This morning I suggested it might be a two team race by tonight, and it looks like it is. King and Zirkle left Koyuk together and no one gave chase until they were well down the trail. Buser finally followed, but he was three hours and 24 miles behind them and has been moving slower for some time. Lindner had a slow run across the bay, and he is still in Koyuk, with little chance to catch either team. The two Seaveys have been moving fast, but apparently figure they can’t keep it up without a decent rest. Either Seavey could try to bolt through Elim and cut the gap, but that is looking like a long shot now. Dallas is now 26 miles behind King leaving Koyuk.
If the two front runners are the contenders, King would seem to have the edge on speed. He went out one minute ahead of Zirkle and that lead has now stretched to almost three miles. He still has a long way to go, but don’t bet against him at this point. Look for a finish late Monday or early Tuesday in record time.
John Baker has moved up a bit. He told Andy Angstman at Unalakleet that the team is performing better recently. He arrived in Shaktoolik in 15th place, but is now bumping into teams that have shown more speed throughout the race so moving up will be difficult. His average moving speed of 7.2 mph for the entire race is a full mile per hour slower than Pete Kaiser who is also in Shaktoolik. Baker has often beaten faster teams but it takes long tough runs to do so. Katherine Keith left Kaltag in 29th place this evening. The Iditarod pays 30 places.
Tomorrow morning the front runners will be resting in White Mountain so I will diverge a bit with some stories about the Father of the Iditarod, Joe Redington. Feedback from readers suggests that there is plenty of analysis to be found elsewhere but old time dog race stories are harder to find. I have a pretty good supply.
One final note, someone inquired about tracker fever, the new disease mentioned this morning common among race fans. It is clearly a virus, in fact it’s a computer virus.