To get our bearings straight, a map of the 2015 Iditarod is below. Remember that the race start was moved from Anchorage to Fairbanks due to lack of snow in the Southern Alaska interior. The course from Fairbanks very closely matches the actual "Great Serum Run" of 1925 that inspired the race. Go back and "google" the story or even read the book "The Cruelest Miles" if you don't already know about the Diptheria epidemic in Nome that year and the heroic effort to transport the antitoxin to stem the epidemic. Twenty dog mushers and 150 sled dogs relayed the serum across 674 miles in five and a half days.
The first checkpoint in the race is the village of Nenana. This is where the 20 pound package of serum wrapped in quilts came off the railroad from Fairbanks and was handed to the first musher "Wild Bill" Shannon who ran the first leg of the journey. Picture below of the Nenana rail station and a look down the Nenana River west toward the Yukon, and on to Nome. Also a picture of the famous "tripod" which is the source of wager in Alaska as to when the ice on the Nenana River will finally break. The tripod fell last year on April 25, and the winners who picked the date and time (to the minute) split over $300,000. The wager on the tripod has been going on for over 90 years.
By the luck of the draw of starting order, Trent left Fairbanks 75th out of 79 mushers. He made the 60 mile trip from Fairbanks to Nenana in about 6 hours 5 minutes averaging 9.9 miles per hour arriving at about 630 PM. That time between the start and Nenana was about the middle of the pack. You might remember that Trent has a team of 13 yearlings (actually about 1.5 years now) and 3 veterans and the main goal for the year is to finish, with as many healthy and happy dogs making their first trip down the trail. Trent intends to rest a lot early in the race, and he rested nearly 8 hours in Nenana. Given his late start order and the rest schedule he intends, do not be disappointed or surprised to see him near the end of the pack for much of the first half of the race. If the team is running well and coming together, I bet we will see Trent picking off teams one by one in the second half of the race and finish in the middle of the pack.
A few pictures of Trent and the team showing up in Nenana. Check out Thomas growing an ice beard in support of his musher. Trent and the team were back on the trail at 0210 AM Tuesday on their way to Manley Hot Springs. It's a 90 mile journey along the Tanana River that Trent will likely break in to two 40-45 miles runs of 5-6 hours with a 7-8 hour rest between. The other musher in 1925 who relayed the serum from Nenana to Manley Hot Springs with "Wild Bill" Shannon was Dan Green.