Tonight I will pick my list of contenders, but a preview of that is possible this morning. King is putting on a serious move, pulling away from Lindner on the run from Cripple to Ruby. His speeds have been good. Buser will have quite a lead leaving Ruby, thanks to his mad dash out of Willow. It could be several hours, maybe as many as 6 if he has a good run today. But there is speed behind him. The two fastest team in sight are Sorlie and Zirkle. Sorlie is 23 ahead of Zirkle according to the tracker and is slowly emerging as the team to beat,
John Baker took his 24 break at Cripple and will leave there tonight. Katherine Keith will see him leave, now done with her 24 hour rest and running in 19th place. That positioning now starts to mean something, as she stands first among the rookies. Abbie West is close in second, and moving faster than Keith.
Baker’s average moving speed of 6.9 mph is significantly lower than other contenders. Sorlie, for example is 8.2. I have asked the tracker folks to create a new category of chart, average moving speed for the most recent 24 hours or 100 miles. That would tell the fans a lot more than speed over the entire race. If a team’s speed is trending up, teams ahead will have a problem. If its trending down, it will be a long run to Nome as teams rarely speed up once they start losing speed. Baker’s history suggests he moves better later in the race. He is not far off the pace, and if he picks up speed on the Yukon he could still be a factor.