As predicted there has not been much movement today with most teams on their 24 hour rest. Five teams moved between Ophir and Cripple with Aaron Burmeister arriving first and winning the $3000 in gold. John Baker was among the five, making a big move through Takotna last night. How that tactic pans out won’t be known until tomorrow when all the teams are moving again.
Martin Buser left Nikolai after completing his rest, and is moving well. Last year he lost speed by blasting out of the starting line to Rohn. This year he seems to have preserved his speed. At this point he seems to be a solid contender for the top spot.
Other teams who seem to have been moving well before resting were Zirkle, Sorlie, both Seaveys and of course Jeff King. King provided a rare glimpse of how it feels to be on a sled descending Rainy Pass. His helmet cam video is posted on Iditarod Insider and is scary to watch. I did the same trail with a primitive sled with no brush bow, meaning I didn’t glance off trees as well as I should have. That was a long time ago, but that video brought back intense memories of the run down, my first ever steep drop on a dog sled.
Most teams, including Katherine Keith, stopped at Takotna to rest. Pictures of the food spread there are easily found on various media sites. Meals are made to order, and homemade pie is always available. I don’t know when that tradition started , but there was a time when the checkpoint was located at the Takotna tavern (now closed) It was an old time place, with a small bar that seated about 6 people, and a larger back room for dancing and card playing. When I raced, there was a local guitar player, a guy making sandwiches, and one free beer for each racer. I stopped at -30, and it was hard to leave.
Part of my description of Takotna hospitality was deemed to racy for publication. If you bump into me anytime, ask me to tell the story. It’s a good one, and of course its true.
Tomorrow evening it will be time to pick five teams from which the winner will emerge, but because that will be hard to do, it may expand to 8, and I still might be wrong.