Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Laughing Eyes Kennel team progress

So I'm addicted to looking at the checkpoint times for Iditarod. The problem is the information is not always accurate or fast enough. At one point Hugh had left Nicolai after 1.5hrs rest and then next time I looked he had left after 4 hours of rest. Mistaken identity? That and lots of teams don't sign out so it looks like they've stalled somewhere for a long time and then all of a sudden just appear at the next checkpoint. It's very difficult to figure out who's in the lead and what position the other teams are in until they've all done their 24 hr layovers. It's not until this point that the start differential is taken into account. I just talked to Hugh at McGrath. He's taking his 24 there. The plan this year is for Hugh to take it slow from the start - take more rests, and not make any long runs or start cutting rest until close to the coast. He wants to finish with as many dogs as possible and have a good looking team come in. So far he's been doing this. He still has all 16 dogs! and they're all looking good. Despite making shorter runs and taking more rest than normal the team is doing really well. From the times into McGrath - Hugh was 10th in. Taking into account start times he's about 2 hours behind the front runner - Doug Swingley. Seems like most teams are taking their 24's in either Takotna or Ophir (20 miles and 50 miles from McGrath). Hugh said he didn't want to push the dogs and he thought it would be quieter in McGrath. He said a lot of mushers have been giving him funny looks about his strong team and his good position. They've also been very supportive about his Quest problems this year. Seems like Hugh's not the only musher with a bad taste in their mouth about that race. Anyway, so Hugh and the team are doing great and able to leave McGrath around 5am in the morning.


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