Winning times for the 2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational
March 29, 2013
The 2013 race is in the record books. In the 350 mile race Jay Petervary set a new men's bike record to McGrath, Eszter Horanyi set a new women's bike record, Anne Ver Hoef set a new women's foot record and David Johnson won the men's foot race in near record time pulling a sled that at 36 pounds weighed probably twice as much as the sled Steve Reifenstuhl pulled when he set the record in 2005. Bob Ostrom won the mens bike race to Nome. The legendary "SEVEN TIME" Nome finisher Tim Hewitt won the men's foot division going completely self supported pulling a 100 + pound sled from the start and did not go inside a building the entire length of the Trail. Ausilia Vistarini took first in the women's bike division. The women's foot division was won by Shawn McTaggart won the womens foot division and set a new female record. After looking through the archives (at least the ones that I could find) Shawn also covered the last 77 miles from White Mountain to Nome in 23 hours and 45 minutes, faster than anyone on foot in the history of the race.
Thanks to all of you both on the Trail and at home that supported and cheered on our racers this year. Thanks to all you racers who finished in McGrath and those of you who pushed on to Nome. We hope to see all of you back next year!
Bill and Kathi
March 25, 2013
March 12, 1:14 PM
First things first. Good Luck and tailwinds to our racers still on the Trail to Nome: Bob, Tim, Sebastiano, Ausillia, Beat, Marco, Shawn and Klaus. They have had very warm wet conditions but it seems to be cooling off now so maybe the Trail will improve for them. Facebook is a great way to keep track of them on their way to Nome since folks on the Trail have been posting first hand reports.
March 9, 3:12 PM
Most updates are being posted on our face book page, it seems to be the most looked at page covering our race.
It is a public page, so everyone should be able to access it.
8 racers are heading to Nome currently. The weather has been unusually warm, wet and rainy. Despite, those 8 racers are pusing on. Tim Hewitt is leading the running division despite his heavy sled with 24 days of food supplies.
The leader of the race is Anchorage cyclist Bob Ostrom and he is making he way of the 122 miles of Yukon River to the next village of Kaltag. Iditarod is ferrying dog food down to Eagle Island from Kaltag since the bush planes were kept from flying because of bad weather. This should help and firm up this remote section of trail some more since there is no other traffic other than the Iditarod Trail breakers and mushers and runner and bikers of the two races heading to Nome.
Howard Cook and Anne Ver Hoef had finished their race in McGrath, but hace decided to fly to Unalakleet on the coast and travel the scenic 250 miles on the coast to Nome since they had sent out their drog bags on the trail to the village post offices.
Recent posts on our face book page:
Update from Tim's wife Loreen:
This is a logistical challenge for Iditarod because of bad weather, but...
Update on Ausilia & Sebastiano from the principal in Grayling: They arrived there late last night at 22:44. They had pushed their bikes a lot but were in good spirits. Thank you Michael. Ausilia and Sebastiano are departing this morning for the 120 mile long Yukon River stretch up to Kaltag which is the next possible place to make a phone call to us. This section of Yukon River is notorious for head winds, if the wind blows and the trails drift in it could take racers 4-5 days to arrive in Kaltag.
Updates from the Nome racers: Beat and Marco arrived in Shageluk last night. They are drying gear, resupplying from the packages they mailed ahead. Everyone in the villages, principals, post master has been really helpful. Marco has issues with his borrowed shoes, they stay wet, his old shoes are falling apart, but he carries them as a spare. Beat reports conditions have been very challenging, wet, they got rained on and slushy trails. This morning he says it seems the trails are frozen. Marco wants to take a longer rest in Shageluk before heading out again. Beat plans to leave this morning and make it as far as Grayling tonight.
Great update on Howard Cook and Anne Ver Hoef:
Alan Tilling who started the race 5 days later decided to finish his ride in McGrath and not go to Nome this year. Glad you came to Alaska anyway and had a good ride to McGrath. Hope to see you again in Alaska in future years.
update from Howard Cook
Thursday March 7, 12:49 PM
Currently showing 32 F in McGrath. Shawn McTaggert and Klaus Schweinberger left this afternoon at 12:05 heading for Nome, the next community of Takotna is only 18 miles away. Cookie is giving it another day and plans to leave in the morning and head over to Takotna to see how his feet will hold up. Alan Tilling who started 5 days after the official race start is expected in McGrath today.
You never know when the Iditarod Trail opens up it's own stash of tricks and challenges. It provided the best of conditions for our 350 mile race, with new records possible and 48 finishers! But now the Nome racers as well as mushers are facing challenging warm, slushy, wet and windy conditions on their way to Nome and race director Bill Merchant is battling 70 mph wind gusts trying to get back home from after two weeks on the trail over Rainy Pass. We wish all the racers, mushers and Bill Merchant safe travels out there!
Wednesday March 6, 10:00 AM
Howard Cook (Cookie) receives the red lantern award this morning and arrives in McGrath.
The 2013 (350 mile) race is a wrap for us with all 48 racers that started finishing in McGrath.
This has been a great year for the Iditarod Trail Invitational race! New records, 48 finishers.
New overall record by Jay Petervary: 2 days 19 hours 16 min.( 67 hours 19 min)
New fastest women's by Eszter Horanyi in her rookie year: 3 days 16 hours 20 min.
Fastest woman on foot: Anne Ver Hoef: 6 days 12 hours 20 min.(that is about 54 miles per day)
First time under the 3 day mark: for the first 5 racers, including 3 rookies!
Another record: No scratches in the 350!
Congratulations to all of you! Bill and I both wish we could spend more time with you all and listen to your stories.
Any write-ups, blogs, race reports,newspaper articles please e-mail us a link to it!
Nome racer update:
The conditions up the trail have been soft and punchy for bikers and runners. 3 cyclist are in Iditarod. They were heading back on the trail behind the Iditarod Trail breakers. Until today there was no trail beyond the ghost town Iditarod. Temperatures have been too warm, making trails punchy and slow. Racers on foot and bikers pushing their bikes tend to get blisters, trench foot and have foot issues. We wish them well and that the temps will cool off for them.
We expect the first bikers in Shageluk (the first place that is inhabited year round since Takotna) by tomorrow afternoon or evening.
Howard Cook is evaluating his feet and will make a decision about continuing on to Nome by tomorrow.
Shawn and Klaus are planning to leave in the morning and get back on the trail.
I spoke with my husband Bill Merchant in Rohn, the last mushers are through as well and he is taking down our Wall Tent, stove and cleaning up the site. His plan is to snow machine 200 miles back to Wasilla tomorrow.
The weather forecast doesn't look good for the Alaska Range.
There is a high wind warning in effect with winds of up to 55 mph starting tomorrow through Friday.
We wish him and Terry Boyle (Iditarod checker) good luck on their journey back to town.
March 5, 11:47 PM
Klaus, Shawn, and Tony have arrived in McGrath late this evening. We are waiting to hear about Howard Cook's arrival in the morning. The first Iditarod mushers have already come and gone through McGrath and this is the 9th day of the 2013 ITI.
Meanwhile 6 racers are on their way to Nome on the Southern Route, Bob, Ausilia and Sebastiano are in the ghost town of Iditarod. Once a thriving gold mining town of 10,000 a hundred years ago. Today the populations is zero and Iditarod awakens every two years during the ITI and Iditarod. The BLM has built 3 more shelter cabins along the way between Ophir and Shageluk and they are marking the trail as I write this.
Beyond Iditarod there is currently no trail. Until tomorrow when the Iditarod trail breakers ( a group of longtime Iditarod volunteers on several snowmachines) come through. They are punching in a trail tomorrow which might help. Unfortunately the temperatures have been unseasonably warm in the Interior of Alaska, up in the 40's which can turn a trail into the consistency of mashed potatoes and make trails unrideable for bikers and slow for walkers as well. The best time is to travel at night when the trails might firm up a bit.
The first village they reach on the Southern Route is Shageluk
I have been in contact with the school principal and keep them informed about the race progress. Along the villages along the Iditarod Trail, the school is the only place to accomodate visitors.
For a fee racers have a warm place to sleep,use of kitchen,dry out their clothing, shower and use internet and phone. Those are all great things to enjoy when you are coming off a long section of trail.
March 5, 12:08 PM
The last 3 racers left Nikolai mile 300 early this morning: Shawn, Tony, Cookie.
I got a sat phone call from Bob Ostrom this morning at 9:47 am. He is in Iditarod, between Ophir and Shageluk. There is no trail in yet beyond Iditarod. He is helping with the Iditarod check point there.
More news later this afternoon. We are almost ready to wrap up the 350 mile race in McGrath.
We will keep track of the Nome racers on XCtrails, here on latest new as well as our face book page.
Thank you everyone for checking in and following along this year.
March 4, 12:02 AM
7 days and 10 hours into the 2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational only 5 runners have yet to arrive in McGrath. The rest finished in record time, with NO scratches this year andnew records.
On to Nome are Bob Ostrom,Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro from Italy.
We will continue to cover the progress on our leader board and XCtrails.org
as well as face book updates.
Nome racers Anne Ver Hoef, Marco Berni,Tim Hewitt and his wife Loreen, Beat Jegerlehner are still in McGrath tonight.
Tim Hewitt is bivied outside since his trip is completely self supported pulling a 100 lbs sled with food and fuel for 24 days.
Still on the trail tonight on the7th day of the race are Shawn McTaggert Howard Cook and Klaus Schweinberger also planning to to to Nome, Tony Covarrubias and Steve Ansell who will finish in McGrath.
Craig Medred wrote a great article today in the Alaska Dispatch what's ahead for the sled dogs and what a super highway the Iditarod Trail has been so far for the ITI.
Sounds like it is a record year out there on the trail maybe for the mushers as well, at least to Nikolai and McGrath. Who knows what happens on the trail beyond or what the weather or wind will do to the trail.
Bill M. is still in Rohn waiting for the dog teams soon to arrive.
We leave up our Wall Tent for the mushers to use as well and Bill keeps the wood stove going and hot water ready for the mushers.
More updates in the morning.
March 3 8:05 AM
Today is Sunday March 3 restart of the Iditarod sled dog race in Willow.
The ITI race is going on 7 days. 32 racers have finished in McGrath.
The last 3 that had gotten off trail are in and out of Rohn this morning Shawn Tony and Cookie.
Anchorage runner Anne Ver Hoef sets a new foot record shaving over 11 hours off the previous record: 6 days 12 hours 20 minutes. Congratulations Anne!
We will continue to update the leader board and you can follow the racers to Nome here also on XCtrails:
Anne as well as cyclists Ausilia and Sebastiano are expected to continue on to Nome sometime today.
March 2 12:27 PM
Still waiting on Jim Barkeley this morning. Cyclist Aaron Fanetti finished in McGrath this morning. Well done Aaron!!
Bob Ostrom is the first racer to check out of McGrath this mornhing at 9:30 have a safe journey Bob! We might hear from him from Takotna, but then not until Shageluk mile 487.
New update from Rohn: Bill Merchant called me on our sat phone.
Klaus is there, not Cookie Shawn or Tony. Klaus had followed their tracks, but realized they were going the wrong way. There were snow machine tracks veering off the the right. Klaus realized it was the wrong direction and corrected his course. OE is warming up the plane in Rohn this morning. No worries family and fans!
Thanks Armin with XCT trails , map is current:
March 1 11:58 PM
Currently 1 F in McGrath. Noaa forecast for the McGrath area:
23 racers have arrived in McGrath so far. the last one was Dan Jansen this afternoon. Ausilia, Sebastiano, Joe Grant, Joe Logar and Jim Barkely are on the home stretch to McGrath. There is 20 more racers behind them on the trail across the Farewell Burn, once the largest burnt area in North America. It is the place where racers have had hallucinations during the race. It is a long desolate stretch across barren wilderness inhabited by wolves and a wild herd of buffalo. There is one place to find shelter in the Bear Creek public use shelter cabin put in place by the BLM. The BLM is the overall manager of the historic Iditarod Trail and has several of those cabins in place. In the past 3 years they have added some between Ophir and Ruby (Northern Route/even years) and Ophir and Shageluk on the Southern Route/odd year on the trail to Nome.
Only 1 woman ever has traveled the distance on foot (officially) Janine Duplessis with her husband on their honeymoon in 2000 in 41 days 10 hours and 30 minutes. This year we have 3 very qualified with one or more 350 finishes signed up: Anne Ver Hoef, Loreen Hewitt and Shawn McTaggert.
This year 12 racers have signed up the the 1000 mile distance. Since the inaugural year of 2000 only 36 individuals have finished the 1000 mile distance human powered. Tim Hewitt has finished it 6 times on foot. More stats and finishers are found here:
This year's ITI will go into the history books with the largest number of athletes at the starting line with 48, no scratches on day 5, it looks like all 48 will make it to McGrath and the Nome racers another 650 miles, new records, fastest finishing times overall. Record year for the racers and the ITI organizers. A big success!
March 1 10:22 AM
My internet conection is slow this morning, trying hard to get the info out there.
Our longtime McGrath host Peter Schneiderheinze is cooking up a storm this morning feeding 20 racers man cakes! Peter & Tracey we could not do this race and offer such an amazing finish line without you two!!!!!
There are no Thursday flights out of McGrath right now, so there were 19 racers at the Schneiderheinze's house this morning having breakfast. A big shout out to Peter & Tracey Schneiderheinze and all the other wonderful check point hosts hosting our racers!!!!
First phone call from Rohn this morning from Iditarod volunteer Lisa Jaeger. Most racers have arrived and departed Rohn. Only 4 left to arrive: Shawn, Tony, Klaus and Cookie.
February 28 10:40 PM
This is a phenomenal year for the Iditarod Trail Invitational race. So far we have seen new records, no scratches and racers moving along the trail posting amazing times. It will be a year to remember.
I went to the Iditarod banquet in the Danaina Center tonight. Kay Parks did the updates and leaderboard for me. Runner David Johnston has already checked out of Nikolai and has 11.5 hours to best Steve Reifenstuhl's record of 4 days and 15 hours (2005). Can he do it? He seems very determined only stopping 43 minutes in Nikolai. He has been setting a very fast and steady pace this race. It's possible. He will find out in the morning. He needs to arrive in McGrath before 5 AM to break the fastest time on foot between Knik to McGrath.
Runner David Johnston from Willow has a chance cracking the 2005 record on foot set by Steve Reifenstuhl in 2005. He needs to arrive in McGrath before 5 am.
We might also see a new women's foot record. Anne Ver Hoef is already out of Rohn and could set a new record. The current record holder Loreen Hewitt was a little over 3 hours behind her out of Puntilla, the exact time is unknown, we know that Anne left Rohn ahead of Loreen. What and incredible year!
There was only one racer not in Puntilla at 20:25. Klaus.
Rohn is a really busy check point tonight. The check point is a 10x20 foot Wall Tent with a wood stove. Several racers are sleeping outside, there is just not enough room for so many people a the same time.
The temperatures were rather mild in Rohn today, 20 F in the daytime.
More updates in the morning.
February 28 8:31 AM
Eszter Horanyi sets a new women's overall course record in the 350: 3 days 16 hours and 20 min. She shaves 6 hours off the previous record held by Louise Kobin. Eszter is an accomplished ultra racer, mountain biker, backcountry skier, but this was her first race in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. She finishes 10th overall.
3 time defending champ and Peter Basinger finished one hour and 20 minutes before her this morning.
All but one racer have checked out of the Winterlake Lodge check point and many more have arrived and departed from the halfway point at Puntilla. More racers are arriving in McGrath at the finish line this morning. The next ones are Eric Warkentin and Jay Cable how have been travelling together.
Another great article by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch this morning:
about Canadian racer and oldest in this year's race Lindsay Gauld who had a brush with terrible frostbite in last year's race.
Feb. 27 8:43 PM
7 finishers have arrived in McGrath. All 7 of them shattering the previous record set by Pete Basinger in 2007. We are still waiting on defending champ Pete B. to arrive tonight. Rookie Eszter Horanyi is also on course shaving off several hours off Louise Kobin's record set in 2011.
In the running division David Johnston is setting a blistering fast pace and far ahead of his closest competitors Joe Grant and John Logar and Eric Johnson.
6 time Nome finisher Tim Hewitt with his massive sled packed with food and fuel for 24 days is keeping pace with "regular racers".
A strong women's runner field including Loreen Hewiit, Anne Ver Hoef and Shawn McTaggert are steadily moving up the trail towards the halfway point in Puntilla at Rainy Pass Lodge. Anne checked into Puntilla at 15:20
While I was writing this Anchorage cyclist Brian Hartman has also finished in McGrath in 8th place.
Cyclists Ausilia and Sebastiano and Joe Grant and John Logar are expected in Rohn tonight.
Exciting day for the racers, fans us, everyone, record setting year.
Mild temperatures, little wind and good trails with a stacked field made it possible this year for all these racers.
Another record so far, no scratches 3 days and 7 hours into the race.
Will write another update in the morning.
Feb. 27 10:50 AM
New champion Jay Petervary from Idaho!
2 days 19 hours 16 min.
New blazing fast course record in the 350!
Second place Alaskan Tim Berntson 2 days 19 hours 50 minutes. Third place a tie from Fairbanks boys Jeff Oately and Kevin Breitenbach. 5th place rookie Anchorage racer John Lackey. All five finishers times so far are 9 and 10 hours faster than the previous record held by Peter Basinger (2007). For the first time in race history the course records have gone under the 3 day mark. What an amazing field of athletes out there.
Eszter Horanyi on record setting pace too in her rookie year on the trail. David Johnston from Willow expected in Rohn this morning leading the running division. Anne Ver Hoef from Anchorage leading female runner at the moment out of Winterlake Lodge. No scratches so far. Zoe at Shell Lake reported everyone is through Shell Lake this morning, last racers on the trail Shawn McTaggert, Tony Covarrubias and Klaus Schweinberger.
More news later this afternoon.
Feb. 27 8:06 AM
News from Stephanie in Nikolai:
Phil Hofsetter arrives at 7:00 this morning.
Feb. 27 1:20
Jay Petervary left Nikolai at 1:24. Will he be the new champ? New overall course record for Jay P.?? The 4 chasers Jeff O, Kevin, John Lackey and Tim B. were taking a nap in Nikolai.
Feb. 27 00:57
Wow, Jeff O. Jay P. Kevin B. and John L, into Nikolai at 00:50 2/27 not sure who the 5th racer is in the group.
February 26 11:51 PM
Suspense. Everyone is waiting to hear from the Nikolai check point. Who is the leader? Will there be a new record? Bill always said:" A rookie will never win this race." Well... it is possible this year. New recors in the men's and women's division are up for grabs. Everyone is glued to the computer screens tonight waiting to get news from Nikolai. Stephamie Petruska has food ready for them and is waiting for their arrival.
Bill Merchant, trail breaker headed over to McGrath this afternoon by snowmachine. He is inMcGrath tonight.
The trail to Nikolai was rough, but he covered Nikolai to McGrath in 2,5 hours, 50 miles.
It is getting really late tonight, and the leaders have been pushing on without any sleep, so we might have to wait until morning to get some updates.
No scratches so far, all racers are moving up the trail steadily!
Feb. 26 4:23 PM
8 bikers are out of Rohn on their way to Nikolai this afternoon. Defending champ Pete Basinger has made up time on them. Women in the lead Eszter Horanyi was not in Rohn when I spoke with Rohn checker Rob Kehrer earlier in the day. Bill Merchant went ahead of them by snowmachine to make sure there was a trail where the trail has potential to get drifted in when the wind blows. Our Nikolai checker Stephanie Petruska is currently waiting for Bill M and the first bikers. They could be there as soon as 8 or 9 tonight.
