Trent and the team are in to Nikolai

Trent pulled in to the village of Nikolai at 1103PM AKT with all 16 dogs.   Checking in to Nikolai, Trent and the team are in 56th place out of 82 teams still racing.  The team has covered over 250 miles in just over 2 days.   They've crossed a major mountain pass and on in to the interior of Alaska in fine shape.  In another 250 miles they will be on the Yukon River turning west for Nome.  

Nikolai is a remote village of about 100 people, famous among mushers for local hospitality.  Locals boil water for the mushers; the village gym provides a welcome warm, place to catch some rest; and there is always a hot meal to be had.   Trent may have dried out somewhat from Happy Creek since this time last night, but I bet he can't wait to hang up a few things in the gym, grab a bowl of chili, and sleep inside tonight.   

Trent is on his "4 to 10" travel schedule.  I suspect he'll get up early, "out the door" at 4AM and be to McGrath by about 10AM.  McGrath is 300 miles in to the race.  Trent had planned on McGrath being his 24 hour rest before the race.  My guess is he is right on schedule for it and will take his 24 there.   

"Low and slow for the first 300 miles" and "Travel 4 to 10" has been good to Trent thus far.   There is a lot of trail ahead, but I think he would have been happy to be "here, now, with what he has" if asked before the race.  

Trent is through Rohn...

Trent finished what had to have been a very tough 12 hours since checking through Rainy Pass last night at 830.   As mentioned in the last post, he looks to have run in to an open, deep crossing at Happy Creek at about 10PM and called it a night.   Many mushers continued through the night.   Trent waited until 415AM, went through the Dalzell Gorge and pulled in to Rohn ,23 miles later at 735AM.  He stayed for about a half hour and pulled back out of Rohn at 758.  

Trent and the team departed Rohn in 51st place.  There are still 83 teams in the race.  All 16 dogs on the team are still in the race.

Trent will probably run 2-3 hours to get past a good portion of the Farewell Burn heading out of Rohn and stop and camp until 4 PM for a big run in to Nikolai.  

Commentators on the Insider Live at Nikolai were reporting just as Nick Petit arrived a moment ago.   They said that everyone team got soaking wet on the way to Rohn; and that Nikolai, a small village of 150, would be everyone's first chance to dry out their gear and enjoy some warmth in the Community gym.  

Trent is going to be wet and in the elements until late this evening or early tomorrow I suspect.  

Must have been a cold, wet night

March 8

I was watching the tracker at about 9PM AKT last night and saw this Iditarod Trail Committee post (it was only 30 minutes old at the time)

Trent had checked through Rainy Pass about 830P and was 5 miles or so from the Happy Creek Crossing.   He hit the crossing with several other mushers about 10P, stopped for awhile, appeared to have crossed then stopped for the night at 1030P.  I would guess that he and the team had a very wet, difficult crossing of the 2 ft deep, open Happy Creek and called it a night to dry clothes and re-group.  He pulled the hook and was out again at 415 this morning, with the Dalzell Gorge ahead of him on way to Rohn.

This morning I used the "VCR" controls on the tracker and played back what happened at that crossing from 1000P to 100A.  A couple of dozen mushers came to the creek at mile 163, stopped, crossed, and continued.  Some stopped for a bit, some moved right through.

It will be interesting to hear at some point if a better way across was established or if everyone who crossed got wet and just kept going.

I would expect Trent to keep rolling through Rohn and try to get on the other side of the some of the bad trail on the Farewell Burn, that is the first 20-30 miles out of Rohn on way to Nikolai.  

Bet is was cold and wet last night.  

Heading to Rainy Pass, through Dalzell Gorge, and on to Rohn... yikes

In the last post, I said that tomorrow would be the Steps and Dalzell Gorge and on to Rohn.  I meant to say tonight would be the Dalzell Gorge and on to Rohn.  

It's almost 4 PM AKT, the team has been resting for 6 hours, and will be back at it any moment now... watch your GPS trackers.  A good portion of the pack have passed Trent where they camped and are on their way to Rainy Pass, where many people have arrived and many will get there shortly.  Over forty teams have reached Rainey Pass, sixteen of them are on their way to Rohn.  A bunch of the twenty four that are in Rainy right now arrived in last 2 hours and haven't rested for awhile.  I think they will stay a bit in Rainy.  

I believe Trent will be in Rainy by 730PM AKT, maybe a bit later.   The resting teams will still be resting when he goes through probably 40th in line to go through the Gorge with a new moon, so no lighting help there.   Some say what you can't see can't hurt you?   

Hugh Neff just made the run from Rainy to Rohn in about 4-1/2 hours.  I could see Trent getting through the Gorge and stopping an hour or so before Rohn if he's going to stay true to his "4 to 10" running plans.   I'd be surprised to see him not go for it tonight but who knows.  

First video below is Allie running the Gorge in 2012 on a reasonable snow year.   The second is the epic Jeff King video running the Gorge in 2014 when there was little to no snow.   I think this year is somewhere between.  Hold on to your hat when you watch these!


Hate to advertise, but check out this video

This year, the Iditarod Insider crew is travelling with a video camera and a satellite uplink setup and taking lots of footage on the trail and at checkpoints.  As someone who has traveled the trail by bush plane and been on the ground, it is awesome out there.  

I just watched one of these videos for the first time.  They post links on the Iditarod site, one place being on the Current Standings page below.  You click and wala... you are in the interior of Alaska for the $33.95 subscription that also gets you the GPS tracker.   I'm impressed.   The "streaming video scrapper" I have didn't seem to grab the audio content (you'll see my scrape below) but when you view it from the site you get nice clear audio as well.

