Yesterday the crew, dogs and Jeff all gathered in the parking lot of the Willow Community Center.  The snow was slowly falling on our way north to the re-start, but stopped shortly after our arrival.  While the Ceremonial Start welcomed us with gorgeous blue skies, the clouds stayed put on Sunday which was actually kind of nice as the temperatures were in the 20’s (mushers actually prefer temps below 10°) and adding the warmth of the sunshine would have made it even warmer for the dogs.  We bid the Boss “happy trails” at 14:42 as he hit the trail for his 29th Iditarod with a team of 14 four-legged athletes – some of which are Iditarod veterans, and others that will be running the trail for their very first time!

We introduced the team on Saturday, but here’s another look at them:

Goblin, Pita, Rambo and Reuben are all Iditarod Rookies!

Over the course of the race, we’ll be doing some dog profiles, so stay tuned for those!

While we were making the trek back to Husky Homestead, Jeff and team ran 42 miles to the first checkpoint of Yentna, where he stayed for just 3 minutes.  We’d say that he “blew through” Yentna – meaning that he didn’t stop.  You may hear that term again during the race as it’s used to describe both Jeff and other teams.  From Yentna, Jeff and team traveled 30 miles on up to Skwentna, arriving at 21:51 and staying for a rest of 6 hours 6 minutes.  By this time we were all back at the Homestead and logging in to the Iditarod Insider to see what was going on.  🙂  (It doesn’t take us long!) Jeff was up and at it in the wee hours of the morning (well before the crew…) at 3:57, when he began the 40 mile run on up to Finger Lake.  It must have been time for some breakfast as he stayed 1 hour 22 minutes before heading for Rainy Pass checkpoint at 10:04am.  We anticipate him reaching rainy pass by 14:00 – then resting until this evening when temperatures drop back down.  Rainy Pass is a 30 mile run from Finger Lake, and teams have been making the run in about three hours.

Jeff started with 14 dogs – don’t the mushers start with teams of 16?
This is an updated rule for the 2019 race, and a change that Jeff was in support of.  Teams may start with no more than 14 dogs this year.  Another rule change was made in reference to dog deaths on trail:  Mushers who have a dog die during the Race will be out of the race that year, unless the death “was caused solely by unforeseeable, external forces.”  Jeff was also in support of this rule change.  For more on the changes to the race rules, click here to read an ADN article.

Where can I follow the race?
Right Here!  We will be doing updates on Jeff and the team for the duration of the race.  Those can be found here on our website, and we are also sharing them on Facebook.

Iditarod – Iditarod posts updates on the Race Standings, a Photo of the Day by Jeff Schultz, stories and videos.  If you subscribe to the Iditarod Insider you get access to ‘extras’ such as Live video feeds from checkpoints along the trail, musher interviews, and the GPS tracker (wish we had one of those for Jeff all the time!)!

Anchorage Daily News – Daily newspaper based in Anchorage, the ADN offers coverage of the race as a whole, with articles, photos, videos, and you can also sign up for an Iditarod newsletter.  You can also follow them on Twitter

KTUU – Local NBC affiliate offering coverage of the race with articles, video, photos, etc.  Dee Dee Jonrowe is also working with this year and offering her “Dispatches from the Trail”.

KTVA – Local CBS affiliate offering coverage of the race with articles, video, photos, a live race blog and more.

Here’s a few photos from the restart – and we’ve got more coming!

Jeff packs his sled.

Answering questions from the press is part of the big day.

Jeff and Aliy chat before the re-start and share a high-five!

Jeff catches Kristin Bacon on her way to the start line to wish her a good run.

Earl says “Let’s go already!!”

It takes some muscle to hold back a team when they’re raring to go!  Carrie, Alex, Julie & Nathan look on. Missing is Maren as she was taking the photo. 🙂

And he’s off!

Nome or bust!