By tomorrow we will have a new champion in McGrath.
4 more bikers hace checked out of Puntilla. We are waiting to hear word about the leading runner Dave Johnston who left Winterlake at 7:40 this morning.
Racers are also moving up the trail from Skwentna mile 90 to Winterlake Lodge mile 130.
The last three racers were seen 13 miles below the Skwentna Roadhouse on the Yentna River this afternoon.
No scratches so far.
Leader board is updated.
More news this evening.
February 26, 10:00 AM
Bill just called from Rohn on the Sat Phone: Oately, Breitenbach, Berntson and Lackey are in ROHN at 9:30. Took them just over 8 hours over the pass!!! Trail must be hard packed and fast this year!
We have news from Puntilla halfway point mile 165: in the lead are 4 Jeff O. John Lackey, Kevin B, and Tim Berntson out of Puntilla at 1:19 AM followed by Jay P at 1:48 , Jason Buffinton out at 4:10 and our fast woman Eszter out at 6:50 am this morning. What a race!
David Johnston leading the running field out to Winterlake this morning at 7:40 AM. Fast pace on foot!!
February 25, 10:39 PM
All racers have made it to Yentna Station. A charge of veteran and rookie bikers is chasing rookie Jason Buffington into the foothills into the Alaska Range up to Puntilla Lake, the location of the oldest hunting lodge in Alaska, Rainy Pass Lodge has the 75th anniversary this year. Fast first woman and keeping up with the boys is rookie Eszter Horanyi from Colorado. She spent her training in the mountains of Colorado. There are many hills between Winter Lake Lodge and Puntilla, then more climbing follows over Rainy Pass at an elevation of 3300 feet.
Bill Merchant race organizer and checker and Rohn checker Rob Kehrer are getting a good sleep tonight getting ready for the first bikers tomorrow.
Bill Merchant will leave Rohn early in the morning to break trail ahead of the leaders into Nikolai.
More bikers have arrived at Winterlake Lodge nestled at the edges of Fingerlake in the foothills of the Alaska Range.
Willow resident David Johnston is charging ahead and leads the running division. He is a veteran of the race and finished the race last year with his wife Andrea. A bit over 2 hours behind him is race veteran from Utah Eric Johnson.
Legendary 6 time finisher Tim Hewitt pulling his 110 lbs sled going self supported checked into Yentna Station at 11:20 this morning.
The race leaders arrived at Winterlake Lodge early this afternoon with Jay Petervary from Idaho in the lead. A pack of 5 bikers chasing him with race veteran Jeff Oatley and Kevin Breitenbach from Fairbanks, Alaskans Tim Berntson and John Lackey only 20 minutes behind Jay, followed by Jason Buffington from Minnesota,a rookie racer with wins in the Arrowhead 135 and Tuscobia 150. What a race we have!
Jason Buffington sneaks out the Winterlake Lodge check point and takes the lead ahead at 15:55 followed 5 minutes later by Jay P, Jeff O,Kevin B,and John Lackey and Tim Berntson. What a race!!Rookie Eszter Horanyi from Colorado is staying with the boys and arrives at Winterlake Lodge at 16:25 as well as Nome resident Phil Hofstetter at 15:30 and Alaskan Brian Hartman at 17:07.
Hoping to have more news from down the trail to see where the running leaders are.
February 25, 10:48 AM
The leaders are reported at Shell Lake Lodge, 110 miles into the race: Tim Berntson leading the charge closely followed by Jeff O, Jay P. and Kevin B. Not sure why defending champ Peter Basinger is further behind at this point. This is second hand information through face book. The bikers started and arriving and departing early this morning at the Skwentna Roadhouse, our second check point 90 miles into the race.
The first runner into the Yentna Station check point was David Johnston from Willow at 5:05. He departed at 7:40 followed Eric Johnson from Utah 8:32.
We have got quite the race in the biking and running division so far.
The weather is clear here this morning in Anchorage with 18 degrees, clear in Skwentna and snow was falling at Winter Lake Lodge the third check point, mile 130.
Bill M. and Rob Kehrer are ready in Rohn with the Wall Tent up, fire wood cut and split to keep the wood stove going. They are ready there for the racers too. They are taking another trip with two snowmachines up towards the pass back down the trails to get it packed some more for the racers.
More later, as I hear reports from the trail.
February 25, 7:39 AM
Update early this morning I received by e-mail from Peggy Garoutte, longtime host of human powered events on the Iditarod Trail from their cabin:
Good Morning, from Flat Horn,(mile30)
Thanks Peggy & Kirk. A big Thank you!!
February 24, 23:35 PM
First updates from Yentna Station 60 miles from the start are in: Jay Petervary, Jeff Oatley, Tim Berntson, John Lackey into Yentna Station at 22:50 out of Yentna Station 23:00. Also into Yentna Station shortly after Phil Hofstetter, Brian Hartman and Jason Buffington also at Yentna Station, our 1st check point on the Yentna River, 60 miles from the start. The trail report coming from the Yentna checkers:
Trail news from the checkers at Yentna Station- trail is fairly hard and lead bikers are moving fast. Only place they had to get off and do some pushing was across Flathorn Lake. More news and updates in the morning.
February 24, 2013 8:30 PM
News by 8 PM Alaska Time from Alaska Dispatch reporter Craig Medred from the trail
And the racers are off! 49 racers left the starting line at 2:00PM this afternoon under cloudy skies and temps in the 20's. Kirk Garoutte reported snow falling out at Flathorn Lake, 30 miles from the start. Kirk and Peggy are out there to offer support to our racers this year. They have been supporting human powered races on the Iditarod Trail since its beginnings in the mid 80's. Thank you Kirk and Peggy for your support!!
They will have food, water and a lantern down on the lake. Some of the walkers might spend the night there at Flathorn Lake. I will also get updates from them later this evening even though they are not an official check point.
Please check into our face book page it is is a public site and available to anyone, even folks that are not face book users. The face book page will be updated more frequently than our latest news page.
Depending how things go out there for the racers and how much I hear from the Yentna Station check point, I will post another update later tonight.
February 23, 2013
Bill is out on the trail and has made it over the pass with his trail crew. Much work to be done there, moving tent, stove and drob bags from the end of the air strip in to Rohn, setting up camp, moving all the dog food as well, since we are first into Rohn. Then go back up the Dalzell Gorge to build ice bridges and make the trail safer. Ice bridges are built cutting brush and branches, then add snow, ad water, repeat and so on until there is a level path across the Creek. The Dalzell Creek will be crossed by our racers (and mushers a week later) several times before they get onto the Tatina River and on into the Rohn check point.
Today at 2:00pm I will hold the pre race meeting at the Golden Lion Best Western Hotel. It is mandatory for racers. Information about trail conditions, check points and a trail report is passed on the the racers.
A large bus transports the 48 racers to the starting line about 70 miles from Anchrorage at Knik Lake. Start is at 2:00 PM tomorrow Sunday.
Once a day I will have an update here our our" latest news".
Also out on the trail will be Craig Medred with the Alaska Dispatch, an online publication. I am looking forward to read his trail stories. He often writes an article every other day from the trail.
I wish all racers a great race experience & safe journey and all of our fans, friends & family an enjoyable time following along via website, leader board and our face book page.
February 19, 2013
Bill last update before he heads out on the trail Thursday morning.
February 18, 2013
The race starts this coming Sunday Feb. 24th at 2:00PM at Knik Lake. The first updates on the Leader Board should be coming in that night from our first check point Yentna Station, 60 miles into the race. Face book will have more frequent updates, our FB page is public, for everyone to see and post and like. We also have a message board for family and race fans to post messages for thr racers. They can see those at some of the check points, for sure when they get to the McGrath finish line and on their way to Nome, they will have acces to Internet in most schools in the villages along the way.
We went to Willow today, Bill to fly drop bags, food and our wall tent for Rohn with Barry Stanley-Denali Air Service. I met with Sharon and Andrea who will update our leader board during the race. They both have experience with the race, Andrea as a racer and Sharon as caretaker/checker in Puntilla. Some of you might know them. I will be in Anchorage before the race for the pre race party at Speedway on Friday evening and the pre race meeting on Saturday and at the start at Knik Lake on Sunday.
Looking forward to the race and people checking in.
February 12, 2013
January 28, 2013
(907) 561-1522 and tell them you are an Alaska Ultra Sport racer.
November 30, 2012
October 21, 2012
It is finally fall in the western hemisphere and we are still mountain biking on dirt here in the Southwest desert finishing up with our last guided trip of the summer/fall 2012season. Alaska has seen the first snow flakes and the tundra, rivers and lakes are slowly freezing up. I start thinking about winter and the race and soon will be focusing on making all the arrangements for the trail and check points along the way. Bill and I will be back in Alaska for our only winter training camp this winter season from January 21-25, 2013 and we have 5 folks signed up from 5 different countries so far. It looks to be an interesting one. We are really looking forward to it.
Anyone interested to join us, we have one spot left.
There are several winter races taking place before the ITI.
These are qualifiers for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile race.
The Tuscobia Ultra in Wisconsin will be Dec. 28-30.
The winner of the 150 mile race will receive an entry into the 2014 ITI 350 mile race.
Next up will be the Arrowhead 135 in Minnesota on Monday January 28, 2013.
Their race roster is filled as well!
First runner and first biker receive an entry into the 2014 ITI.
Unfortunately the Susitna 100 was cancelled this year, but will return in 2014.
Alex Casavovas( a finisher of the 350 mile ITI by bike) is offering the Rovaniemi 150 K for the second year in Finland.
Currently it is the only qualifier we accept in Europe at this point.
The White Mountains 100 near Fairbanks Alaska takes place on Sunday March 24, 2013.
All 65 spots have been filled already and many including me ( Kathi) are on the waiting list.
I was hoping to do this one after we finish up with our race on the Iditarod Trail.
I hope everyone is having a great fall season and training for the ITI or other winter races.
Happy Halloween and happy trails!
August 8, 2012
Summer has been busy for us guiding wilderness trips all over the state. The fire weed is blooming which is a sign that summer is almost over in Alaska. As soon as we wrap up our summer season here Bill and I will head to Utah to guide mountain bike trips in the desert. By fall the first snow flakes will fall in Alaska and we will focus on the 2013 race. The race roster has been full since April with a long waiting list for racers that did not get a spot. We sill have spaces available for our 2013 winter training camp 5 days from January 21-25. Contact us if anyone is interested.
Hope everyone is having a great summer!!
April 29, 2012
The 2013 race roster is online now. We have a great field of very qualified racers for the 2013 event signed up. The 2013 race is FULL! A wait list will be kept. We hope to make more changes to our website this summer including a new banner image and race map as well. Hope everyone has a great summer and many fun races and events. Looking forward to next year's winter racing season. Check back for news and updates on our face book page.
April 16, 2012
We are receiving entries in the mail daily as well as many e-mails about the 2013 race. We are still reviewing all the applications and waiting for more to show up in the mail. April 8 we opened entries to rookies.
After finalizing the 2013 roster with the accepted entries for the 2013 event we will publish the 2013 race roster. A waiting list will be kept after that. This year quite a few people received an entry later in the year from cancellations.
The start date for the 2013 event is Sunday, February 24, at 2:00 PM.
We will also offer a winter training camp again in 2013 from January 21-25 for new interested racers without previous winter experience or a finish in any of the qualifier events such as Susitna 100, Arrowhead 135 or White Mountains 100.
Hope to hear from you all and looking forward to the 2013 event.
In the meantime there will be updates on face book throughout the summer and fall.
March 28, 2012
Bill M's race recap posted March 9 9:11 PM
Peter Basinger wins the 350 mile McGrath race for the unprecedented 6th time. Congratulations Pete! I expect that qualifies you for the Iditarod Trail Hall of Fame. To win the mens foot division Geoff Rose edged out former race winner and 6 time Nome finisher Tim Hewitt right at the finish. Ausila Vistarini won the womens bike division and Anna Ver Hoef won the womens overall. Anne became our first foot person to win the overall women's race to McGrath. Geoff and Tim gave the bikers Pete, Phil and Pavel a run for their money all the way to Rohn and were still hot on their heels by Nikolai. We had 18 racers who pushed on through conditions that had local freight haulers on snowmachines turning back to Skwentna because of blizzard conditions and deep snow. They pushed on through soft conditions nearly the entire way to finish in McGrath. Some even managed while battling the Rohn Plague. Congratulations to you all!
Thank you to the people who made this year's race happen. From the pre race party at Speedway Cycles hosted by Fatback designer Greg Matyas to the Finish Line at Peter and Tracy Scneiderheinze's home and everyplace in between. When a need arose someone stepped up to help. Thanks to the racers and all the great folks at the checkpoints, trail volunteers, trailbreakers and supporters of the race in Anchorage, the Valley and in the communities on the Trail. Former racers and some who scratched jumped in to help with internet coverage, pictures, stories and attempting to explain to fans outside the circles the complexities of reporting and communications on the Trail. By being great ambassadors all of you racers former and present have helped develop a supportive Iditarod Trail Invitational community on the trail which respects our efforts that includes not only community members but Iditarod volunteers, mushers and even the Iditarod trail breakers. They told me they were a bit sad not to see any of us on the Nome Trail this year. John Baker last years Iditarod winner told me in Rohn he was going to get a snow bike to train off season on the beaches of Kotzebue. Only veterans of the early races understand what a huge change this is from the early years but we have come a long way. Thanks to all of you who made that happen.
I will finish this with a quote from Ausilia Vistarini said after she arrived in McGrath with a smile and a sparkle in her eyes, " Last year was a vacation. This year it was REAL Alaska!
I hope to see you all back again next year to see what the Trail has in store for us.
Iditarod Trail Invitational
trail manager/wilderness guide
March 9, 2012
After snowmachining out from Rohn 200 miles Bill M. made it back to Wasilla early Thursday morning 2:00 AM. After some of the Iditarod volunteers in Rohn got sick with stomach issues that started in Rohn he decided to help Iditarod with the mushers out and hosted them in our Wall Tent that was still up after our last racer had come through. After spending a short night in a motel room in Wasilla we picked up our tent camp in Willow which was flown out that day by Barry Stanley with Denali Flying Service and then picked up the trailer with 2 snowmachines at the Point Mac store. We finally made it back home to Chickaloon together where we had 10 inches of new snow on our 200 yard long driveway and a cold cabin.
Today was a day to recover and take it easy for both of us. I want through some more pictures on my camera I took in McGrath and read the articles by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch (in total 9 articles). Thanks Craig for being on the trail.
Thank you to all our volunteers and checkers, check points and everyone helping out for the start until the last day of the race to make it all happen.
Thank you everyone helping with the race this year!
Bill M. will post another race recap on his end in the next couple of days.
Alaska Dispatch articles:
Fairbanks News Miner:
Capitol City Weekly:
Huffington Post by Kirsten Dixon:
March 7 2012 6:30 AM
Dave Kelley arrives in McGrath at 3:45 am. He received the red lantern award this year! He was in great spirits when he arrived and was very hungry. He had pushed his bike most of last night and was mistaken for a musher in McGrath. He said it was very funny when fans realized that he was a biker! Congrats Dave!!
March 6, 2012 10:19 PM
Leader board has some updates! Shawn McTaggart arrives in McGrath this evening at 9:45pm. Congratulations Shawn at 9 days, 7 hrs and 45 minutes! Only one more racer in the pack, expecting Dave Kelley here before midnight.
Billy Koitzsch has arrived in McGrath! Time will be set at 7:15pm. He has suffered frostbite on his left foot and arrangements are being made to get him treatment tonight at the clinic. Otherwise he is healthy and his usual effervescent self. He says he saw both Shawn and Dave on the trail outside of McGrath. More updates to follow. We are minutes from the first mushers arriving into McGrath and will try to hear from them if when and where they saw our last two racers. Robin in McGrath.
March 6, 2012 5:00PM
Cyclist Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro just arrived in McGrath at 1:19PM. Congratulations! They said they passed Dave Kelley and that he had taken a nap on the trail. Ausilia is the only female cyclist to finish the race this year. Way to go Ausilia! And she did it with a single speed bike. Very impressive. We are still waiting here in McGrath for Dave Kelley, Billy Koitzsch and Shawn McTaggert. They are all expected here before midnight tonight.
The first dog musher is expected in McGrath tonight around 8:00PM.
Kathi in McGrath
March 6 2012 7:12 AM
Italian runners Cesare Ornati and Roberto Gazzoli finish in McGrath early this AM as well as Rick Freeman. Congratulations to everyone that made it to McGrath in such a tough year. Rick said there was a new foot of snow on the trail last night. This year was the hardest ITI he has done with 4 snow storms pounding them along the way! He came in on the river since the Iditarod Trail breakers have made it here in front of the dog teams. It is 7:10 AM here at Peter's Schneiderheinze's house and racers are chatting about the trail and eating Peter's mancakes. Several are flying out this morning on a Pen Air flight back to Anchorage.
Kathi M. in McGrath
March 5, 2012 11:00PM
Anne Ver Hoef and Beat Jegerlehner arrived this afternoon at the finish line of the 350 mile race in McGrath. Congratulations to both of you! Anne wins the women's division and they finish in 6th place overall. So far 8 racers have arrived in McGrath. Most of the day it was snowing here and there are 6-8 inches of fluffy snow on the ground. Temperature has risen up to 0F. Tomorrow 30 degrees are predicted.
We are waiting on two Italians runners tonight Cesare and Roberto who might have bivvied along the way.
Our Nome field is dwindeling and so far none of the competitors that have arrived in McGrath are continuing on.
This year has presented itself as a very tough year with the highest drop out rate anyone remembers.
9 more racers are on the trail or were resting in Nikolai. Shawn had not left of this evening and Billy was planning to continue at midnight.
Two more racers had scratched this morning Frank Janssens and Walter Hoesch. They flew back to Anchorage on a flight that was unexpectedk but had to land in Nikolai. So they were able to get out and back to Anchorage today.
I will post more updates tomorrow.
Kathi M. from McGrath
March 5, 2012 10:49 AM
More news from the trail this morning. Roberto, Cesare, Anne and Beat, Andrea and David all runners left Nikolai this AM. Unfortunately we have more scratches in Nikolai. Walter Hoesch decided to stop here because of numbness in his toes. Frank Janssens came back to Nikolai because of stomach issues. More racers arrived early this morning:Billy, Dave K. Ausilia, and Sebastiano. Stephanie at our checkpoint in Nikolai told me they were waiting on Shawn. She is currently the last racer on the trail.
Here in McGrath it has started snowing this morning. With the clouds and snow the tempetatures are warming up.
At the McGrath checkpoint we are expecting the first woman this afternoon Anchorage runner Anne Ver Hoef who left the Nikoolai checkpoint with Beat Jegerlehner at 1:10 AM.
We expect them this afternoon.
Meanwhile McGrath has turned from a quiet town to a busy town with Iditarod volunteers and Iditarod fans coming in.
The dog teams are in Rainy Pass Lodge and expected in Rohn today.
