I would like to declare a winner in the 2012 Iditarod, but its still too close to call. Dallas Seavey obviously has the edge but with 100 miles to go, too many things can go wrong to declare him the winner with Aliy Zirkle in sight behind him and a formidable Ramey Smyth 10 miles back. The most obvious issue would be a carried dog, but there are numerous other things that could go wrong to erase a 2 mile lead. I can however make some wild prognostications.
The top eight are fairly firmly in place. After the above three teams, destined for the top three spots, we have five other teams that have made some space for themselves and are likely to remain in the 4-8 spots-Aaron Burmeister, Mitch Seavey, Pete Kaiser, John Baker and Ray Redington. Expect some jockeying there. Aaron's tracker is not working but if he has been moving for the past couple of hours, he would seem to have fourth place sewed up, as the others are still in Elim.
Brent Sass has a good handle on rookie of the year, running in 14th place at Koyuk. Another Kuskokwim racer Mike Williams Jr. has a shot at the top ten. One musher looked like he made the best move in the race today. Veteran racer Bob Chlupach briefly appeared as the number three team on the Iditarod update page, with a travel time of about 7 hours from Ruby to Elim. Man was he moving. Mistakes happen but that was a bad one.
Folks are gathering in Nome for an expected finish tororrow. The lead teams will start taking their mandatory eight hours in White Mountain around midnite tonight, and leave for Nome in the morning. That will make for a finish in the early evening, perfect for fans. The weather is typical coast weather, clear, cold and windy. I took a short run with 14 dogs tonight in similar weather. It was pleasant. Beautiful sky, great trail and happy dogs. But it was nice to unhitch after an hour and go inside. Imagine how it feels after 900 miles, when you just keep going.
Myron Angstman, lawyer, pilot, and dog musher, lives in Bethel, Alaska. Read more about dogs, law suits and rural Alaska gossip by checkinghttp://www.myronangstman.com/