Photo credit: Photo of Aliy, 2014, leaving White Mountain; we shared this from a media site but not sure if it's Jeff Schultz or a newspaper.
And, that is what this year's Iditarod seemed to be, a bit of madness. The weather and conditions were highly challenging , maybe life threatening. The top 3 wrestled for their positions, only to see Jeff King scratch just before Safety, a victim of howling, driving winds tossing his sled and dogs about like matchsticks. Aliy charged forward only to discover that Jeff didn't beat her to Safety. Snowmachiners gave her a report that their sleds (heavier) were being tossed and tipped, so she elected to stay in Safety for a bit.
Dallas Seavey , thinking he was running for 3rd, since he did not see Jeff or Aliy, hightailed it into Nome to actually win the race. Aliy was in hot pursuit and the time differential of 2 minutes and 22 seconds, meant Aliy actually gained 17 minutes on him in that final run.
No one knows better than the mushers how well they did out there, to make it to Nome! We, fans, are out here in awe and admiration, hearing story after story about the insanity that the weather brought.
Now just ten teams are out on the trail. There will enough stories from this race to write a book about just this race, 2014, Iditarod. It is a testament to the hard training and planning that the mushers have done for the past months, in conditioning their dogs and themselves, to take on what must be described as a beating.
Low to no snow, sheer ice, downhill through the Gorge bouncing off of rocks and stumps, etc, the challenges just never ended. Aliy Zirkle said that one could hope each day would get better, but every day got worse... it was the worst ever. Well, she ran a tremendous race, exercising good judgment and finishing in second.
I loved her answer when asked about the last three years in second... she said, "it's better than scratching!"
much to the delight of the crowd listening to her. Well, it certainly is, wow, Aliy! Second in Iditarod , any year, is fantastic. This year it's mind boggling. Go, Aliy and dogs!