Kathi from McGrath
March 4, 2012 8:16 PM
Well known ultra runner from Juneau, Alaska Geoff Roes wins the foot division this afternoon in 6 days 23 hours and 25 minutes. Congratulations Geoff!! He managed to pass up Tim Hewitt who had left Nikolai ahead of him. Tim arrived nearly four hours behind Geoff even though he had left the Nikolai checkpoint 4 hours ahead of Geoff. 6 racers have arrived in McGrath so far including italian biker Dario Valsesia.
As of 8:24 PM there were four runners resting in Nikolai.
Walter Hoesch was seen at the Bear Creek Cabin this afternoon as well as Shawn McTaggert. Andrea Hambach and David Johnston were were not too far from Nikolai. The last four bikers Ausilia Sebastiano, Billy Koitzsch last Dave Kelley were seen from the air near Farewell Lakes this afternoon.
The busiest checkpoint tonight will be Nikolai with several more racers arriving tonight and some departing. Temperatures could plummet again tonight since there are clear skies again. Stay warm out there racers!
Kathi M. from HQ in McGrath
I am heading over to our finish checkpoint. I can't connect my my laptop there to publish on the website. It has the software on it.
So only the leader board and face book will be updated until later this eveing. I can use any computer for that.
Kathi M. in McGrath
March 4, 2012 11:00 AM
Cyclist Pete Basinger wins the race in 6 days and 15 hours arriving at the McGrath checkpoint at 5:00 AM this morning. Nome cyclist Phil Hofstetter and Pavel Richtr from Czech Republic tied for second place at 8:08 AM. Congratulations to all of you!!
Temps had dropped to -30 below tonight and they are all pretty frosty faced. They were hungry and ready for a shower and sleep.
Front runners foot division:
Tim left Nikolai at night as well 4 hours and 15 min ahead of Geoff Roes. The leading woman Anne Ver Hoef was resting in Nikolai this morning.
Unfortunately Lindsay Gauld decided to scratch in Rohn this morning after evaluating his minor frostbite on his nose and fingers. It was a wise decision for Lindsay. Michael Schoder is planning to leave McGrath today and head to Rohn and give Lindsay a lift in his plane to Shell Lake and from there he can get get a lift by another pilot into Anchorage.
Kathi from HQ in McGrath
March 3, 2012 5:22 PM
Just got a call from Nikolai from the Petruskas that race leaders Pete and Phil arrived at the check point there. They arrived at 4:58 PM.
They are eating right now. I am not sure how long they are planning to rest.Our trail breaker Bill Merchant is heading back down the trail and returning to Rohn by snowmachine. He will give us an updated later and status on the other racers by sat phone later today.
Our face book page is accessible to anyone who doesn't have a personal face book account. It is a public page. Just click on our link here
There is great additional info by race veterans and other racers that took pictures during the race as well as links to the great Alaska Dispatch articles by Craig Medred who was on the course for the first 5 days on the course up to Rainy Pass Lodge. He had to return to Anchroage.
Articles are found also here on the AK Dispatch online only publication:
I will more updates later tonight as soon as I get the information from our check point in Nikolai.
Kath M. HQ in McGrath
March 3, 2012 9:46 AM
More leader board updates this morning. A balmy 10 F degrees are reported by Michael Schoder from Rohn this morning. He said all the racers coming through Rohn had a positive attitude and were looking good.
Bill made a trail into the Bear Creek Cabin and cut some fire wood for racers. The shelter cabin is 50 miles from Rohn and I expect some but not all racers will take a rest here. Meanwhile our check point in Nikolai at the Petruska's house is waiting to see the first racer.
The last 5 bikers are on route from Rainy Pass Lodge over the pass into Rohn. No word yet from Nikolai on where the front runners are. A beautiful calm day here in McGrath. We are anxious to hear when the leader of the race arrives in Nikolai. A finish in McGrath at the end of the 350 miles is not expected until late Sat night/early Sunday morning.
I will write another report later this afternoon.
Kathi from HQ in McGrath.
March 2, 2012 9:42 PM
14 racers have arrived in Rohn today, and 9 have departed this evening. It seems that Geoff might be holding his lead, but the first 20 miles leaving Rohn will be good for biking. After that the snow gets deeper and softer. Beyond Bear Creek Cabin big snow drifts were forming. By Salmon River the trail was completely blown in in all the open areas. I got this information first hand from Bill M. our trail breaker who arrived in McGrath this evening. One more biker Dave Kelley is on his way to Rainy Pass Lodge. The others arrived there this afternoon.
Leader board is updated.
21 racers remain in this year's race. The trail conditions on the remaining course are still going to be slow and soft trails. There is a lot of snow between Nikolai and McGrath. During the big storm it snowed a foot on in that area. We will have updates from Nikolai by tomorrow morning. It will be interesting to see whether a walker or biker arrives in McGrath first.
Kathi M. from HQ in McGrath
March 2, 2012 8:40 AM
Michael Schoder callled this morning. He is flying over into Rohn and helping at the checkpoint there as they will be getting busy with racers. First into Rohn was runner Geoff Roes at 1 AM. Tim was bivvies in the Dalzell Gorge. He had passed him up. Reading Craig Medred's article about Tim Hewitt, it sounds like he sprained an ankle on the sastrugi on the Pass. Craig Medred is on the trail for the online publication Alaska Dispatch by snowmobile and has written several articles already that are linked to on our face book page.
Bikers Pete and Phil were getting ready to leave Rohn at 8:30 AM to take chase at Geof Roes who at this point is only 3 hours ahead of them. Pete and Phil had arrived in Rohn at 5:30 AM.
The next stretch of trail has very little snow on it and is hard packed. Since Rohn is in the rain shadow of the Alaska Range it receives very little precipitation and little snow most years. About 20-25 miles out of Rohn they will get back into more snow, since there at 6 feet here in McGrath as well.
21 racers remain in the race. Russell Worthington had to scratch in Skwentna, he walked back down the trail from halfway to Shell Lake. His freewheel broke. He is flying out to Anchorage today.
The last 4 bikers plan was to leave Winterlake Lodge, mile 130 at 5:00 AM this morning:Italians Ausilia Vistarini, Sebastiano Favaro, Anchorage cyclist Dave Kelley and Canadian cyclist Lindsay Gauld.
Our trail breaker Bill Merchant just called me now, he was warming up his snowmachine to go break trail into the Bear Creek BLM shelter cabin about 50 miles from Rohn which is one mile off the main trail and cut firewood there for the racers, since there were reports that there was no firewood. The bear creek cabin is the only shelter on the desolate remote and often extremely cold 80 mile stretch of trail from Rohn to Nikolai, the next check point.
Bill will break trail to Nikolai and on all the way into McGrath tonight/early morning staying ahead of the leaders and making sure there is time for the trail to set up.
Kathi from HQ McGrath
March 1 2012 3:45 PM
We moved into a new location today at the Hotel McGrath where we have faster internet. Thanks to Jennifer Baumgartner and Zeb we can stay here in a two bedroom appartment with Hughes Net which we can use. I was finally able to plug in my laptop that has the software to publish on our website.
It has been a crazy four days for us tracking racers on the course. This has been a particular tough year and the efforts that these athletes have been putting in are beyond description. The runnters are in the lead. Tim Hewitt is leading the race today out of the halfway point in Puntilla/Rainy Pass Lodge, mile 165. Following one hour behind him is another well known ultra runner Geoff Roes from Juneau Alaska. This is Tim's 7th race to Nome, 1000 miles. He is 57 years old and he is putting in an amazing effort as well and Geoff and Alaskan runner Anne Ver Hoef who is currently resting in Puntilla. She is currently in fouth position.
It has been a very tough go for the bikers who have primarily been pushing their bikes through deep snow and drifted in trails on non existant trails. We have had 25 scratches primarily bikers, half the field has dropped out including race veteran and previous winner Jeff Oatley from Fairbanks and current women's record holder Louise Kobin.
9 cyclists remain in the race including 5 time champ Pete Basinger and the 2010 winner of the 1000 mile race Nome resident Phil Hofstetter who is teamed up with Basinger pushing their bikes.
The big question?
Can Pete and Phil make a move on the Pass or in Rohn where there has been no new snow since the race started and pass the runners.
Most years there is very little snow in Rohn and on the Burn where cyclist can make really good time on the trail.
There are four female racers left in the race out of 6 women that started the race. Anne, Andrea, Ausilia and Shawn.
We are all very impressed with the racers still in the race.
Feb. 28 11:00pm
It has been a long day monitoring the progress of racers. All but one racer have checked in and out of Yentna Station. 9 racers mostly runners and one skier made it to the Skwentna Roadhouse. Several more scratches today. Some overuse injuries, but mostly because it has been very tough for the athletes mentally with all the deep snow they have been struggling though. The trails have improved and racers are making better times on the trail. Three racers were at Shell Lake Lodge when I spoke with Michael Schoder there. They were resting and planning to push on to the third check point Winterlake Lodge on Fingerlake. They were Tim Hewitt, Geoff Roes and Andrea Cavagnet, the only skier left in the race. Way to go guys!! Skier and runners are still leading the race the second day of the race. The weather has been nice today and the winds have slowed down. More racers will make their way 20 miles further up the trail to Shell Lake Lodge and I will have updates in the morning. Dani Muldoon my volunteer assistant in HQ are flying into McGrath at 8:15 in the morning. I will post updates from there.
Feb. 28 11:05 AM
It has already been a busy morning with our high call volume and arranging evacuations. Kathi was on the radio this morning on Talk of Alaska discussing why the race shouldn't be tamed. Truly this race separates the weedend warriors from the meticulous great althetes. Not only are the mental and physical challenges overwelming but the adverse weather conditions as well. The Alaska frontier has thrown fastballs at these racers and struck several out already. Yet 37 have kept their defense strong and have managed to make line drives to first base. Tim Hewitt leads the way on foot, something not seen in over ten years in this race history. Peter Basinger and Phil Hofstetter on bikes are slowly creeping up on Tim and taking advantage of the break in better trail conditions. Altogether 29 racers have checked out of Yetna Station and are pushing on. These challenges aren't about never falling but how quickly one gets back up. Winds are forecasted this afternoon to blow on the open terrain possibly drifting snow over the trail yet again. Michael Schoder has reported to us that himself and four snowmachines and Michael pulling a groomer will be out to pack the trail for our athletes from Shell Lake to Skwentna.
Dani Muldoon/HQ Chickaloon
Feb. 27, 11:34 PM
It has been a busy day for us here at HQ for me and friend Dani finding out where racers are on the trail. Reports were coming in from all sorts of sources. There were very few snowmachiners on the Yentna River which is rather unusual for this popular snowmachine area. We did finally have arrivals by runners at Yentna Station the first check point 59 miles up the trail. Rich Crain our checker and volunteer at Yentna Station was busy hauling some racers to Luce's Lodge, 9 miles downriver. No bikers have left Luce's Lodge. The ones that had arrived this afternoon had gotten a cabin to spend the night. They must be really beat and tired and/or are playing it smart and are waiting for the trails to firm up overnight. Temperatures are supposed to drop tonight on the river to zero to 10 above and winds 10 -20 mph. It was -4 F in Rohn when I spoke with Bill Merchant in at 9 pm.
This year is sure a game changer. Mother nature threw a curveball in the race early making travel difficult for walkers and bikers. It has been 11 years since runners took the lead in this race on this early part of the course.
39 racers are left in the race, 8 racers scratched only 33 hours into this race. Runners are in the lead. We will see how tomorrow unfolds and if the trails firm up tonight. It is supposed to cool off. Rohn was already at -4 F. Let's hope for firm trails tomorrow.
Runner Tim Hewitt and six time finisher of the 1000 mile race to Nome is in the lead!
He left Yentna Station at 8:00PM after only resting there for 43 minutes!
Looking forward getting updates from Skwentna Roadhouse in the morning!
Feb. 27, 2:33 PM
I have been trying all morning to reach check points and lodges along the way getting information on where the racers are.
I did get some reports by sat phones from racers. Brij Potnis, James Keck, Jeff Jessen, Tom McDonald are pushing their bikes back to the Point MacKenzie store. Eric Johnson call Yentna Station from a cabin along the river, he is turning around. Donald Kane is also heading back to Knik. Rich Crain and Adam from Yentna Station are heading down the river to the confluence of the Susitna River and Yentna River breaking trail. A large group of tourist is heading up the Yentna River from Deshka Landing today. There should be a trail from the Susitna River to Yentna on to Skwentna. Michael Schoder has already snowmachined the trail from Shell down to Skwentna and back and is planning to pack the trail to Fingerlake as well. By this afternoon and later tonight there should be a good trail from the Susitna River/Scary tree all the way to Shell Lake.
I will update the website and face book as much as I can.
Feb. 27. 9:00 AM
Call from racers on a sat phone!
February 26, 2012 9:00PM
The race started under cloudy skies and 32 degrees this afternoon at 2:00 PM. I went to Burma Road a road crossing about 9 miles down the trail and was hoping to get some pictures. It was snowing hard when I got there. I made my way back to Chickaloon where I was able to drive into our driveway, only about 4 inches of fresh snow since I had left Thursday afternoon. Half an hour ago I spoke with Cindy at the Skwentna Roadhouse, and they have gotton 14 to 15 inches of fresh snow since yesterday.
I don't expect racers at the first checkpoint at Yentna Station on the Yentna River mile 59 until 11:00 pm or midnight.
I will update the leaderboard when I get reports from Yentna Station.
February 26, 2012
Today the race starts at 2:00 PM. Today's forecast:
February 24, 2012
Bill Merchant and Rob Kehrer our trail breakers on snowmachines and two Iditarod checkers who will be in Rohn left yesterday morning and made it 165 miles up the trail to Rainy Pass Lodge. They made really good time. Today they were planning on working on the trail up towards Rainy Pass, down Pass Creek and into the Dalzell Gorge. By tomorrow they should be in Rohn.
Meanwhile I am in Anchorage meeting new racers and seeing old friends here at the Golden Lion Hotel and at Alaska European B&B. I went downtown briefly today and watched a few dog teams competing in the Fur Rondy sprint mushing events. It was pretty fun to see those fast dog teams and the excitement going on this time of the year on Anchorage and in fact all over the state. I will be a Greg's pre race party later this evening and get a chance to have a face to face conversation with more racers.
Saturday from 2-4 PM we will have our pre race meeting at the Golden Lion Hotel in the Lounge 1st floor.
Then on Sunday the bus takes off at the Golden Lion Hotel 11:00 AM to transport racers to the starting line at Knik Lake.
We will start loading bikes at 10:00 AM in front of the Golden Lion Hotel.
It is about 80 miles from Anchorage to the start at Knik.
There will be food available for purchase at the Knik bar and a place to warm up in side before the race starts at 2:00 PM.
Knik Lake is on Knik Goosebay Road mile 13 outside of Wasilla.
The public is welcome to come to the start. I will have the first updates on the leaderboard up Sunday evening. Last year the first racers started getting into Yentna Station by 9:00PM.Depending on trail conditions, we will see what time they can make this year.
February 10, 2012
This has been a very snowy winter along most of the trail. Because of the deep snow the moose are spending more time than normal walking the trails. Struggling up past their bellies off trail uses huge amounts of energy and they are really reluctant to step off the trail when confronted by other trail users. They are likely to be quite aggressive if pushed. I have lived around moose most of my adult life and should have known better but in 2008 in one of those, "Hold my beer and watch this moments!" I pushed a cow a little too hard outside of Skwentna and almost became moose food. Just be careful and don't make the moose angry. They have already stomped folks this winter.
February 5, 2012
Remember the dead line for drop bags is Feb. 18.
Please mail or drop off your drop bags at
Cottonwood Street Anchorage
Another reminder. Make sure you have reflective tape on your bike, sled and clothing to be visible at night on the trail. Eagle Safety in Anchorage sells the best reflective tape. The stuff that goes on cones.
They also rent Satelite phones.
February 3, 2012
Check out Mike Curiak's video he filmed during the race last year traveling on the Iditarod Trail on a bike himself.
January 31, 2012
January 7, 2012
GPS units for navigation are allowed.
Return flights from McGrath to Anchorage:
Until then I hope the New Year is good to everyone and training goes well.
December 18, 2011
November 11, 2011
Winter has arrived in Alaska. While Alaska's coastal villages got pounded with winds and storm surges in the last few days,Southcentral received a significant amount of snow recently.Temperatures have been well below freezing at night and the rivers are starting to freeze up. Lakes are freezing over and Alaskans are getting excited about winter travel.
" Ice on the large lakes means that winter has come to Alaska. Ponds become meadows, lakes are landing strips and our rivers return to being highways." I am quoting John Schandelmeier, longtime Alaskan here in a recent article in the ADN.
And he is right. Winter time is the time to travel to places in Alaska otherwise out of reach in the summer months.
It is also the time we have our race on the Iditarod Trail. And with the arrival of winter we are getting excited about the race. For about two months of the year this imaginary line in the Alaskan landscape comes alive with mushers, racers,bikers, skiers, runners,dogs and snowmobiles on the trail. We are looking forward to this time of year.
The race roster has been full with a long list of qualified racers.
We still hava spaces left in our winter training camp from January 23-27, 2012.
See you in Alaska this winter.
September 2, 2011
May 20th, 2011
The 2012 race roster is full! There is a long waiting list for racers that didn't receive a spot. The race will start Sunday, February 26th @ 2:00 PM. Bill and I are spending some time in Southern Utah currently mountain biking and getting ready for our guiding season in Alaska. We will answer racer's e-mails and questions about the race between trips whenever we are near a computer.
We have set three dates for our winter training camps since there has been a lot of interest this year.
We hope everyone has a great summer full of adventures and look forward to seeing everyone next February.
March 12, 9:00 AM
Jerym just called from Shageluk. He sounded happy but tired. He has also been seeint the Northern Lights every night. We hear they haven't been this active in a decade. Lucky for the racers. It must be amazing out there on the trail having the Northern Lights overhead. Jerym said he planned to rest and then make a push to Grayling. Way to go Jerym, 930 mile into your 1500 mile journey!
March 11, 7:40 PM
Jimmy Haigh arrived in McGrath today at 4:45 PM in just over 12 days ,happy but tired and I am sure he was hungry. Jimmy is known to be a big eater.He is the last racer finishing th 350 mile race this year.
Tracey, Jay and Aidan are back out on the trail from Gayling early this morning. The bikers are cruising. Tim Hewitt arrived in Grayling at 4:00PM. He is making amazing time on foot. He is past the halfway mark in just over 12 days. Billy was out of Shageluk and we have not heard from Jerym yet as of this evening. Billy said that Jerym was doing great and should arrive in Shageluk this evening. The Nome racers have been making great progress considering it is the Southern Route this year which is known for bad trails or no trails at all and feriocious headwinds on the Yukon River on the way to Kaltag. We checked the weather and there was hardly any wind on the river or on the coast.
I will post about Jerym in the morning if he calls.
March 11, 10:20 AM
Jay and Tracey Petervary arrived in Grayling last night at 10:20 PM. Robin MacAlpine who met some of our racers in McGrath a few days ago is in Grayling and ran into Jay this morning at 7:00 AM in the hallway of the Grayling school. He said he would post more pictures of Jay and Tracey on our facebook page as they were leaving there this AM. Tim Hewitt just called from Anvik. He said the trail was punchy last night and that he was traveling on snowshoes , then bivvied, to let the trail set up. Aidan Harding our UK single speeder was just seen by Robin in Grayling looking strong and sorting through his resupply package. They expect the first mushers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in Grayling this AM. Jay and Tracey hope to head back out on the trail ahead of them. Jay is looking forward to seeing all the dog teams. He has gotten fond of dog mushing since he started handling for a Wyoming musher this winter.
