The run from Nikolai to Takotna reveals much about the contenders in this year’s race. But for many years I have focused on the run from McGrath to Takotna as a very good barometer of what might happen from there to the finish. Why? Because it is a short run at the end of a long run for most teams, and how well a team performs when tired is a strong indication of how they will perform towards the end of the Iditarod.
What do those run times show? The fastest team in that run might surprise some—Jake Berkowitz at 2:08. After that comes Lance Mackey at 2:10, Mitch Seavey at 2:11, Pete Kaiser at 2:12, and Sonny Lindner at 2:12. Others a bit slower were Aaron Burmeister, Aliy Zirkle, and Dallas Seavey. Not included on this list are some names that no one should ever count out, Martin Buser, who has yet to make the run, John Baker who travels slower than these teams most of the time but still manages to move up, and Rayme Smyth who often makes a mad dash the last half of the race.
Mackey didn’t take his 24 hours at Takotna, but clearly is the man to watch right now. His overall moving speed is high, and last night’s times show that he hasn’t slowed down yet. His four titles suggest he knows how to win, and no thinking person would make a huge bet against him at this point.
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/