Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
12–20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
March 8, 2003
Leaders travel to First and Second Versions of Checkpoint.

To keep the confusion down a bit, Iditarod has called some of the new trail checkpoint names things like Kaltag 1, Kaltag 2 and Eagle Island 1 and Eagle Island 2. Reading the stats gets more interesting by the minute. Some say the checkers out there need traffic signals as teams are coming and going both directions. The latest change yesterday that eliminated Shageluk from the route had some folks wondering if it threw a loop into already planned run-rest schedules. Rick Swenson was said to have bedded down his team on the river ice, intending to blow through Shageluk only to find that it was no longer a place he would need to go. The change could have cost Rick a few hours time. That would be enough to make some mushers really mad, wouldn't you think? G.B. Jones was finally spotted by trail sweeps and is bringing up the rear of the pack with Adam Scott Gibler and Lachlan Clarke. Good luck to all those in the back of the pack. Those guys have their own separate race going on and sometimes it is a race against themselves.



Most of the front runners have now taken both their 8-hour layover and their mandatory 24-hour layover. Ramy Brooks, Jeff King and Robert Sorlie are trading places regularly in the front. Jessica Hendricks is doing really well in the Top 20 and is an obvious choice for Rookie of the Year, a title held by Sorlie in 2002. Randy Chappel of Texas also seems to be having a great rookie year. Martin Buser, Ramey Smyth and Johnny Baker are also hanging in there in shooting distance of top honors.

We visited Millenium Headquarters tonight and met up with a few Georgia fans. Steve Major from Cleveland, GA and his family were in, about to fly to Nome. Linda Birchall from Avondale Estates, GA was in the lobby, sorry to be heading home tonight. Jerry and Barbara Lake from Virginia, IditaSupport Members, had just flown in and went with us to Moose's Tooth Pizza for a bite to eat. They were very happy to be heading to Nome on Monday for their first time at the Finish Line. The Iditarod "scoreboard" was abuzz with talk and constant updates as information came into the phone room. We visited the dropped dogs' area out behind the hotel and finally saw one of the Bootie Brigade dog coats on one of the well dressed fellas out back. Most of the dogs were bouncy, alert, and looking to be petted.

Stephen Drake, IditaSupport member, had a few trail stories from his experience as a checker. He told us that Todd Capistrant had been coming up the trail in the dark and noticed his leaders veer off to avoid something in the trail. When Todd got closer, he realized that the object being avoided was a tent, set up right in the middle of the trail!! The IditaSport individual, who had swiped reflective trail marker stakes to hold his tent in place, unzipped just enough to stick his head out and ask "What are you doing way out here with all those dogs?" Wonder what century this guy is in? Of course, trail talk says that everyone by this time was very tired. The snow conditions and the human FEETprint in the trail have made traveling very exhausting. The weather is clear and beautiful out there so far, and has not been a factor. Keep your fingers crossed.


Top Headlines from the Anchorage Daily News