Way to go Jay, Tracy, Aidan and Tim.
No word on Billy Koitzsch or Jerym Brunton yet. They should be arriving in Shageluk today. Unless we get a call from the racers on the trail we don't know where they are on the trail. After Grayling racers are facing 130 miles of Yukon River to the next village of Kaltag where the South Route rejoins the North Route trail. This section is known for notorious head winds. Tim Hewitt and Tom Jarding were confronted with these brutal head winds on that river section in 2009.
We hope the trail gods keep smiling on these racers and that they have more beautiful sunny and calm weather on their way to Nome.
March 10, 5:45 PM
Tim Hewitt made it into the 500 mile point the village of Shageluk. He was planning to pick up his resupply package and continue on to Anvik and Grayling in a couple of hours.
Tim said the trails have been ideal, a little soft after the trail breakers come through. Jay and Tracey said they had only pushed their bikes only 15 miles so far since leaving Knik Lake 11 days ago.
No word on where Billy is or Jerym. Jerym had left a day behind Tim from McGrath. We expect to get a call from him tomorrow.
March 10, 11:00 AM
Day 11 of the race. Jimmy is still on the trail to Grath. Our red lantern racer in the 350. We just received a call from Jay Petervary from Shageluk, about 500 miles into the race to Nome. He said they had a good trail from Ophir to Iditarod. But then there was no trail only deep snow. They spent 2 days there with Aidan Harding from the UK helping at the Iditarod checkpoint. Once the Iditarod trail breakers made it through they were back on the trail and rode all night into Shageluk. Jay said that the country on the Southern Route was much more beautiful than the stretch of trail from Ophir to Ruby on the Northern Route which is used in even numbered years. Jay and Tracey completed the Northern Route last year in just over 18 days. Him and Tracey were in good spirits and only planned to stop for 2 hours then get back on the trail to Grayling the next community before the 130 miles of Yukon River to Kaltag.
They last saw Aidan Harding at the new BLM shelter cabin at the Big Yetna River 25 miles from Shageluk.
The weather has been rather warm and mild, sunny in the daytime and no colder than -10 F at night which all of us racers consider ideal conditions where it is not too cold and we don't get too sweaty and can stay dry while moving along.
Jay said the trail weather gods have been good to them.
March 9, 4:30 PM
I just received an e-mail from our host in Anchorage Irene May with Alaska European B&B that Cookie and Savino were back in Anchorage. Cookie and Savino are not going to Nome this year. Congratulations for finishing the 350!
March 9, 4:19 PM
Jimmy arrived in Nikolai at 12:45 pm this afternoon. I did get a call after I had gone to town ( first time I have left my cabin since last Tuesday) and I don't have smart phone. I just got back to my cabin in Chickaloon and was able to post this. Jimmy was doing great. He has been talking to many of the mushers that chatted with him on the trail. He kept telling them, "hey aren't you in a race?" so they would go on. Way to go Jimmy.
March 9, 9:08 AM
Jimmy was last seen by one of the mushers yesterday evening near Salmon River about 10 miles out of Nikolai. This morning a pilot is planning to fly over that area and give us an update on Jimmy's position. Klaus ist still on the trail between Nikolai and McGrath. When I spoke with him over the phone in Nikolai he wasn't sure if he could make it in one push. So he may have bivvied along the way. This morning 25 mushers are already in Takotna, a small community 18 miles beyond McGrath. Our two walkers have been passed on the trail by all these mushers. I am sure they enjoyed seeing the dog teams. Temperatures are rather mild on the trail with spring like temperatures in the high 20's in the daytime, clear skies and no change in the weather forecast. I will check with our hosts in McGrath if Cookie and Savino are back on the trail to Nome.
No word from the other racers yet that left McGrath on March 5th. It could take them 5 days to arrive in Shageluk.
March 8, 8:09 AM
Cookie and Savino arrived late last night at 11:05 pm at the 350 mile finish line in 8 days 9 hours 5 minutes. 2 hours later the lone Skier Andy Stearns from Fairbanks and rookie Shawn McTaggert arrived to gether at 1:15 am. They were all happy to be there after over a week on the trails and in the cold and on desolate trails for the last 150 miles with temperatues down to -35 at night.
Congratulations to all you you, great finish!
March 7, 6:33 PM
Cookie, Savino, Andy and Shawn have not arrived in McGrath yet. It will take them 16-17 hours to cover those last 50 miles. So they should be getting into McGrath by 9:00-10:00 PM. The Iditarod dog teams have already past through the Rohn checkpoint and will catch up to our last two walkers, Jimmy and Klaus, who have not checked into Nikolai yet. Jerym Brunton is getting some rest in McGrath and plans to head back out on the trail to Nome by tomorrow. Today was a beautiful sunny day again, the temperatures along the trail were in the high 20's. The racers on the trail should have a good time out there on the trail. Some of the racers that have arrived are staying in McGrath to wait for the arrival of the dog teams which is a spectacular sight and great to watch.
March 7, 2:00 PM
Another great article by our on the trail reporter Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch who has been on the Iditarod Trail reporting from the trail for many years.Loreen Hewitt's new women's foot record.
I have posted some of the pictures Bill Merchant took braking trail through Rainy Pass and driving his snowmobile to McGrath and back. He got back from the trail Saturday at 2:00 AM and very tired, he snowmachinged about 900 miles in 11 days. Here are his images and a short video of Louise Kobin and Eric Warkentin on the trail just before McGrath.
March 7, 9:15 AM
Another beautiful day in Alaska. Shawn, Andy, the lone skier in a winter race and Cookie and Savino are all on their last 50 miles to the finish line in McGrath. Jerym Brunton arrived in McGrath last night at 10:45 pm in 7 days 8 hours 45 minutes. Well done Jerym! He is planning to continue another 750 miles to Nome and complete this year's 1500 mile journey.
We are still waiting for Jimmy and Klaus to arrive into Nikolai.
The Iditarod Sled Dog race started in Willow yesterday and the leaders are expected in Nikolai tonight. So Jimmy and Klaus will have the rare opportunity to see the dog teams pass them on the Iditarod Trail. I had this opportunity in 2008 halfway to Nome and it was amazing to watch the leaders of the Iditarod Dled Dog race pass by at night and I was watching them in the dark of the night from my sleeping bag from only 20 feet away. I will never forget that. What a beautiful sight.
March 5 8:00 PM
Donald Kane and Alex Casanovas finish in McGrath this evening. Still waiting on Jerym Brunton who is also planning to walk to Nome this year. He just finished walking 430 miles on the Yukon Quest Trail in early February, then came to Alaska. His plan is to do both trails back to back like no one has done before and walk 1500 miles. Go Jerym! Cookie and Savino just arrived in Nikolai at 7:00 pm and plan to head back out on the trail by 5:00 am.
Super effort everyone. We have such a strong field of athletes this year! Our careful selection of applicants has paid off.
This leaves only 6 racers currently on the trail that have not at the 350 mile finish line by the 7th day.
I think they will all make it within the 10 time limit.
March 5 4:56 PM
Loreen Hewitt arrived in McGrath at 1:30 pm setting a new women's foot record again! Her husband Tim had arrived with Eric Johnson earlier at 3:54 am and had quite the race going on between them from Nikolai to McGrath, 50 miles sprinting to McGrath, taking only 13,5 hours, that's 3.7 mph 300 miles into a foot race!!
They had quite the showdown in the end and Tim and Eric tied for first place in the foot division.
Tim had asked to wait for the posting of the results until Loreen arrived.
Way to go Tim, Loreen and Eric!!!
March 5 1:33 PM
Bill Dent finishes in 6 days 21 hours 15 minutes!! Congratulations! Billy Koitzsch arrives in McGrath at 1:00 PM.
March 5 12:46 PM
Alex Casanovas, Bill Dent, Donald Kane, Jerym Brunton and Billy Koitzsch are back on the trail to McGrath. Super effort everyone! Only 50 miles to go!
March 5 NOON
Klaus Schweinberger and Jimmy Haigh were the last racers to leave Rohn at 4:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Way to go!!
March 5 10:00 AM
More racers finish in McGrath in the early morning hours. Piera Damonte arrives at the finish line just after midnight. Eric Johnson is the first runner to arrive.13,5 hours for the last 50 miles, what way to finish Eric!
Mark Ruda arrives at 4:39 AM in 24th place.Congratulations!
March 5 8:00 PM
Jerym Brunton and Billy Koitzsch arrive in Nikolai this evening.
Other than lodges and cabins there is no town from Skwentna to Nikolai. And there are no roads out there. All the supplies, food etc. comes in by air.
Donald Kane and Bill Dent are departing at 8:00 pm to get back on the trail to the finish line. 50 more miles to go. You can pound it out.
Alex was still resting in Nikolai this evening.
March 5 5:00 PM
More racers have arrived in Nikolai. Bill Dent, Alex Casavonas and Donald Kane are in Nikolai. They said runner Jerym Brunton was about 2 hours out.
Tim and Loreen are trying to keep their lead in the foot division and left 35 minutes ahead of Eric Johnson. They have 50 miles to go on footto the finish line in McGrath. We expect them in McGrath early Sunday morning.
Piera Damonte and Mark Ruda are also on their last 50 miles into McGrath, both race rookies and both attended one of our winter training camps to prepare racers with no cold weather or winter biking/wintercamping experience for this race. If they arrive in McGrath as well all four of our last years students finished which I see as a total success of our training camps.
More news we hope to hear later tonight is that Jerym made it into Nikolai and Piera and Mark intoMcGrath and Klaus and Jimmy in Rohn. Billy Koitzsch is also on the trail to Nikolai. We won't have any updates from Shawn, Cookie or Savino until they arrive in Nikolai, but it is 80 miles from Rohn to Nikolai and on foot this could take 30-40 hours.
In McGrath racers Jay and Tracey Petervary and Aidan Harding were planning to take off for Nome today.
It is 18 miles to the next small community of Takotna, Ophir is basically a ghost town with some old cabins. This is where the trail splits off to the North and South Route. They will be taking the South Route this year which runs through the ghost town of Iditarod and the next time they can make a phone call to check in with the race organization is the village of Shageluk, 200 miles from McGrath. The trail from Ophir to Shageluk, Grayling, Anvik and on up the Yukon River is only used every two years (in odd years) during the Iditarod race . The trail is broken by the Iditarod trail brakers. It could take our human powered racers 4-5 days from McGrath to Shageluk or longer. There will be no communications inbetween. There are two new shelter cabins built by the Bureau of Land Management on that remote stretch of trail where the racers will be able to take shelter and get some rest. We also provide a food and supply drop for them at the ghost town of Iditarod. We are excited to monitor their progress and follow along on their journey.
I will write another update tonight.
March 5 11:40 AM
Tim and Loreen Hewitt just made it into Nikolai, 5 hours behind leading foot racers Eric Johnson. When Stephanie called I could hear them chat in the background. There is always a lot of trail stories to share, conditions. Racers have so much to tell about what the trail their trip was like. Piera and Mark were still sleeping at the Nikolai checkpoint at that time. No word on Jerym yet. The next racers expected in Nikolai are Jerym, Bill Dent and Donald Kane.
March 5, 10:00 AM
As of this morning 20 racers have finished at the 350 mile finish line in McGrath. All of them so far are cyclist. For people from outside of Alaska that would not necessarily make sense since they don't know this winter trail. Fact is it is a winter-route only. The trail doesn't exist in the summer only few parts of it. Despite the great trail conditions the race has been more stressful for me as RHQ than other years so I haven't really had the time to write much about the trail itself or the individual racers in the event.
They are all phenomenal athletes and great people to be around. The first runners have yet to arrive but we are only going into day 6 today at 2:00PM. Eric Johnson is the leading runner currently in his 5th year on the Iditarod Trail. Followed by race veterans Tim and Loreen Hewitt who holds the women's foot record. Tim has done the 350 race a dozen times and he has walked to Nome 5 times previously (2001, 2004, 2008,2009,2010)
Getting close to Nikolai also is Jerym Brunton who intends to walk over 1500 miles. He had just walked 430 miles on the Yukon Quest Trail in Canada early February and is continuing his journey north with another 1100 miles. By the time he gets to Nikolai he is only halfway there. His cause is found here: Justgiving
Jerym finished the 350 mile race last year in order to enter the 1100 mile race this year.
Even though the weather and conditions have been just phenomenal on the iditarod Trail, it is never easy, I know for a fact I have done it three times, in 2008 all the way to Nome. There is many challenges along the way, physically, mentally and the trail itself. Just the remoteness of the trail, the constant cold and the lack of comfort makes it a very difficult challenge.
Thanks everyone for following along and I will post more when I get the phone calls from our checkpoints.
I did receive a sat phone call from Rohn from Bill who is heading out and back down the trail. Cookie and Savino left Rohn this morning. The two racers left to come into Rohn are Jimmy and Klaus. I am sure he will see them on the pass as he is headed over the top back to Puntilla.
March 5, 8:15 AM
We have more finishers in McGrath (350miles) this morning.
Sean Grady is another rider planning to continue on to Nome this year.
I also received a call from Stephanie in Nikolai and got an update from there. Eric Johnson is leading the foot race!This is Eric's 5th year racing on the Iditarod Trail and last year was his personal best with a finish of 5 days and 18 hours. Lookis like it will take him a bit longer this year.
Only 50 miles to go now Eric.
Also arrived in Nikolai this morning have Piera Damonte and Mark Ruda. Keep pedaling, you're both almost there.
March 4, 8:30 PM
I have had a busy day myself with just life in an off the grid cabin in Alaska, but I want to write a final update for the evening. I spoke with Bill Merchant who was in Rohn this evening. He had made a trip to the top of Rainy Pass and had seen Shawn on the trail near the top of the pass and he said she was doing great, had a big smile.
I also spoke with Tracey Petervary in McGrath, she said she was feeling happy to be there and was looking forward to the trip to Nome with husband Jay.
I heard through Jennifer who lives in McGrath that her brothers at Submarine Lake (one of the smaller lakes near Farewell Lake not too far from Rohn) called her by Sat Phone and said they had seen Donald Kane and Bill Dent passing trough there and they were looking good.
Ride on and you will be in McGrath soon and get to experience the most wonderful food and warm hospitality in Peter and Tracey's house. There is always food available there at any hour.
I was there two years ago welcoming racers at the finish line.It was great to sit around the table and listen to all their trail stories.
After riding in the cold for several days in the remote wilderness of Alaska,a comfortable bed and endless food at the finish line, is heavenly.
Great accomplishment to all that finish the 350 mile race! Good night all.
Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro have arrived at the finish line in McGrath as well.
Tracey Petervary arrives in McGrath at 4:20 PM this afternoon. Congratulations Tracey! Off to Nome soon.
March 4, 5:00 PM
Racers are just stop and go at Nikolai this afternoon, just a pit stop and they are back out on the trail. We know this group had stopped to rest 30 miles from Nikolai at the Bear Creek shelter cabin.
On their last strech of 50 miles to McGrath are tonight Harald Schiff, Sean Grady, Janice Tower and Joe Pollock.
Way to go. It has taken the lead group of bikers between 9-11 hours to cover the stretch of trail between Nikolai and McGrath.
March 4, 4:00 PM
Daniele Modolo arrives in McGrath at 1:01 PM followed by Aidan Harding at 1:09 PM.
Aidan Harding and Jay Petervary are two of the racers that have reached McGrath and they are planning to ride to Nome this year, another 750 miles on the Southern Route. From them McGrath is just onother checkpoint. For the rest it is the finish line.
The next racers we expect in McGrath are Tracey Petervary, Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro.
March 4, 12:15 PM
Updates from Puntilla/Rainy Pass Lodge came in this morning.
Cookie, Savino, Andy our only skier left in the race and Shawn arrived last night. They all left the checkpoint and were heading over the pass this morning.
Still on the trail to Puntilla are Jimmy and Klaus.
March 4, 11:14 AM
Steve Wilkinson arrives in 12th place this morning in 4 days 20 hours 49 minutes. Aidan must have bivvied on the way, he only stopped for 4 hours in Nikolai, so he needed a bit more rest before continuing on.
March 4, 11:00 AM
Aidan Harding,Daniele Modolo,Steve Wilkinson and Tracey Petervary have left the Nikolai checkpoint and are on their way to McGrath. Aidan might be in McGrath now, Steve should be getting there soon and Daniele and Tracey should get there later this late afternoon and evening.
Arrived in Nikolai this AM have Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro. They left Nikolai at 9:30 AM this morning and should arrive in McGrath by this evening.
March 4, 9:05 AM
Bill Merchant our trail braker returned to Rohn this morning. He saw Ausilia and Sebastiano about 15 miles out of Nikolai. He also stopped at the Bear Creek Cabin.
Janice Tower, Joe Pollock, Sean Grady and Harald Schiff were there.
The last 6 racers yet to arrive in Puntilla at the halfwaymark are: Cookie, Savino, Jimmy, Shawn, Andy St., and Klaus.
March 3, 10:18 PM
One last report for tonight.
Arrived in Nikolai: Tracey Petervary, Steve Wilkinson, Aidan Harding
In & Out of Puntilla: Billy Koitzsch*( continuing on the trail outside the race)
In Rohn: Piera Damonte, Mark Ruda, Bill Dent, Donald Kane
The rest of the raceers are on the trail somewhere between the ckeckpoints.
Tonight on the fourth day of the race 11 racers have finished the 350 mile race in McGrath.
Thanks to you all of you wonderful people we can organize such a suberb event with wonderful checkpoints.
Thanks to all the lodges, road houses and cabin owners, trail travellers,checkers, trail breakers, trappers, helpers at the starting line, behind the scenes and off and on the trail, all of you who in some way or another support this unique race.
I hope I didn't for get anyone.
Thanks to you ALL. Good night. Let's hope all the racers are safe out there tonight.
March 3, 8:30 PM
Race rookies Brian Hartman and Mark Silverman arrive in McGrath at 6:20 pm in 10th place, 4 days 4 hours 20 minutes. Congratulations!
Steve Wilkinson and Aidan Harding were in only racers currently in Nikolai.
Jerym Brunton and Eric Johnson had left Puntilla, but they are not in Rohn yet.
Cookie, Savino, James and Shawn had left Fingerlake today, but are not in Puntilla yet this evening. They must have stopped at Mike & Ingrid's cabin on Finbear Lake which is halfway between Fingerlake and Puntilla. Klaus was in Fingerlake this afternoon.
March 3, 4:46 PM
Lance Andre and Bill Shand arrive in McGrath at 4:10PM in 8th place. Congrats to you both!
March 3, 3:25 pm
Jay Petervary arrives at 2:45 pm and Bill Fleming at 3:13 PM this afternoon 6th and 7th place, both in just over four days. Congratulations Jay and Bill!
Jay Petervary is heading to Nome another 750 miles after McGrath with his wife Tracey again on the Southern Route.
March 3, 2:00 PM
Louise Kobin arrived in McGrath at 12:20 PM this afternoon setting a new female course record in the 350 mile race of 3 days 22 hours and 20 minutes. Congratulations Lou! She ist in 4th position overall!! She shaved almost 20 hours off Tracey Petervary's record from last year.
March 3, 10:30 AM
Rohn updates are posted now on the leaderbaord. No runners have arrived in Rohn as of 9:47 AM.
23 bikers are through Rohn by this morning.
Fingerlake/Winterlake Lodge and Rainy Pass Lodge/Puntilla updates are on the leaderbaord now.
