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Team Baker Iditarod Reports

Updates on Team Baker during the 2014-2016 Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Myron Angstman.

Nome is a Long Ways Away

Ashley Kelly

The run across the ice to  Koyuk  shows  Aily Zirkle  still in the lead, but a closer look shows  Jeff King moving faster in second place.  Right now,  he seems to  have the edge, but   Nome is  a long ways away.  Martin Buser and Sonny  Lindner are about  10-12  miles behind, and their speed  is a  bit off the pace of the front two.  The fastest moving team in sight is Dallas Seavey, about 20 miles behind  Zirkle and still not out of it.  His mad dash of the last 24 hours has put him back in the discussion, but it remains to be seen how much  dash he has  left.

A speedy run from  Kaltag has moved  Pete Kaiser  up in the standings.   His  9 hour run put  him  in 15th place, just ahead of  John Baker who did the portage in 12 ½ hours.    Richie Diehl moved up to 18th place, passing  Mike Williams Jr who now sits in 23rd place, not yet in Unalakleet. Katherine Keith is in 29th, also on the portage.  Meanwhile at the back of the pack rookie Elliot Anderson  has not yet reached  Ruby.

Yesterday’s  discussion of early race  communication brought back memories of how fans used to follow the race.  In early races,  Iditarod headquarters had a phone bank of volunteers  who had a list  of info to dispense to callers. Of course that was a long distance call from rural  Alaska, so time was at a premium  and some volunteers  were slow on the draw.  One tactic that worked was to claim to be from the media, which  of course produced immediate results.  I often called in as Scott Simpson from the New York Times and  people really responded.   Occasionally  a call to a  checkpoint would find a capable observer to describe the scene.  In some villages I had reliable buddies who would  have all the important news when  I called.

Later,  the fax machine became important.  I convinced  headquarters that I needed regular faxes of the standings, so they put me on their every hour list.  Bethel folks would stop by at all hours for an up date, and when I went to gatherings I would bring along the most recent  report and  tack it on the wall.  The internet changed all of that, and for many years most people had instant access to the latest standings, which at the time seemed light years ahead of the early races.  But the advent of the tracker  has completely changed the life of  the fan.  Now instead of  not enough information, we have too much.  I know I am not the only  person who spends way too much time  receiving race info on the computer.  Tracker fever might be a new medical condition.

Watch  for major moves at Koyuk.  Teams with time to make up often try to  do it there.  By late tonight, we  might be able to reduce our  contender list to two.