the trail gets bad, he has enough of a buffer to hold his position. I believe that it is also unlikely for him to have any big problems with his team. His team of 16 appear to be moving well and reports are positive about their condition.
Jeff chose to get a 6 hour rest in Iditarod. Not surprising. With half the race still ahead, he will always play the conservative card. Mitch’s team is also looking very strong and he has been a smart driver. The fast trail will provide the arena for these teams to show their stuff and we will see them clearly as they attack the Yukon River.
Each team will have to take a mandatory 8 hour break at one of the checkpoints along the Yukon. Anvik and Grayling are beautiful and friendly villages. The year Cali ran the race, I flew along the trail and especially enjoyed these spots. Eagle Island is basically a tent camp and right on the river, so it is quite open. I haven’t been to Kaltag. Those are their choices for this second race mandated stop.
I hate to say that it is a race for second…. but that is how it appears today. To keep things exciting, we are supposed to say that anything can happen. And certainly, that is true… but historically, not highly likely. There is a thrill in watching a well managed team charge ahead and that it the beauty of this event.