All bikers, skiers and all but one runner have made it trough the 130 mile mark at Winterlake Lodge this morning. Our last racers is Klaus Schweinberger, but he is going strong like all of our racers this year. We have had very few scratches so far. Just a phenomenal year on the trail with an amazing group of athletes!
March 3, 9:00 AM
Rookie Greg Matyas finishes in third place at 2:20 AM. Well done Greg!!
Check out the pictueres by our fans in McGrath here on facebook this evening. Awesome!!
March 2, 9:30 PM
Jeff Oatley finishes only 25 minutes behind Pete in second place, just like last year only they were 33 minutes apart. Amazing for such a long race. Congratulations Pete and Jeff!!
March 2, 8:50 PM
Pete arrives in McGrath at 8:30 pm in 3 days 6 hours and 30 minutes. This is Pete's 5th win. Amazing finish Pete. Congratulations!!
I am waiting to get some pictures from McGrath when Pete arrived just a little while ago.There was a crowd of about 25 people cheering Pete into town. Some of them were his students from McGrath where Pete is teaching since last year.
March 2 6:15 PM
Pete Basinger was seen 20 miles out from McGrath at 4:00 PM. There hasn't been a lot of traffic on the trail since the big snow between Nikolai and McGrath. He has a big crowd waiting for him in McGrath and he is expected between 7:30 and 8:00PM.
I have got a sat phone call from Rohn. The leaderboard is updated with the information I got from Rob. Rohn is one of the toughest checkpoints to manage with a wall tent and not much else there. He has to haul water form the river, heat meals for the racers etc. Great job Rob!
This is how Loreen's time in Puntilla compares to last year. Wow she is fast this year.
Puntilla in and out times:
Nikolai checkpoint stats:
2010 Tracey Petervary bike 3-6 in 12:00 AM out 3-5 2:00 am
Wow! Loreen and Louise, you are both on record pace.
March 2, 4:40 PM
I had almost forgotten in all the race exitement and things going on here at HQ that Pete Basinger almost didn't start because the flights were cancelled on Thursday and Friday before the race. He made it into Anchorage by Saturday just a day before the race. That makes it the more amazing that he made the start and is now on a racord shattering pace.
March 2, 4:18 PM
We wait, wait wait. No news from Rohn. The checkpoint our small wall tent must be full with races resting, eating, sleeping.
I just found out through Craig Medred's article whay Tracey Petervary is further back in the field than expected. She did a loop leaving from the Winterlake Lodge checkpoint. Here is the story on Alaska Dispatch. Making wrong turns in this race happens every year. But they happen in different places every year. Because this trail presents something different every year. This one is becaus there is the Iditarod Trail used by dogs and the Iron Dog trail used by machines (snowmobiles) a week prior to our event.
The Iditarod Trail is an imaginary line on a map until it is used by Iron Dog, Iditarod and the Invitational race.
Then it depends who puts in the trail and which way they go, where the river ice is good and where it is thin. Where they go around obstacles on the trail.
Several rookies made a mistake the first night because someone had cleared and packed the historid Iditarod Trail. Craig Medred wrote a story about that as well in the Dispatch.
This race is not easy even in a year with perfect trail conditions and weather.
The trail is not marked for racers. Trail navigation is part of the race and part of the adventure and the core group of racers that comes every year would not have it any other way. Rookies pay their dues and sometimes even race veterans make a mistake. Many years ago Bill Merchant made the same mistake on this historic section of trail shortly after leaving Knik Lake and there are many more trail stories of Bill Merchant and how he learned this trail and country out there on the Iditarod Trail. It is never the same twice.
Stay tuned. I hope to get more updates this evening.
March 2, 1:45 PM
No word from Rohn yet. I am waiting for a Sat Phone call. Long distance phone in Nikolai was out earlier. I will get news via email from there. Klaus is in the Red Lantern position in Skwentna this afternoon. He plans to continue on to Shell Lake Lodge or Winterlake Lodge CP3 tomorrow around noon.
Awaiting new from Rohn too. There were no updates from Rohn pre Sat Phones. So please be patient with the race organisation here. This is remote ccountry out there. From the Painy Pass Lodge at Puntilla Lake near Rainy Pass in the Alaska Range to the small settlement on the Kuskokwim River with 90 people in Nikolai there is virtually no habitation, no permanent settlement and that's about 135 miles.
The Rohn roadhouse ( BLM public use shelter cabin, rented by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race this time of year) is only occupied during the Iditarod Trail races.
I will post when I get calls.
Just pondering over Loreen Hewitt's time. She set a new women's record on foot in 2008, then bettered that by about 4 hours last year and left the Fingerlake/Winterlake Lodge CP 3 10 hours earlier than last year.
Another record this year?
March 2, 11:00 AM
More updates from Puntilla/Rainy Pass Lodge the 4th checkpoint this AM.
Janice T. Joe P. Tracey P. Ausilia V. Sebastiano F. Daniele M. Harald Sch. Sean G. and Steve W have all left Puntilla early in the AM and are heading over the pass, another difficult section of trail. They climb up to Rainy Pass at 3000 feet in the Alaska Range is known for notorious winds that have turned back racers and sometimes even mushers in the past.
But this year the wind only got our trail brakers Bill Merchant, Rob Kehrer and OE. When they broke trail through the pass on Friday and Saturday prior to the race they had 65 mph winds on the pass.
The racers got lucky this year, the trail over the pass must be good for the front runners.
The Dalzell Gorge known for treacherous ice briges and open spots on the Dalzell Creek is good.
Also the Tatina River is good this year, it's got snow on it, somwtimes it is windblown and icy for our cyclists who don't have studded tires only fat tires 4 inches wide. Also no overflow reported so far.
An amazing year on the trail and great trail conditions, nice weather.
The race is going well for bikers, runners and skiers this year. Just a great year on the trail.
In the foot devision Tim and Loreen and Eric J. have left the third checkpoint yesterday evening.
I expect our checker at the Rohn tent camp is busy feeing and taking care of racers this morning. I hope I get a Sat Phone call this afternoon from Rob.
The reports between Rohn and Nikolai can be far apart. It is 80 miles from Rohn to Nikolai. The leaders will go through all the way. Some racers may stop at the Bear Creek public use cabin at mile 50. Bill Merchant broke a trail out to it. It is one mile off the main trail. No one had made a trail to it since the new snow. He also told me that contrary to rumors Bison Camp was still intact and racers could stop there as well. Bison Camp is a hunting tent camp, it is unoccupied at this time. Bison Camp is right on the trail halfway between Rohn and Nikolai.
March 2, 9:54 AM
Pete Basinger left Nikolai at 9:40 AM this morning.
I am having trouble reaching the checkpoints, no answer or busy phones. I spoke with Zoe at Shell Lake Lodge, not a checkpoint, but a place to stop for racers. Andy Stearns left there this morning at 7:30 AM.
Can't reach Puntilla this morning either. Craig Medred sent me an e-mail throught the internet connection this morning, the checkpoint was currently empty there. Racers should be arriving in Rohn. I can't call there. We have a Sat Phone there. I have to wait until our checker Rob calls me from there. When he is busy heating up food for racers in our 10x12 foot Wall Tent he will be too busy for that. All our checkpoints and other stops such as Luce's, Shell Lake Lodge, Mike and Ingrid at Finbear are doing an amazing job feeding racers and taking care of them.
I expect Cookie, Savino, Shawn and Jimmy left Skwentna this morning and are making their way towards Fingerlake today. Klaus had left Yentna Station at midnight, he should be in Skwentna by today and on to Shell Lake Lodge.
Mike Curiak, our biking photographer was in Fingerlake last night, Alaska Dispatch reporter Craig Medrad was in Puntilla this AM, Rich Crain, our checker in Yentna had moved on to Fingerlake and Bill Merchant our trail braker had left Nikolai at 8:00 AM.
March 2 8:00 AM
Pete arrives in Nikolai mile 300 at 7:30 AM. Way to go Pete. 2:00PM this afternoon is only three days. If he leaves by 9:00 AM and pounds out the last 50 miles in 8 hours, gets in by 5:00PM he could break his own record by over 2 hours.
I will post more updates as soon as I check in with all the other checkpoints this morning.
I posted images I took of some of the racers at the Skwentna roadhouse on Sunday and Monday here at facebook:
March 1 8:30 PM
Some of the missing data is from racers not signing into the check sheet at the checkpoint. But I sometimes miss a couple when I transfer from phone call to a list an on to the PC. Yentna is wrapped up now and Klaus Schweinberger plans to leave there by midnight and head up the trail to Skwentna. All the racers still on the trail are in good spirits and are making good progress at this time.
March 1 7:15 pm
First runners are in Fingerlake in just over 48 hours into the race. Tim Hewitt and Loreen leading in the foot devision. They are very fast this year as well. We had another Scratch, Kim Kittredge from Palmer, Alaska. Sad to hear as well that you had knee troubles also. Hope to see all of you that had to drop out so far back again next year.
So far 11 racers have made it into Puntilla, 7 so far have left Puntilla. Way to go bikers!
Klaus is in the red lantern position and was having breakfast this morning at Luce's Lodge with our checker who had come down 6 miles the Yentna River to see where the last person was. Some racers took the old Iditarod Trail that someone has been cutting out and packed with snowmobiles this year, so when the trail ended some back tracked, some had to use snow shoes and made much slower progress than others. From reports I heard Jimmy Haigh and Shawn McTaggert, Cookie and Savino took this trail. But they are all fine and moving up the trail towards Skwentna now.
March 1 5:20 pm
There are more updates now on the leaderboard. I am back in business now with the reporting. All is going well with the race. Only 4 scratches so far. That is really good just over 2 days into the race. Pete is leading the race and heading towards Nikolai already. He left Rohn at noon today. In second place is now Bill Fleming. These bikers are setting a blazing pace on the trail this year!
Jay P. and Jeff O. are in third position and left Rohn together at 3:30 PM this afternoon.
Louise Kobin racing her third year on the Iditarod Trail is setting a blazing pace. In Puntilla she was over a day ahead of her own pace and a day of Tracey Petervary's pace when Tracey set a new woman's record.Can Louise set a new woman's record? It is all up to what trail conditions are like from Nikolai to McGrath and whether the bikers can continue this incredible pace.
I hope to get a call from Nikolai tonight with Pete's arrival there.
March 1 2:45 pm
I flew out of Skwentna at 10 AM back to Willow. Then drove 80 miles.Just got back to a frozen cabin and 200 yards of my driveway that I can't get in. There is 10 inches of new snow. So I have to snowblow later. Sorry for the lack of updates. But I have got a lot going on. My cabin is cold, I have to start a fire, warm it up here, then I will be back on my laptop here. Live in a cabin in Alaska. A tree fell while I was gone, destroyed Bill's tool shed. I am glad it wasn't the outhouse at we feared. I have to check later to see what the damage is. It is a big cottonwood tree. Race fans, friends and family hang in there, I will get the updates as soon as I get the cabin warmed up and get back online.
Rocky Reifenstuhl emailed me yesterday that he pulled out of the race the first day. He is fine. I forgot to mention that, I was very busy.
March 1 6:00 AM
By the beginning of the 3rd day of the race racers are spread out along the trail over 200 miles. Peter Basinger is leading the race into the Alaska Range more than halfway down the trail followed by JayPetervary, Jeff Oatley and Bill Fleming last night. The Fingerlake checkpoint was very busy last night. I will check in with them shortly.
After being up for nearly 2 days, I got some rest last night.
Several racers left the Skwentna checkpoint yesterday afternoon and last night. Some were planning to overnight at Shell Lake Lodge, 20 miles beyond Skwentna. Our foot racers Tim and Loreen Hewitt arrived last night and left early this morning.
Unfortunately there are 2 scratches at this point by 2 race veterans, Billy Koitzsch said his knees were giving him trouble and John Ross from England fell on a hill and sprained his shoulder. Sad to hear this. We wish both of you a quick recovery.
They will both be flying out to Willow with me this afternoon to Willow.
A few more racers arrived in Yentna last night. Cookie, Savino and Klaus had not arrived yet when I talked to our checker Rich Crain in Yentna last night.
James Haigh and Shawn McTaggert had arrived there a t9:40 pm.
Feb 28 2:37 PM
Defending champ Peter Basinger is once again leading the race. It looks like he could be into Puntilla around the same time he did in 2007 when he set the racord. He was in Puntilla in 24 hours that year. His chaser is Jay Petervary who had been leading the race into Skwentna early Monday morning. Next into Fingerlake were Jeff Oatley and rookie Greg Matyas.
Louise Kobin from California was leading the women's field and left Skwentna early this morning.
Janice Tower is also back on the trail with Joe Pollock.
Defending both her titles in the 350 mile and 1100 mile Tracey Petervary from Wyoming on the way to Fingerlake currently.
Feb. 28 1:35 AM
Jay Petervary is first into Skwentna, CP2. He is the first one back on the trail by 1:00 AM. Pete Basinger and Jeff Oatley leave two minutes later chasing after Jay.
The trails are hard-packed and fast. They had a stiff head wind for about 15 miles on the river. Temperature currently at the roadhouse here in Skwentna is 2F. The wind has let off some.
Greg Matyas and Lance Andre are currently resting in Skwentna.I haven't been able to get through by phone to Yentna Station, but my guess is more bikers have checked in and out of Yentna Station.
February 27th, 2011 9:40 pm
Wow, the trail is fast. 5 bikers in and out of Yentna Station by 8:06 pm.
That means they covered 60 miles in 6 yours, they are averaging 10 mph so far. That is 2 hours faster than last year so far.
Keep track of the racers here at our leaderboard.
February 27th, 2011
The race started under sunny skies at 2:00 PM. 44 racers left the starting line. I flew into the Skwentna checkpoint with Denali Flying Service from Willow. I have posted some pictures from the start this afternoon here. If you were at the start and have pictures you can post them to our Flickr Account or on our facebook page. Based on last years times we should have some updates from Yentna Station ( mile 60) our first checkpoint between 9:00-10:00 PM tonight.
I am reporting from the Skwentna checkpoint this year for the first couple of days. I expect to see the leaders to come into the 2nd checkpoint around 2:00-3:00 AM Monday morning.
February 23, 2011
February 18, 2011
Following this years race
Race fans, friends,family and co-workers can stay informed during the race on this website on latest news, leaderboard our Facebook page on Twitter.We will also have the message board up again where folks can post messages for the racers.
We encourage folks that come out to the start next Sunday and people along the trail, if you have pictures or video of the racers coming htrough to post on our facebook page or on our FLICKR Photo page.
The UK based Adventure Racing Website www.sleepmonsters.com will feature daily race updates again this year.
Quite a bit a snow fell in the Mat-Su Valley less near Point McKenzie and up on the Yentna River near Luces. The Susitna 100 race starts tomorrow morning at Point McKenzie.Good luck to everyone.
We will be collecting drop bags tomorrow by noon at Alaska European B&B in Anchorage.
February 2, 2011
Anchorage runner and racer Anne Ver Hoef and trail groomer/checker Michael Schoder are hosting a pre race dinner at their house on Thursday, February 24th at 6:30 PM.
Greg Matyas is offering a pre race party at the Speedway Bike Shop in Anchorage again on Friday, February 25th at 6:30 PM. All racers are invited .Location: 2600 Spenard Road Anchorage
Looking forward seeing everyone.
January 25th, 2011
In just over a month we will be back on the Trail for the 10th annual Iditarod Trail Invitational. I have been in contact with some of our checkpoints this morning. Folks from Nikolai have been working hard to get the trail put back in near Farewell lake where the fire this summer destroyed it. The fire was so hot it burned all the organics out of the soil and left a tangled mess of roots where the trail used to be. Suspended seat posts might not be a bad idea for the 26 miles of what has always been a historically rough section of trail.
Word from Puntilla is low snow and a lot of brush on the trail. Iron Dog teams have made it as far as Hells Gate after having problems earlier with ice on the Happy River. Carl at Winter Lake Lodge said he had 35 inches of snow and the trails are good. Up until this last little bit of snow Michael Schoder said the trail up the Yentna to Skwentna was hard as concrete.
Skwentna Roadhouse has changed hands.Skwentna Roadhouse website We will miss having Bonnie's smiling face to greet us but the new owners sound excited to host our race. In the past Bonnie didn't charge racers for sleeping only for meals but that has changed. The price for a bed will be $28.00, breakfast $10.50 - $12.50, and dinner will be $15.00.
The lodges and homes that serve as our checkpoints are critical to the race. Smiles, thanks and tips go a long ways to ensuring they will continue to host us.
No bikes, skis or sleds are allowed in checkpoints. For all of you with screws or studs in your shoes don't forget to remove them at the door of all checkpoints to avoid scratching up the floors.
Dave at Luce's Lodge which is 9 miles before our Yentna Station checkpoint said he will be open until 9pm for racers needing to grab a bite to eat. Racers can also make advance reservations for a room if they like.
Drop bags are due by Saturday Feb. 19th. They can be dropped off or mailed to Alaska European B&B or to us in Chickaloon. Drops are for expendables only and should be packed in stuff sacks or contractor grade plastic sacks which are easier to pack in the small plane used to fly them in.
Drops for Iditarod are due at the same time since the are shipped to McGrath then flown out to the trail from there. For new Nome racers don't forget folks have had to bivy for as long as 5 days waiting for the trail to be put in on the Southern route so don't leave McGrath too light on food and fuel.
Rob Kehrer (our Rohn checker) and I will head out on the 24th to put in the trail over the Pass and the Dalzell Gorge.
I will miss all of you in Anchorage at the pre race. Kathi will be there to do the pre race.
January 21, 2011
Mike Curiak's film part III of his self-supported ride to Nome in 2010. Amazing footage and photography Mike!
January 18, 2011
Best Western Golden Lion Hotel
$79.99 special price for racers, mention Alaska Ultra Sport when you make your reservation!
The bus to the race start takes off at the Golden Lion Hotel on Sunday Feb. 27 @ 11:00 AM. The location is about 5 minutes from Alaska European B&B.
Hope all your training is going well.
We are currently in a deep freeze again here in Alaska with temperatures well below 0 the last few days.
January 9, 2011
Mike Curiak icon of the Human Powered Iditarod has put his 15 years of experience on the Iditarod Trail to good use producing a video of his unprecedented 2010 self-supported journey to Nome.
January 8, 2011
Happy New Year everyone!
Pen Air is offering their special rate again for our racers returning to Anchorage from McGrath at a one way fare of $183.00 per person. They offer one daily flight Monday- Saturday. They may add a flight on March 6 due to higher demands during Iditarod.
Racers don't need advance reservations for those flights. But you need your identification and you can pay by credid card as well as cash or check.
Happy travels and good luck with training.
December 8, 2010
For those of you making arrangements for accomodations in Anchorage. Irene has a new email. There is a dot between irene and may now. Her new e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact her if you are planning on staying at her B&B before and after the race again.
The other option is
Best Western Golden Lion Hotel
The bus to the race start takes off at the Golden Lion Hotel on Sunday Feb. 27 @ 11:00 AM.
November 29, 2010
I just read an article http://alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/news/7631-an-iditarod-highway by Craig Medred .
November 23, 2010
We hope all of you are doing well and are ready for winter. Kathi and I have expanded our guiding to include mountain biking in southern Utah and northern Arizona in spring and fall. We have enjoyed a great fall riding in the desert but are looking forward to winter riding in Alaska when we return.