This video is race leader Nic Pettit pulling in to Rainey Pass this morning.  Nic is a crazy Frenchman and great friend of Trent's.  Notice the side saddle style as he meets the checkpoint team and you'll hear him yucking it up.   When you meet this guy, you think he could be a trapper from 150 years ago.  I'm not flying around the race this year with a bush pilot, so this is the next best thing.  Tim

Trent checks through Finger Lake with 16 dogs and back on the trail!

About 15 minutes ago at 958 AM AKT, Trent and the team checked in and out of Finger Lake at race mile 123 (112 if you back out the 11 miles they include from Ceremonial Start).

He checked in and out with all 16 team members.  I would have to call this great news.   The Leaderboard at the moment shows Trent jumping up to 16th place.  Now this will not last,  but it is a good watermark that his plan is going very well.   The tracker now shows him a couple of miles out.  I suspect he loaded straw at Finger Lake and will stop to camp any minute now.  

Remember Trent camped just short of Skwentna last night.   Look at the standings carefully of the teams of Petit, Ally, Kelly Maxiner, Dallas, Jason Mackay, Ketil Reitan, Hugh Neff, Mitch Seavey, Ray Reddington, and Jeff King.  All of those teams also checked in and out of Skwentna so the Time Enroute is "apples to apples" in terms of what each team covered the 40 miles from Skentna to Finger Lake.

Trent and the youngsters did the leg in 4 hours 45 minutes which is similar to everyone except Nic Petit who is on a "hare strategy".   I wouldn't look for Trent to be fast, but running that leg in same conditions, in a similar time, to the above set of mushers, with all 16 dogs is indeed good news!

A bunch of folks will pass Trent as the team rests now.   Expect the team to nap until 4PM AKT and get up and go until near Rohn tonight.  Tonight will be the Dalzell Gorge and the steps and real "Grinch down the Mountain" part of the course that left such carnage back in 2014.  

Quick note for blog content...

The map from previous post will show up on lots of blog posts as we track progress.  This is an even race year so at Ophir the race will head north on the purple path to where it meets the Yukon River at Ruby and continues to Kaltag where even and odd year courses are the same again.  

Also, you can click on any image in a blog post and it will bring up a higher resolution image.  When you are done looking at it, and want to go back to the blog post, simply click on the high-res image and it should return you to the blog post.  

Post a comment with any requests or difficulties and we'll try to respond.  

Monday Morning, another day at the Office?

March 7, 730 AKT

Looks like it was a great start to the race for Trent.  To get your bearings straight, a) the Iditarod Race Map with checkpoints b) a table of checkpoint distances and c) another view of race course from GPS tracker are below:

The race started at 2PM AKT yesterday with the first musher leaving the starting line.  Trent has bib #58 by luck of the draw, and left a few minutes before 4PM AKT.   Trent's strategy was  go "low and slow" for the first 300 miles, running "4 to 10" (meaning 4AM to 10AM and 4PM to 10PM to avoid the heat).   He's settling in to pretty much the exact rhythm he described pre-race.   

Trent went until about 11:15PM last night at an average moving speed of just under 9 mph and camped at about mile 60 before the Skwentna check point.   After 5 hours of rest and dog care, he pulled the hook and headed down the trail again at 415AM AKT this morning.  Here at 7:40AM AKT, I see him on the GPS tracker at mile 93 since the Willow start.  He should take his next rest in 3 hours or so, probably on the other side of Finger Lake checkpoint.   He checked in and out of Skwentna with all 16 dogs, let's hope for same at Finger Lake.

Trent's run chart from the GPS tracker is shown below.  Look at the green (instantaneous speed) trace and you can see the periods of rest and run clearly.   

Here is a graphic fresh off the GPS tracker showing where Trent stands in the field.  Remember he started 2 hours later than the low bib numbers and he's employing a 'go slow' strategy.    

 At this point, he's right in to the 8-9 mph, "run 4 to 10" cadence he wanted for the first 300 miles.  If he can keep this up for the 300 miles to the McGrath checkpoint, where he hopes to do his 24 hour layover, with a full team barking and chowing down... he's going to be elated and the team is going to be as strong as a young team can be.   However, plans can be forced to change pretty much instantly,...we'll see.  Right now it's a great start.  

Footage of Trent from Race Start in Willow

March 6

Well, he's off to Nome!  Trent left the starting gate at about 3:56 AKT / 5:56 MT.    It was a sunny balmy 37 degrees.  Sunset is supposed to be about 6:39 AKT so they will run in the warmth for a short bit then temperatures will fall some.  Trent was talking about running 4 to 10 (4AM to 10AM; 4PM to 10PM) whenever possible to stay in colder part of the day.   That would have him stopping before Skwentna to take a 6 hour rest and then back at it in the morning.  We shall see.

Had a text from him this morning that he's looking to go slow and injury free for 300 miles, then feel like they are all in good shape.   Thanks to great work from Jake and Bear getting the team to Alaska and getting everything ready for race day, Trent said he was in bed last night by 11, which has never happened.  

Here is TV footage from the Start

Iditarod Insider GPS Tracker

I suspect many folks have an "Iditarod Insider" subscription and will be using the GPS tracker to follow the race.  

If you don't and you are interested in "diving deep", it's highly, highly recommended.  Go to the 'Insider' tab at the main menu of the website, and choose 'Be an Insider".  For $33.95 you get the online, interactive GPS tracker shown below and a lot of great videos and commentary on the race.

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and wondering how Trent is doing,... just roll out of bed, fire up your tracker, and you will know.