We hope training is going well for all of you and look forward to seeing you in February.
September 15th, 2010
The Fall colors here in Chickaloon are at their peak. A sure sign summer has come and gone. I guess the only way to explain what happened to our Alaskan summer is "Time flys when you are having fun!"
July 7, 2010
We have finished the first two guided trips here in Alaska and are getting settled into our summer routine. Yesterday I took some relaxation time and read Craig Medred's book Graveyard of Dreams, Dashed Hopes and Shattered Aspirations Along Alaska's Iditarod Trail. I didn't close the book until I was finished. He did a great job presenting the history, geography, weather and the people that make the Trail what it is to all of us. The story is about the dog race but take away the dogs and it could have been written about all of us who come back year after year to enjoy life in its simplest form eating, drinking, sleeping, moving, facing and hopefully overcome the challenges the Trail throws our way. The book made me want to be back on the trail today! If any of you are interested you can find the book at Palmer Fireside Books
I hope all of you are having a great summer.
April 24, 2010
Today we have published the 2011 race roster and waiting list.
March 27, 2010
On April 1st registration for 2011 begins for previous McGrath finishers. We will have 45 places open for veteran racers with 3 of those going to the winners of this year’s race. There will be at least 5 places available for new racers beginning April 8th. An email will hold your place until you can send your entry form and fee by mail. Kathi and I will be out of state but will check our email and phone messages daily.
March 22, 11:58 PM
Tim Hewitt arrived in Nome at 6:15 PM tonight. His time of 22 days 4 hours and 15 min. is also faster than the previous foot record to Nome. This was Tim's fifth run to Nome and that is a record in itself. There are 6 two time finishers to Nome but Tim is in a class of his own with five finishes. Congratulations Tim!
With our Nome racers all finished the 2010 Iditarod Trail Invitational is now officially done. Congratulations to ALL the finishers and new record holders of this years race.
March 21, 11:01 AM
At 4:45 AM this morning Tundra Tom Jarding strolled into Nome to break the old foot record to Nome by more than a day and a half. Way to go Tom!!!!!!! With a spirit that just seemed to get stronger every day Tom kept stepping off miles and chatting about what a great trail and how much fun he was having. Called him at Phil's this morning but he was napping. Imagine that! Even Tom needs to rest sometime.
More about his fast run from White Mountain when I hear from him later today. Bill M.
Tom Jarding sets a new overall foot record to Nome in 20 days 14 hours and 45 min.
Phil Hofstetter wins the 1100 mile race in 17 days 9 hours and 30 min.
Tracey Petervary sets new female course record of 18 days 6 hours to Nome.
Peter Basinger claims his fourth victory in the 350 mile race.
March 20, 10:02 AM
Tom called last night at around 11:00 PM from White Mountain. He was in good spirits and chatty. He had just finished a big meal of caribou before he called. I guess Tom's wife Debbie described best how Tom has sounded on the phone this year, " He sounds like a teenager." He goes on and on how much fun he's having and how good he feels with the exception of the normal wear and tear inflicted by the gazillion steps he's taken so far. Tom stepped into the 70 mile communications black hole this morning on his final leg to Nome. I did see on Craig Medred's tweet that the red lantern mushers passed Tom out of White Mountain. If I hear anything from the trail grapevine I'll pass it on. Go Tom you're on the homestretch now!!
Tim is on the trail out of Koyuk. He sounded more upbeat last night and said his feet issues seem to be improving. I am sure the feet of most mortals would have fallen off long ago if they asked them to walk to Nome 5 times. What Tim has accomplished on the Iditarod Trail goes way beyond my ability to descibe it in words and beyond the comprehension of anyone who hasn't been there. Oh, and by the way Tim along with all your other records it looks like you are going to break my only record----- Oldest Guy to Nome. Now I guess I gotta go back sometime!
Was hoping to hear more from Jay and Tracey before they headed back home but I understand very well "just wanting to get home". Tracy's record shattering finish of 18 days and 6 hours is nothing short of amazing. From their call ins along the trail it was clear they were enjoying a special time together facing and overcoming the challenges of the trail. Rare is the couple who can equally enjoy and share experiences like that. Congratulations to both of you for a great race! Bill M.
March 19, 7:20 PM
Tim Hewitt called from Koyuk. He said the trail has been soft since it warmed up and some snowmachines went over the trail. It has borderline using snowshoes, but he decided not to put on snowshoes. He plans to get some rest and continue on to Elim tonight. We hope to hear from Tom Jarding tonight from White Mountain.
March 18, 11:19 PM
Jay and Tracey Petervary arrive in Nome at 8:00 PM this evening in second place after 18 days and 6 hours on the trail. Tracey's time is a new female overall course record. She is only the second woman to finish the entire course on a bike and the third woman to complete the 1100 mile long trail. We hope to have a picture to post tomorrow under the burled arch.
Tom Jarding is on a record setting pace to Nome. He called from Elim at 8:00 PM.
March 18, 8:19 AM
Phil Hofstetter wins the 1100 mile race!
Last night at 11:30 PM Phil Hofstetter rolled under the burled arch marking the end of the Iditarod Trail to win the 1100 mile race to Nome. Phil's time of 17 days 9 hours and 30 min is the fastest finish since Mike Curiak's Alaska Ultra Sport record set in 2002. Phil is from Nome and has really been cruising since he reached the Coast hurried I am sure by the fact he was going home to his family and friends. Congratulations Phil!!!! Nome and all of us are very proud of you.
Jay called this morning at 6:30 AM as he and Tracy were leaving White Mountain. They had good rest hosted by Andy Havilland the principal of White Mountain School. Andy has been a supporter of our race for many years and racers have always been treated like royalty by everyone there.
Tim called from Unalakleet just after 5:00 PM. He arrived just 5 minutes after the Post Office closed and was unable to retrieve his drop box. He planned to try to find enough supplies to get him to Koyuk where he sent his next drop and get back on the trail.
I expect to hear from Tom sometime this morning when he arrives in Koyuk.
March 17, 12:38 PM
Phil called from White Mountain at 12:15 PM. He planned to eat, grab a few supplies and hit the trail for Nome. Just 70 miles from home I am sure Phil is smelling the barn and excited to get back to his wife and baby. The trail leaves White Mountain and climbs back up in the mountains crossing a notorious " blowhole" in the Topkok Montains. Dropping out of the mountains back to the coast he will pass the Topkok shelter cabin where many trail travelers mushers and our racers have had to "hole up" sometimes for days because of hurricane force winds and blowing snow in the Salomon blowhole. This wind phenomenon creates a white wall so dense and distinct it looks as if you could stand in front of it and stick you hand in and out. I hope the winds are kind to Phil and all the other racers behind him.
Tom Jarding called in from Shaktoolik this morning at 12:15 AM. His wife Debbie said he was feeling good except for a few blisters. A little rest and food and he was headed back out to cross the ice into Koyuk. Tom is still on course to break the Northern route foot record.
Craig Medred tweeted that Tim Hewitt and Mike Curiak who is headed for Nome self supported were just passed Old Woman cabin on their way to Unalakleet this morning.
While I was writing this Jay called to report he and Tracy left Koyuk at 3:00 AM and arrived in Elim at 10:15 AM and were getting ready to ride back out into a blue bird day with hard fast trails on their way to White mountain. Tracy is on pace to break the female record to Nome by several days.
March 16, 8:55 PM
Phil arrived in Koyuk at 9:40 AM this morning. Jay and Tracey followed him in at 4:15 PM Phil was still in Koyuk but left right after they arrived. They had a great ride across the sea ice. It was a sunny blue bird day. They are enjoying the hospitality of the coastal villages. Koyuk is a beautiful village and a welcome sight after the long stretch of sea ice. We stayed in the school there in 2008, a great modern building where we had showers, the use of the kitchen and a place to sleep in the library. From Koyuk they will head out across lagoons and more sea ice on their way to Elim. There is the Kwik n' Creek shelter cabin on the way to Elim. We stopped there in 2008 when the wind was blowing at 50 mph.
According to the weather forecast our racers should have good conditions going across there.
No word from Tim and Tom yet. If I hear anything I will write an other update later.
March 15, 10:00 PM
Phil made it into Shaktoolik at 5:00 PM. Jay and Tracey arrived just 2.5 hours behind him. Jay and Tracey were in the school warming up and Jay said it was really quiet there where they could get a good night's rest. Once you drop off the blueberry hills you are on a spit of land along the Bering Sea all the way to Shaktoolik and it is exposed to the wind. When we arived here in Shaktoolik in 2008 it was -20 F with the wind at 20 mph much like what Jay was describing. The local kids were playing outside just like any other day. The coastal people of Alaska are hardy people and have lived and survived in this harsh land for hundreds of years. I admire them and enjoyed meeting and talking to them on the way to Nome.Here I was by choice and on an adventure, but they were born here and grow up here.
In 2008 the wind and -20 temperatures never let off all the way to Nome for the next 6 days. At times the wind was at over 50 mph. Those were the times when you really get to appreciate those shelter cabins between villages. 15-20 mph winds became the good days. I knew how cold it had been when the sun finally came out and there was a little break in the constant ground blizzard,I pulled off my balaclava and said " wow it's warm today. My thermometer showed -30 F.
Let's hope the winds don't blow for our racers this year on the coast. Phil was planning on heading out into the night and onto the 50 mile long stretch across frozen sea ice. Once you get out there, there is no more shelter and you are exposed until you reach Koyuk. There is a shelter cabin about 12 miles out. Phil said if the wind was bad and he needed a rest he would stop there for a while, otherwise he would try to get to Koyuk by early morning. There are many stories about the wind on this particular section about human powered racers and mushers who have turned around and gone back to the shelter cabin. Many racers won't go into this section of trail in the dark. Phil knows this stretch well since he lives in Nome and has travelled in this country over the years.
March 15, 9:00 AM
Waking from a sound sleep at 3:00 AM I fumbled for the phone, "Alaska Ultra Sport", there was only the sound of loud voices in the background. After a long moment I heard Jay's voice, " Are you awake?" From the hesitation and the tone of his voice I am sure Jay thought he would get the answering machine." I am now", was my reply. " "Well hey I not sleeping so why should you!" He and Tracy had arrived in Unalakleet about an hour earlier and were in the Peace on Earth Pizza parlor gobbling down food surrounded by the party atmosphere that follows the sleddog race from village to village. They planned to sleep on the floor of the restaurant since there was no room at the Inn. They have to wait until the Post Office opens this morning to grab their drops before heading out to Shaktoolik.
Jay mentioned some locals had told him they could follow the sea ice instead of going over the Blueberry Hills. Visions of 2003 flashed in my mind when I was told something similiar in Elim only to find myself on ice so thin there was a wave in front of the snowmachine as I raced towards the jumbled ice and safety near shore. I passed this tidbit to Jay and said the decision is yours but the sea ice scares the bejesus out of me. He sounded good and said the winds the last 20 miles reminded him and Tracy of home in Wyoming. He said the sunshine, scenery and visiting with the mushers made for a great run from Tripod Flats to Unalakleet. Let's see--- Tom enjoyed -40 on the river. Phil, Jay and Tracy were all at home in windchills that burn exposed skin like a flame. Tim is out there headed for Nome for an unprecedented 5th finish. The strength and matter of fact determination of these 5 athletes epitomizes what the Iditarod Trail Invitational is all about. Any one of you are welcome to wake me in the wee hours anytime.
March 14, 9:47 PM
Cyclist Phil Hofstetter arrived in Unalakleet at 8:15 PM this evening. He said it was slow going through the drifts built up from a windstorm that hit after Old Woman cabin. Even so he said when the wind hit it brought a smile to his face as he thought, " Wow, I am back home on the coast!" Phil planned to get something to eat have a good rest before heading out to Shaktoolik. A snowmachiner that just came in said Jay and Tracy were about 15 miles behind him. They should get into Unalakleet later tonight.
March 14, 11:07 AM
Tom Jarding arrived in Kaltag at 8:45 AM. It took him only 11 hours 15 min. from Nulato to Kaltag, about 40 miles. He said the -42 on the river really wasn't bad at all and it was his best, most enjoyable run of the race. Not sure everyone can say they enjoy temps like that but then Tom's not everyone. He plans to leave Kaltag around 1:00 PM. He will be leaving there less than a day behind the cyclists.
Tim Hewitt called from Galena last night at 6:00 PM. He planned to get a good rest before heading out. He had already lost time and sleep in Ruby drying his sleeping bag and clothes after his camelbak bladder failed and soaked everything. Mike Curiak had the same experience last year ending his self supported trip to Nome. I took a camelbak bath in "99". The stories go on and on. Maybe it's not if but when you'll get wet. Not a good thing at -40. Tim said he had no choice but to keep moving until he arrived in Ruby.
All five racers are getting a view of the Iditarod Sleddog Race that most race fans can only dream off. They see it from checkpoints and occasionally from the air. These racers are seeing it at eye level, on the trail, in real time.
Kaltag village store in 2008
March 13, 1:03 PM
Tracey called earlier today and gave us a report on their ride from Galena 90 miles to Kaltag which is the last stop on the Yukon River. Temperatures at night were down -40 F and it is challenging to keep your feet warm at these temperatures when you are pedaling a bike. Phil called in a bit later and said the same thing. I know from experience that riding a cold temps is slow because everything on the bike gets really stiff. Phil also described quite a bit of pusing the bike because he was tired and the going was slow. The three were all resting, eating and waiting for the temperatures to warm up. From Kaltag the trail goes over the coastal mountains to the Bering Sea coast and the first Inupiaq village of Unalakleet.
Unalakleet is located at the Norton Sound end of the Unalakleet-Kaltag Portage, an important winter travel route between Norton Sound and the Yukon River. Unalakleet has long been a major trade center between the Athabascans who lived in the interior of Alaska and the Inupiat who lived on the coast.
It is a beautiful stretch of trail and inspiring after the long wide, Yukon River. There are two Bureau of Land Management shelter cabins, Tripot Flats and Old Woman cabin. If the wind is blowing there are places where the trail can be drifted in, but when Bill and I rode to Nome in 2008, there was a good section from Old Woman cabin that was as good as it gets for snow biking. The first two mushers in the sled dog race have just arrived in Kaltag, Jeff King followed by Lance Mackey. They have finally caught up with our bikers and will pass them up on their way to Unalakleet. According to the weather forecast the temps are supposed to warm up by next week and they may see 20 degrees on the trail.
March 13, 7:40 AM
Phil Hofstetter calls in from Kaltag mile 698 this morning at 3:45 AM. We haven't heard from Jay and Tracey yet or Tom or Tim.
March 12, 5:27 PM
Tracey, Jay and Phil arrive in the village of Nulato on the Yukon River. Tracey said they weren't sure what their plans were. It has been cold on the river at night, so we expect the temperatures to drop again tonight.Tom Jarding is on record setting pace to challenge the Nome foot record. He arrived in Galena this afternoon at 1:00 PM and plans to head out at 8:00 PM tonight. Tim Hewitt on his fifth quest to Nome arrived in Ruby at 4:30 this afternoon.
Another 350 in the Books
March 11, 11:51 AM
Runner Tom Jarding arrives in Ruby only 14 hours behind the three bikers at 9:00 AM this morning.
March 10, 7:32 PM
Jay, Tracey and Phil arrived in Ruby at 7:00 PM. They said that they were able to ride their bikes most of the way from McGrath, but that the riding was slow around 3-4 mph. Tracey said it has been cold at night down to -30 F. Roger, a pilot from McGrath landed near them and told them about the new BLM public shelter cabin at Carlson Crossing. He had started a fire in the wood stove for them. They resupplied from their drop bags near Cripple which is just a spot on the map. The drop bags were flown in from a McGrath pilot ahead of time .Upon arriving in the small athabascan village of Ruby they ran into the post master and were able to get their package to resupply from the post office tonight. They are spending the night in the Ruby school and plan to leave at 6:00 AM tomorrow.
Ruby is a beautiful and very friendly village on a hill above the Yukon River. I spent some time there during my race to Nome in 2008.
Alessandro Da Lio tried to leave McGrath, but returned, because his back was giving him trouble. He decided to fly back to Anchorage and hopefully try to go to Nome another year.
March 10, 4:27 PM
Aaron and Vanessa finish the 350! All 35 racers arrived in McGrath!
The last three racers on the trail finished in McGrath this morning. Aaron Fanetti, Vanessa McKenzie and Claudio Piazza. This is largest number of finishers ever, 35 out of 44 starters.
Claudio and Cesare had been traveling together for the entire duration of the race, but Cesare decided to go on and finished 8 hours ahead of Claudio. Olene and Franceso, a racers who arrived earlier were a bit worried about Claudio. Aaron and Vanessa took care of the italian racer and made sure he was ok and stayed with him all the way to the finish line. It was -33 F this morning and he had trouble with his feet.
March 10, 8:26 AM
One more racer arrived at 2:00 AM this morning, Cesare Ornati from Italy, congratulations!
It is -33 F this morning in McGrath. The first Iditarod dog teams have already pulled through McGrath, the leader Yukon Quest camp Hans Gatt is already in Ophir, 43 miles further up the trail. Cesare saw Aaron, Vanessa and Claudio last about 10-12 miles out of McGrath last night when he left them.They may have stopped to bivvi out and watch the dog teams come by. Seeing the dog teams out on the trail is a unique opportunity few people get to experience. We hope to hear from the remaining three racers in the 350 soon.
March 9, 7:24 PM
Runners Roberto Gazzoli and Francesco Ghigliotti finished in McGrath this morning. Congratulations!
March 8, 6:13 PM
Aaron and Vanessa made it into Nikolai this evening. We got to talk to both of them over the telephone briefly. They were both in good spirits and planning to eat, rest a bit and then continue on to McGrath. They spent last night at Bear Creek cabin. They said they were able to ride their bikes from Bear Creek cabin to Nikolai. Cesare and Claudio are on their way to McGrath.
March 8, 8:57 AM
Loreen & Tim Hewitt and Rick Brickley arrived in McGrath this morning at 12:58 AM. Loreen broke her own female foot record from 2008 by 3 hours and 42 minutes. Congratulations Loreen!
Tim left McGrath at 6:45 AM this morning continuing on to Nome for the 5th time! Tim has walked the entire 1100 miles to Nome four times: 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2009!
The italian runners Roberto, Francesco, Claudio and Cesare have made it to Nkolai. Francesco and Roberto left Nikolai at 6:15 AM this morning. We are still waiting for Aaron and Vanessa to arrive in Nikolai.
March 7, 8:18 PM
Runners Mario Sterli and Jerym Brunton finished the 350 this evening on in 7 days 5 hours 10 min. Congratulations!
March 7, 6:09 PM
Lori Hutchison and Rocky Reifenstuhl finished at 4:30 PM this afternoon with a time of 7 days 2 hours and 30 min. Lori is an ultra runner and rookie this year and had the opportunity to travel with a seasoned race veteran like Rocky Reifenstuhl. Lori is now one of 14 women since 1997 that have finished this race. This is Rocky's 6th (7th?) finish of the 350 mile race to McGrath.
March 7, 10:31 AM
Glenn Mackie finishes in 22nd place, 2nd in the foot division, a day behind Eric and Tom who averaged about 60 miles per day. It is a great accomplishment on foot, that is an average over 50 miles per day on snow pulling a sled with gear. Italian biker Alessandro Da Lio arrived in McGrath at 2:00 AM. He plans to continue on to Nome. Tom Jarding left McGrath at 10:00 AM this morning heading for Nome. Good luck Tom!
March 7, 10:13 AM
While some racers are already on their way to Nome, we still have 15 racers on the trail between Rohn and MGrath. Mario, Glenn, Alessandro, Tim, Loreen, Rick, Jerym, Lori and Rocky all checked out of Nikolai. We are still waiting on 4 Italians and Aaron and Vanessa to arrive in Nikolai. They are out there on the trail so much longer and anyone that finishes in McGrath is a winner in my book. It is a huge accomplishment to finish this race. The Iditarod Trail has a way of testing our bodies, minds and spirit. If you can push through the dark places that everyone has at some given point in the race, then they will succeed and they are all heroes to me. Keep putting on foot in front of the other and eventually you will get there. Getting to the finish line and being treated like family in Peter's and Tracey's house in McGrath feels like heaven. Racers also have the chance to talk to other racers there and talk about their experience, because when they get back to the "other" world, no one will really understand what they have been through and what they have accomplished.
March 6, 7:15 PM
Glenn Mackie and Alessandro Da Lio have checked out of Nikolai. Mario, Jerym, Rocky and Lori have made it into Nikolai this afternoon. No word from Tim, Lorren and Rick yet. We expect them in Nikolai tonight. We had one more scratch today. Bill Dent scratched in Rohn. He pulled a hamstring going over the pass. We hope you recover soon and we will see you back for the trace. Him and Walter were trying to get flown into McGrath today, it is weather dependent whether or not they get out.
The 4 Italian runners and Aaron and Vanessa have left Rohn this morning and are crossing the 80 miles to Nikolai. It can take them a full 24 hours to get there.
They will resupply from an air drop along the trail near Cripple. The Iditarod Sled Dog race had their ceremonial start in Anchorage today. Mushers and dogs will restart in Willow tomorrow and be moving up the Iditarod Trail.
March 6, 10:13 AM
Tom Jarding and Eric Johnson are the first runners to finish in McGrath with a time of 5 days 17 hours and 52 min. Super effort on foot from both of you! Congratulations! Tom is planning to head out soon and continue on to Nome.
March 6, 8:37 AM
Just received another call from Rohn that Walter Hoesch is scratching in Rohn. His hip was giving him problems. Walter hat sich entschieden in Rohn aufzuhoeren. Er hatte Probleme mit der Huefte. Er fliegt heute mit Mansey Magnussen nach McGrath und von dort mit Pen Air am Montag zurueck nach Anchorage.
March 6, 8:02 AM
First update this morning was from Rohn by Sat Phone. Our 4 italian runners Claudio, Cesare, Roberto and Francesco and our German Walter have left the Rohn checkpoint this morning. Aaron and Vanessa arrived in Rohn at midnight and were in good spirits when they departed from Rohn. Michael Schoder our checker said that it was snowing. One racer is still out in the Dalzell Gorge, Bill Dent. He may have set up camp last night. I hope to have an update soon from Nikolai with several more racers arriving there.
March 5, 9:20 PM
Phil Hofstetter and Brij Potnis finished in 17th and 18th place this evening. Phil is planning to ride home to Nome this year. Our first runners Tom Jarding and Eric Johnson have left Nikolai this afternoon. Glenn Mackie arrived in Nikolai this evening. Michael Schoder called by Sat Phone from Rohn. The remainig runners Francesco, Roberto, Claudio, Cesare and Walter have made it into Rohn. Vanessa and Aaron and Bill Dent were seen by Iditarod trail brakers today. They said is was slow going for the bikers, but they expected them into Rohn tonight.
We hope to hear from Rohn and Nikolai in the morning with more updates.
March 5, 3:25 PM
4 more bikers arrived at the finish line in McGrath: Chris Plesko, Louise Kobin, Eric Warkentin and Dave Pramann. Congratulations! Louise's time is 7 hours faster than the 2005 Alaska Ultra Sport record. Chris Plesko broke his ankle in an avalanche only 5 months ago, but decided despite the injury to try to race this year and he was single speeding to McGrath. When I read on his blog that he hobbled out for several hours after the avalanche I knew that he doesn't have any quit in him. Awesome finish all of you racers!
March 5, 10:01 AM
5 more bikers have finished in McGrath this morning.
March 5, 9:16 AM
The remaining field of one cyclist and 5 runners all left the Puntilla checkpoint just before midnight and were heading towards Rainy Pass and on to Rohn, 45 miles from Puntilla. The wind has picked up again, it is snowing an blowing up there, but there was a crew of 6 snowmobiles headed for Rohn this morning as well.
March 5, 8:13 AM
Jay Petervary finished in third place last night at 11:10 PM with a time of 4 days 9 hours and 10 min. Congratulations Jay! Nicola and Nicola from Italy arrived in McGrath at 5:40 AM his morning, after 4 days 15 hours and 40 minutes. They are rookies this year, congratulations, strong effort!
Simon Honore from Denmark, a rookie as well is in 6th place with a time of 4 days 16 hours and 5 min.
I also talked to the Nikolai checkpoint this morning.Nick and Olene didn't get any sleep last night. They have been busy feeding hungry racers all night. Our two leading female riders have checked in and out of Nikolai.
There is a new women's bike record on the horizon. Tracey Petervary left at 2:00 AM. Her arrival at the finish line will most likely be under 5 days and she could knock 11 hours off the record.
I expect Tracey will arrive in McGrath before noon.
There are also more bikers on the home stretch this morning: Sean Grady, Kyle Amstadter, Eric Warkentin, Chris Plesko and Sebastiano Favaro.
March 4, 9:41 PM
I talked to Bill this evening who had snowmachined from Rohn over the pass and down to Fingerlake. Walter and the remaining Italian runners have made it into Puntilla tonight. All racers have made the halfway point . He also saw Aaron and Vanessa not too far from the top of the pass. They are doing great. Lorie and Rocky were already on the other side of the pass. Mario was looking stong as well. Alessandro was not too far from Rohn. They also saw Rick, Loreen and Jerym, they were making great progress.We expect Jay to arrive in McGrath tonight and more cyclist to make it into Nikolai. Temps tonight show -2 F tonight for Nikolai and McGrath, finally more normal temps for this time of the year on the Iditrod Trail.
March 4, 7:10 PM
Olene called from Nikolai. Two more bikers arrived!
March, 4, 6:49 PM
It has been a quiet day since the majority of our racers is in our communication black hole between Puntilla and Nikolai. Michael Odenwald decided to scratch in Fingerlake. Er hat am ersten Tag schon einen Fehltritt gemacht an einem steilen Hang und hat sich vermutlich ein Zerrung oder Prellung am Schienbein zugelegt. Ich habe mit ihm kurz telefoniert von Fingerlake. Es sagte, das untere Bein sei sehr geschwollen und in allen Farben. Es war schwierig den Fuss so in den Schuh zu kriegen.Wir hoffen, dass nichts gebrochen ist. Er fliegt morgen zurueck nach Anchorage.Wir hoffen, das Bein heilt bald und dass du im naechsten Jahr wieder dabei sein kannst.
According to Craig Medred's twitter Tim Hewitt twisted his ankle in the Dalzell and limped out of Rohn. Then he returned to Rohn and headed back up into the Dalzell Gorge. This is from the twitter.
March 4, 2:52 PM
Jay arrived in Nikolai at 2:45 PM nearly a day behind Pete and Jeff who arrived in McGrath last night. Olene Petruska our checker in Nikolai said that Jay was just grabing a bite to ear and then was headed back out on the trail.
March 4, 12:15 PM
Update from Puntilla. Several racers checked out in the AM this morning. Among them Aaron, Vanessa, Loreen, Rick, Rocky, Lorie, Mario and Jerym. We may get news on how they are doing pushing into the wind that picked up this morning in the treeless expanse on the approach to Rainy Pass. Our on the trail reporter Craig Medred is heading back the other way by snowmobile with Bill Merchant sending tweets via Sat Phone.
We have our 6th scratch, it's our skier Rajko Podgornik from Slovenia. The checker Steve told me that Rajko was just burned out from the tough going this year. We wish you all the best and hope to see you back another year. I know all the scratches tried their best and gave it all!
Bill Dent, our last cyclist ist resting in Puntilla and plans to leave early in the morning. The 4 Italian runners Roberto, Francesco, Claudio and Cesare are expected in Puntilla tonight.
Walter Hoesch wurde in der naehe von Fin Bear Lake gesehen zwischen Fingerlake und Puntilla bei dem Schneemobil Fahrer Dan McDonough. Michael Odenwald kam heute morgen am 3. Checkpoint in Fingerlake an.
March 4, 10:40 AM
We have an update from Rohn. Our checkpoint here, a 16x24 Wall Tent got swamped with racers all night. Our Rohn checker Rob Kehrer and Bill Merchant were feeding and taking care of racers all night long. Being a checker in this race is a tough job, since you don't any more sleep than the racers.
20 racers are on the trail again this morning out of Rohn, crossing the South Fork of he Kuskokwim just outside of Rohn which is glare ice most years and then crossing the Post River and on across the Farewell Lakes.
Then they will cross about 50 miles the bare ground getting beat up by the trail ever more before they get back on a snowpacked trail around Sullivan Creek bridge 25 miles from Nikolai.
Our two female cyclists Lou Kobin and Tracey Petervary have left Rohn as of this morning. I am not sure if Tracey has passed Lou or it they left about the same time. The updates from Rohn are not detailed, only who has arrived and who has left. Can one of them set a new female bike record in the 350?
Tracey Petervary is attemting to ride her bike to Nome this year with Jay, who will be waiting in McGrath for her.
Our first runners are among the pack of cyclists that have left this morning, Eric Johnson, Tom Jarding, Tim Hewitt and Glenn Mackie. Tim is on his fith trek to Nome on foot. He is the only human being that we know of who has walked the 1100 mile long Iditarod Trail 4 times.
Phil Hofstetter was still resting in Rohn and has not departed yet.
Bill Merchant and Craig Medred are heading back to Puntilla today by snowmobile and on down the trail to Fingerlake and back to Wasilla tomorrow. I may get updates from them about the racers on that section of trail by twitter. Michael Schoder flew his airplane over from Shell Lake and is helping Rob out in Rohn with the checkpoint. Thanks Michael!
March 4, 8:03 AM
We have a winner this morning. Pete Basinger claims his fourth vitory in 3 days 9 hours and 45 minutes. Jeff Oatley finishes in second place only 33 minutes behind Pete.He made up hour hour on Pete in the last 50 miles.
Well done Pete and Jeff leaving the rest of the field in the dust.
March 3, 9:33 PM
Update from Puntilla tonight.
March 3, 8:30 PM
I received another message from Bill Merchant by Sat Phone from Rohn this evening. Jay Petervary made it into Rohn in third place. He has Nome on his mind and is doing really well. Craig Medred our on the trail reporter has made it into Rohn himself this evening. He reported 4 bikers are close to Rohn:
I hope to receive another update from Puntilla tonight where the majority of a large group of our racers is heading tonight.
Our leading foot division of Eric Johnson and Tom Jarding, both race veterans and rookie Glenn Mackie left Puntilla at noon today.
March 3, 6:00 PM
Pete on his way to McGrath. He may finish around 3:00 AM tomorrow morning and claim his forth vitory in this race. Jeff just arrived in Nikolai, only 2 hours behind Pete.
What a great shakedown, Alaskans battling it out.
Hope to hear from the finish line in McGrath tomorrow morning.
March 3, 4:14 PM
Pete arrives in Nikolai at 4:00 PM, 3 days and 2 hours after the start.
I talked to him briefly over the phone. Once he got to Sullivan bridge he was back riding on snow. He said you can ride the bare ground with all the tussocks, but it takes a lot of energy and it's slow, so might as well walk it. He said he also took a nap somewhere on the trail.
This is an aerial pictures sent to me by Kevin Keeler who flew over the trail in a commercial plane from McGrath to Anchorage today. This is what racers will be traveling through once they get beyond Rohn.
March 3, 11:37, 11:37 AM
Italians Claudio and Cesare back on the right trail, they arrived at Shell Lake last night at 11:00 PM. Michael Odenwald auf dem Weg nach Shell seit heute morgen um 9:00 Uhr. Check out Craig Medred's twitter, he is up in the happy valley, headed back to Puntilla for oil for the snowmobile. Bikers are pushing their bikes towards the pass. Jay Petervary near the top of pass. Sugary snow on the other side down Pass Creek.
March 3, 10:50 AM
Jeff Oatley second place in and out of Rohn, only 4 hours behind Pete Basinger.
March 3, 9:23 AM
I have new updates from Fingerlake and from Puntilla this morning. Both places have been busy with racers arriving and leaving. 34 racers have made it in and out of the Fingerlake CP. 6 more racers are on route to Fingerlake. We have 2 scratches in Fingerlake this morning, Anne Ver Hoef and Chuck Struble. Both scratched due to foot problems. We wish you a quick recovery and to see you back again.
Loreen Hewitt the only female runner remaining in the race left Fingerlake this morning at 4:48 AM.
Updates from Puntilla, checkpoint 4 and half way point on the route:
Defending champ Jeff Oatly should be in Rohn by now and Pete could get to Nikolai by noon today.
Two more cyclists have arrived in Puntilla and also the first 3 runners are in Puntilla early this morning.
March 3, 8:00 AM
According to Crag Medred's twitter the trail is gone in places going up the Happy River Valley.
Sounds like he even lost the trail and is currently waiting for more daylight to see. Michael Schoder reports 14-16 new inches beween Fingerlake and Puntilla. And this is what awaits he racers on the other side. This is what Pete has been struggeling through all night. Bare ground, tussocks. This image was taken last week during the Iron Dog race on the Farewell Burn. From blown in trails to bare ground within less than 100 miles. While third biker Jay Petervary is struggeling through blown in trails and new snow, Pete on the other side of the Alaska Range is struggeling through that:
And seond place Jeff Oatley? He should have arrived in Rohn by now.
March 2, 9:48 PM
More runners, one more biker and our lone skier have arrived in Fingerlake this evening.
Claudio Piazza and Cesare Ornati have not been seen, Rich thought they may have taken the wrong trail to Hewitt Lake. Hopefully when they realize their mistake and there are many cabins sprinkled around Hewitt Lake, they will get back on the right track.
March 2, 9:00 PM
12 more bikers have made it to the half way point, Puntilla this evening.
Some of the racers plan on resting for a few hours in Puntilla and then depart for Rohn at midnight and some of them in the early morning hours.
March 2, 8:31 PM
Pete made it into Rohn! Now he as 80 miles to go to the next checkpoint in Nikolai. Temps +40 F in Rohn. Unbelievable. Often it has been -40 F here on the trail not so this year, very warm, much too warm! Pete should be in Nikolai tomorrow afternoon.
Crazy weather out there today everywhere, snowing heavily in Fingerlake earlier today this afternoon, Michael Schoder went up the trail from Shell Lake to Puntilla and back, he said he has never seen the trail this bad. Rough, rough, rought is what Bill had said about it.
The open areas were blown in, it was gusting 40 -45 mph and the bikers were pushing, some had stopped at Fin Bear Lake and Mike & Ingrid's. They own a cabin near Fin Bear lake and have welcome racers there and offered their hospitality there for years now. Craig Medred reported driving rain earlier today in the Happy Gorge. None the less I had sunny and blue skies and no wind here in Chickaloon. This is Alaska. Crazy weather is normal here.
March 2, 5:48 PM
Peter Basinger from Anchorage, Alaska the current leader has a pretty impressive resume in this race and in other races as well. I believe this is his 10th time competing on the Iditarod Trail trail and he is only 29 years old. He holds the record in the 350 mile race to Mcrath: 3 days 5 hours 40 minutes he set on the 30 mile longer route in 2007 through Hell's gate. Peter likes bad weather and trail conditions, that's when he does best. He has won this race in 2004, 2006 (tied 1st with Rocky Reifenstuhl) and 2007.
I spoke with Lori Hutchison at the Fingerlake CP, a very accomplished ultra runner from Utah. She is biking this race. She said it's been tough out there, not what she expected, but she seems in good spirits and positive. She is traveling with the Rocky Reifenstuhl a seasoned race veteran from Fairbanks, Alaska. He has done the Alaskan winter ultra races on a bike for over 20 years and has finished in the top 5 four times including tying for first place with Pete Basinger in 2006.
Doing really well also are rookies Bill Fleming, Chris Plesko, Kyle Amstadter, Simon Honore on bike from Denmark, and our Italians Nicola Saccavini, Nicola Ghiraldo and Sebastian Favaro, also biking.
Tracey Petervary is traveling without Jay and she is also on route to Puntilla.
The amazing "La Ruta Lou" Kobin was the first woman to leave the Fingerlake Checkpoint at 3:02 AM this morning. She is probably in Puntilla by now.
I will check with the Puntilla checkpoint here shortly to see who has arrived since this morning there.
We hope to hear from Rohn early this evening when Pete Basinger arrives. He could be there any time now.
March 2, 1:45 PM
Winds picking up in Puntilla and on Rainy Pass. Gusting 25 mph at Rainy Pass Lodge. Pete Basinger is leading the race. He left Puntilla at 6:08 AM this morning. Bill Merchant expects him to arrive in Rohn, 45 miles further and on the other side of the Alaska Range in about 14 hours. Defending champ Jeff Oatley from Fairbanks is on Pete's heels, leaving the checkpoint 5 hours behind Pete. Jay Petervary is in third place and still in Puntilla. Check out Craig Medred's tweets, he is in the action on the trail by snowmobile right now between Fingerlake and Puntilla.
Also article by Craig Medred on AK Dispatch today from the Fingerlake Checkpoint
March 2, 1:13 PM
I spoke with Roger Leavesley over the phone this morning.
He is back in Anchorage. He injured himself when his rear pannier came off his bike 18 miles after the start and went into the rear wheel and he crashed.The broken off part of the pannier punctured his groin when the bike came down on top of him. He continued on despite of it, but decided to stop at Luce's because it was causing a lot of pain. I know it is a disappointment Roger, but we hope to see you back next year together with your son James!
Winds are picking up on the trail as predicted by NOAA weather forecast.
I spoke via radio phone with Denise Perrins at Rainy Pass Lodge in Puntilla and it was blowing 25 mph at the lodge. The wind is often stronger once you head towards the pass. The scheduled plane to bring supplies to the lodge may not come in today. Maybe Pete Basinger made it over the pass before the winds picked up! It was 30 F at the lodge in Puntilla and 4 F in Nikolai this morning.
I also spoke with Nick Petruska at our Nikolai checkpoint and he said there was only a half inch of fresh snow from Sullivan Creek to Nikolai. According to reports the trail accross the Farewell burn is pretty much bare gound this year.
Hope to hear from Bill Merchant this afternoon via Sat Phone from our Rohn checkpoint.
14 bikers are on route from Fingerlake CP 3 mile 130 to Rainy Pass Lodge/Puntilla Lake CP 4 mile 170 since this morning. I know one more biker has arrived there this morning, I am guessing it is defending champ Jeff Oatley chasing record holder Pete and followed by Jay Petervary of Wyoming who is in third place currently.
March 2, 8:46 AM
My first update today was from Michael Schoder out at Shell Lake.
These racers have made it through Shell Lake this morning: Eric Johnson, Tom Jarding, Glenn Mackie, Aaron Fanetti, Vanessa McKenzie, Alessandro Da Lio, Bob Ostrom, Rocky Reifenstuhl, Lori Hutchison, Nicola Saccavini, Rajko Podgornik, Sebastiano Favaro, Simon Honore, Mario Sterli, Bill Dent, Tim & Loreen Hewitt and Anne Ver Hoef was just coming across Shell lake when I spoke with Michael.
It is 20 miles to the Fingerlake Checkpoint and we are going to hear from there from Mandy later today.
I also talked with Bonnie at Skwentna, we have our 2nd scratch, Dario Valsesia from Italy. He seems to have struggled with a cold. He is flying out to Anchorage this afternoon.
March 1, 8:21 PM
Pete, Jeff and Jay have left Fingerlake and are on their way to Puntilla tonight. It is always a tough section of trail with many steep ups and downs,including the infamous Happy River steps.But this year it sounds especially difficult because of the rough trail conditons out there. I have always enjoyed this section of trail. You start climbing into the Alaska Range. When I am racing I can't wait for this section of trail, because I am ready to leave the flat river and lake country of the Susitna Valley behind me. It is a very scenic section of trail in the daytime with distant mountain views and narrow wooded trails that keep you busy. The uphills are a workout pushing a loaded 50 pound bike up them, but the downhills can be a lot of fun cruising on twisty, narrow snow singletrack.
There is more monotony traveling the river and after the Shell Hills on the endless swamps across to Fingerlake. I have not been very descriptive of the trail partly because I have been very busy just typing and recording everyone's arrival times. Maybe now I wished I was out there among the racers on the trail. Tavelling through the Alaskan winter wilderness at night is a very special experience, it has a very calming effect on me and I can go inside myself and just live in the spotlight in front of me.
At night, time seems to fly and all of a sudden several hours have gone by and you have covered several miles in the dark of the night.I just saw on the calender that the racers started under the full moon yesterday. Despite overcast skies they may be riding under the moonlight out there tonight.
Bonnie from Skwentna just called me and there are a few more racers that have arrived there tonight, and there were 6 more within an hour of Skwentna.
Michael Odenwald ist nach 30 Stunden und 96 km nun am Yentna Station checkpoint angekommen um 19:55.
Die Temperaturen heute nachmittag waren recht warme 2 Grad, aber die Trails sind ganz gut, laut Michael Schoder, der der Zoe in der Shell Lodge Lodge mit den Teilnehmern aushilft. Er hat die Strecke zwischen Shell Lake und Fingerlake mehrfach praepariert seit dem letzten Schneefall mit seinem Trail Groomer. Laut Wetterbericht sind die Temperaturen auf der anderen Seite des Rainy Passes in der Alaska Range kaelter, um die -20 Grad. Dort herrscht das kaeltere Inland Klima. Zwischen Rohn und McGrath liegen die Temperaturen oft bei -40 Grad. Ich denke dieses Jahr werden wir solche extreme Temperaturen nicht sehen. Der Trail ueber den 1000 Meter hohen Rainy Pass laut Bill Merchant ist gut, der dieses Jahr wie immer wenn er nicht selber mit im Rennen faehrt, der Trail Braker ist. Wir sind immer die ersten die die 72 km lange Strecke ueber den Pass benutzen und daher den Trail anlegen muessen per Schneemobil, Saege, Machete usw.
Mehr Neuigkeiten morgen.
March 1, 6:24 PM
Jay Petervary and Dave Pramann enjoying dinner at winter lake lodge on finger lake according to Craig Medred's Tweet.
Pete and Jeff arrive together in Fingerlake, CP3 mile 130 at 3:54 PM. Wow, interesting. Jay Petervary is hot on their heels.
I received a call from Michael Schoder from Shell Lake, several bikers have left there and are on route to Fingerlake:
Jay Petervary, David Pramann, Nicola Saccavini, Eric Warkentin, Lou Kobin, Bill Fleming, Chris Plesko, Sean Grady Kyle Amstadter, Brij Potnis and Tim Stern should arrive in Fingerlake this afternoon and tonight.
28 racers have arrived at Checkpoint 2, Skwentna Roadhouse. It looks like the trail is slow out there on the river. There are icy sections out there with fresh snow on top of it , which makes for challenging trail conditions without studded shoes or tires.
We have our first scratch, it is Roger Leavesley from the UK. He rented a cabin at Luce's for two nights and plans to fly out to Anchorage on Wednesday with Regal Air. I am not sure why Roger scratched, I haven't talked to him. They are taking really good care of him at Luce's Lodge.
Von Michael Odenwald haben wir bisher noch nichts gehoert, er ist wohl auf dem Yentna Fluss zwischen Luce's und Yentna Station. Wir hoffen, dass er heute Abend in Yentna Station ankommt.
March 1, 3:28 PM
No bikers have arrived in Fingerlake as of 3:30 PM this afternoon.
23 bikers have made it to Skwentna at this time including Lori Hutchison, Rocky Reifenstuhl,Bob, Ostrom, Dario Valsesia.
There are still 3 racers that haven't made it to Yentna yet.
Unsere zwei deutschen Laefer sind bisher noch nicht am 1. Checkpoint angekommen. Das Wetter ist etwas warm, um den Gefrierpunkt und letzte Nacht fiel Neuschnee auf dem Yentna Fluss.Das macht das Vorankommen mit einem Pulka etwas langsamer. Walter Hoesch ist mittlerweile in Yentna angekommen heute nachmittag gegen 16:00 Uhr nachmittags.Er will rasten bis Mitternacht und dann weitergehen mit dem Italiener Francesco Ghigliotti in den Morgenstunden.
Hoffentlich hoeren wir spaeter noch von Rich Crain, unserem Checker in Yentna Station
March 1,1:55 PM
Jay Petervary arrives at Shell Lake in third place about 2 hours behind Pete and Jeff. We should hear from Fingerlake soon about Pete's arrival there.
17 bikers into Skwentna Roadhouse. 13 bikers have left Skwentna Roadhouse.
March 1,11:46 AM
Runners Anne Ver Hoef, Glenn Mackie, Jerym Brunton, Mario Sterli have passed through Yentna Station as well and are on their way to Skentna. Rich Crain said it was 31 degrees F and the snow had just slid off the roof there at the lodge. Forecast is for temperatures in the mid 30's (around freezing or just above freezing) and potentially more snow. The best time to travel for bikers will be nighttime when temps are in the 20's ( 20 F is about -7 Celsius for the Europeans following this event)
March 1, 10:06 AM
Louise Kobin is our first female biker into Skwentna at 7:01 AM.
We only have 6 women out of 44 racers on the trail.
Our first runners arriving at Yentna Station at 6:30 AM were Eric Johnson from Utah and Tom Jarding, both multi year race veterans.
The only skier in the race Raiko Podgornik from Slovenia left Yentna Station this morning at 8:15 AM. This is his 6th time in the race, he hopes to make it to Nome this year.
We have 4 couples in the race this year.
I am so exited to see that. Bill and I started this racing couples thing and now there are several couples in the race:
Jay and Tracey are racing to McGrath independent and then they plan to go the full length to Nome together this year.
March 1, 9:10 AM
Pete Basinger, the 350 mile course record holder, is the first biker that arrived at Shell Lake ( mile 110) this morning at 8:00 AM! He was planning on sleeping an hour or two.
I just talked to Michael Schoder, our checker and trail groomer out at Shell Lake.
He said there are 6 inches of fresh snow between Shell Lake and Fingerlake.
Pete Basinger was the first biker to leave Skwentna Roadhouse ( mile 90) at 3:45 AM this morning. He arrived at Shell Lake Lodge at 8:00 AM this morning. The next biker out of Skwentna Roadhouse left there at 5:30 AM. I don't know who it is yet.
Michael is grooming the trail to Fingerlake (mile 130) and he said Pete was able to ride the trail.
Many racers have arrived and left Yentna Station this morning. I will have updates from Skwentna here shortly.
Bill Merchant, our trail braker called me last night at 10:00 PM. Him and Rob Kehrer had made it into Rohn. He said there was a lot of brush and the snow down Pass Creek on the other side of Rainy Pass was sugary.
Mike and Ingrid who host racers in the trail at Fin Bear Lake between Fingerlake and Puntilla decided to go out on the trail. A few days ago they had told us that they would not be out there this year. Micheal said they seem to have trouble to get their Tundra snowmachines past Red Lake just past Fingerlake. There is also Dan McDonough another trail braker for us this year and Bruno, a Yukon Quest musher on the trail. With the work of the 4 of them and shoveling in those giant holes on the trail, we hope they can safely make it through that brutal section and make their way up the trail.
Feb. 28, 11:22 PM
Within the last hour 7 more bikers have arrived at Yentna Station. Jay Petervay, Peter Basinger, David Pramann.They have already left Yentna Station and are on route to Skwentna Roadhouse chasing Jeff Oatley. Nicola Saccavini, Sean Grady, Bill Fleming and Brij Potnis have arrived as well. Rich Crain is manning the checkpoint in Yentna Station and helping out Dan & Jean Gabryszak, the lodge owners. Rich Crain has been out there on the trail for over 20 years now to help out with these human powered races on the Iditarod Trail.
My next update will be tomorrow morning.
Feb. 28, 10:00 PM
First biker has arrived at Yentna Station. It's Jeff Oatley! He said he hadn't seen any lights behind him for a while. It's snowing out there, so that's slowing everyone down a bit.
February 28, 2010 5:37 PM
44 racers from 8 different countries left the starting line at Knik Lake this afternoon at 2:00 PM after having a great burger and fries at the Knik Bar.
28 bikers, 15 runners and 1 lone skier. There were 38 men and 6 are women.The temperature was at 25 degrees Farenheit and skys were overcast. It was great to see everyone off and now we wait to hear the first checkpoint updates from Yentna Station, checkpoint one, 60 miles up the trail. In past years the first bikers have arrived there around 7:00 PM. We will see how fast they can get there this year since there is quite a bit of fresh snow that fell two days ago between Knik Lake and Flathorn Lake.That should make the trail quite a bit slower on the first 30 miles.
By the time they reach the Susitna and Yentna Rivers they should have a really good trail. Bill Merchant had told me it was like a sidewalk especially after Yentna Station. There is also some snow in the forecast for tonight, so I am guessing the bikers especially are trying to make some good time before there is new snow on the trail.
I will have another update tonight when I get news from Yentna Station.
February 27, 2010 4:00 PM
We just had our annual pre race meeting at the Golden Lion Hotel in Anchorage. The trail reports from trail brakers Bill Merchant and Rob Kehrer are a mixed. About 14" of fresh snow between the starting line at Knik Lake and Flathorn Lake ( mile 30) fell yesterday. Good trail conditions on the Yentna River. Trails are like a side walk between Yentna Station ( mile 60) and Skwentna Roadhouse ( mile 90). Shell Lake to Puntilla ( mile 170) is rougher than Bill has ever seen it in his 13 years on the trail.The trail between Shell Lake and Fingerlake has seen some grooming by Michael Schoder.Rough trails means there are bumps and big holes in the trail. The good news is there is no reports of overflow that had formed on the Yentna River earlier this week during very warm temperatures (above freezing for several days) when Bill flew over the trail taking in the drop bags and food and supplies to Fingerlake, Puntilla and Rohn.
Bill called me from his Sat Phone this afternoon. He and and Rob arrived at Rainy Pass Lake this afternoon. This are his words " Trails are rougher than ever from Fingerlake to Finbear lake, the trail from Puntilla to Rainy Pass lake was a dream, no more bumps".
They will go to the top of the pass and over the top without their loaded trailers, return to camp at Rainy Pass lake this afternoon and then ride down the Dalzell Gorge tomorrow.
This is what we know so far about the of trail.There is not much snow on the trail over the pass or in the Dalzell Gorge. They may have to haul snow from other places to build multiple ice briges over the Dalzell Creek. Then there is reports of no snow and bare ground and tussocs on the Farewell burn.
I will see the racers off at Knik Lake at 2:00 PM and then post our first evening update including checkpoint times from Yentna Station on our leaderboard.
Kathi Merchant/race coordinator
February 26, 2010 11:30 PM
Today was our pre race party at Speedway Cycles where I met old friends and new racers. Thanks Greg for arranging the party again this year and all the good food and athmosphere.
I am in Anchorage tonight and I will have more time to talk to some of the racers before they haed out on the trail. At 2:00 Pm we will have our pre race meeting at the Golden Lion Best Western Hotel. Then on Sunday the racers are off on the trail at 2:00 PM at Knik Lake.
Bill Merchant and Rob Kehrer left today on two snowmobiles and went up the trail as far as Puntilla (mile 170) tonight.
Tomorrow they hope to break the trail over Rainy Pass and down the Dalzell Gorge which will be this year's first tracks on that section of trail.
February, 23, 2010 8:25 PM
NOAA weather forecast sounds pretty good for now.
SUSITNA VALLEY- INCLUDING...TALKEETNA...WILLOW...CANTWELL 400 PM AKST TUE FEB 23 2010
.TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS ZERO TO 15 ABOVE. NORTH WIND 10 TO 15 MPH. .
As in past years I will be writing updates here on Latest News as well as keeping the Leaderboard current.
You can find current temperatures and weather along the trail here current conditions along Iditarod Trail.
I hope you will all follow along again this year as I write my daily updates about the
February 21, 2010
We managed to fly the drops and food to Finger Lake, Puntilla and Rohn today. It rained on us but it was too warm for icing which would have kept us on the ground. We watched the Iron Dog riders running up the Yentna River in overflow all the way. We managed to land at Finger Lake but sank half way to our knees in the packed runway when we stepped out. Carl Dixon our host at Winter Lake Lodge said the sports class of iron dog all got stuck in heavy overflow on Red Lake (just the other side of Finger Lake) friday.
If it turns cold all of it will turn to ice and be really fast. There is not much snow in the Pass and a lot of open water on Pass Creek, Pass Fork and Dalzel. The Iron dog checker at Rohn said when they tried to go up the Dalzel they ran out of ice and there was no snow to build bridges. It was 43 F(5 C) in Rohn. There are 6 of us working on the Pass and Gorge this year but there could still be some wading involved to get to Rohn. The Tatina was ice all the way to Rohn. If any of you have connections we could use a little cold and snow. Good news is there is a trail through the new burn and we are on the Trail soon!
And then as my friend Rok Kovac kept saying as he and I and Kathi walked our bikes from Ophir to Ruby,
" It is what it is!"
February 19, 2010
We just got back from a 5 day winter bike school based out of Flathorn Lake. Trails were a little soft during the day and with the warm temperatures all the normal places were starting to overflow on the lakes and rivers. With temperatures up to 40 degrees and rain in the Susitna valley things are getting a bit soggy. Word from Shell Lake they got 17 inches of fresh wet snow. Olene Petruska said her grandson had been moose hunting from Nikolai to Farewell Lake and that there was not enough snow to see a moose track. There is a fresh burn between Rohn and Egypt Mountain that has left deadfall all over the trail. The Iron Dog has punched a trail around it and back up the Post river . Not sure yet if it will work for us so don't forget to pack your saws.
There is a production crew making a reality show for television about the Perrins boys at Rainy Pass Lodge. They will be there when we go through and ask about filming all of you. I told them they could not bother any of you but if you wanted to be a star I had no problem with it. If you don't want to be bothered do not hesitate to say no thank you. You will have to sign a release to be on TV.
We will be in Anchorage tomorrow at noon at Alaskan European B&B at 3107 Cottonwood Street picking up drop bags.
More after I fly the drop bags on Sunday.
February 1, 2010
In just 4 weeks many of us will be at the starting line for the 9th annual Iditarod Trail Invitational. The trails are hard and fast here around Chickaloon and so it seems everywhere else too.
Michael Schoder sent word that Iron Dog racers have made it to McGrath and said there is very little snow on the Burn.
Craig Medred the Outdoors Editor for the Anchorage Daily News for many years is now writing for the Alaska Dispatch. If everything comes together he will be on the Trail covering our race and Iditarod. He will be using a sat phone and data link to Tweet and Peep and whatever else modern journalists and networking buffs do. Craig has written dozens of articles about the race and even helped break trail one year. He should be able to do better than most covering the race from the trail. Craig asked me to pass this on to all of you: "but as a test-run, i'm trying to get AlaskaDispatch.com to go for full on coverage of the invitational. along those lines, it would help if you all sent the racers an emailing saying we're hoping to cover and Twitter the race from on the course, and if any of them have any contacts at publications or websites -- especially in Europe or Outside -- that would be interested in coverage, send them to email@example.com".
For the third year Greg Matyas and the gang at Speedway Cycles are hosting a pre race party for all racers. It will be held at Speedway Cycles (Home of the Fatback snow bike) on Friday, February 26th at 6:00 PM.
Drops are due at Alaska European B&B by noon on Saturday, February 20th.
The Pre Race meeting will be at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 27th at the Golden Lion Best Western.
We will begin loading bikes at 10:30 AM and the bus loads for Knik Lake at 11:00 AM at the Golden Lion. Just a reminder GPS trackers such as spot,etc are not allowed in the race. Racers may use Sat phones and or emergency locator beacons as well as gps devices designed for navigation not tracking.
Bill and Kathi
January 2, 2010
Hello to All,
I just received word from John Runkle that Bison camp will not be available this year. He has moved to Anchorage where his son has better educational opportunities and can't be there to open the camp. He plans to disassemble the camp and close it. Many of us remember when the camp was in full swing with the Runkles, guides, hunters and the smell of buffalo or moose stew. After a hot meal we were sent off to sleep on spruce bough beds in a heated tent. I am sure I can speak for all of us when I say Thank You John, Marty, PJ and all the others who showed us warm hospitality and gave us shelter through the years at what seemed very much like the Fairwell Burn Hilton. The Runkles have been good friends not just to our race but to all travelers on the Iditarod Trail and Bison Camp will be missed.
The other option for shelter on that stretch of trail is Bear Creek Cabin. This is a BLM public use cabin and it is 10 miles beyond Bison Camp and about 1 mile off the right side of the trail. As of last year it is a well marked turn off to the cabin. For those of you new to the race this stretch from Rohn to Nikolai across the Farewell Burn can be a very long 82 miles. Notoriously cold (often -40) and with more often than not a quartering headwind for the last 40 miles being fully prepared has always been important but even more so now that we do not have Bison Camp for a bail out. Seems we had more halucinations on this section of trail before we had Bison Camp like snarling wolves standing beside the trail seen by several racers.
Happy New Year to all of You and Yours!
Bill and Kathi
December 7, 2009
Hello to All,
Happy holidays and good training to all of You.
October 1, 2009
Fall in Alaska
There are still some spaces left in both of our 5 day winterbike training camp December 27-31, 2009 and February 13-17, 2010. New racers interested please contact us by e-mail at:
Wishing all of You a great Fall and Winter
Bill & Kathi
June 13, 2009
The starting list for the 2010 race is FULL!
New! Bill uploaded a youtube video about this year's race capturing his time with the racers on Rainy Pass.
t he wouldn't come back. Congratulations to you both for the determination and drive you demonstrated by hanging tough and finishing in less than ideal conditions. Final race results 350 mile race.
Thanks to each and every racer who started in Knik for joining us for this year's race. I hope to see all of you back 2010 for another experience on the Trail. In a year when Mother Nature and the Iditarod Trail tested us all we had 28 finishers to McGrath. That is the second most finishers we have had. Also I have never heard so many racers fresh off the trail say they would see us next year.
Let's not forget our four racers headed to Nome. We will be by the phone waiting to hear from each of them as they arrive in the villages along the way and keep all of you informed about their progress.
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