The twins will be working to keep very excited dog teams from overexerting themselves on this first stretch. They didn't have plans to take any prolonged stops until reaching Skwentna, but if it keeps snowing and the dogs look like they need a break? They'll get a break. And probably a snack. Then back to what they love doing most.
For those that are blog veterans, you'll know that I don't pay a great deal of attention to rank or speed at this point in the race. It's more about consistently moving along with the front of the pack. Watching to see if there are any early dog returns through the first few checkpoints. I won't be concerned if the twins keep some distance between them for a while - maybe even for the first 300+ miles of the race. That's easily dealt with during their 24-hour mandatory rest. I'll be watching the weather. Mother Nature is a huge variable in this race. The amount of snow this year has virtually guaranteed we won't see a new fastest finish time. Will record snow benefit Seeing Double as I suspect it will? Only time will tell.
It was fun to watch the live feed of the restart, and while it would have been amazing to be there, at least I don't have a painful trip back to my home base in front of me. Dallas Seavey, former Iditarod champion and helping as commentator this year, had some nice things to say about both Kristy and Anna as they each set up in the starting gate. The gist of his sentiment was they're well known to be excellent with their dog training and care, and either has 'top 10 potential'.
I know the twins always prioritize their goals when planning for Iditarod, with the first and foremost being to make it to Nome with as many happy and healthy dogs as possible. Having had a taste of the top 20 last year with 16th and 17th place finishes, I know they're both hungry to retain a seat at that table, if not move up a bit in the ranks.
We've got a lot of race ahead of us, folks! In the days ahead, I plan to post a race update on Anna and Kristy's location at least once each day. I'll be combing cyber space and sure to pass along all the juicy tidbits I can find. I'll also work in some Special Editions to help you learn more about mushing and Seeing Double. And the Dog Team Bios are posted in case you missed them (scroll earlier in the blog)!
Here are some images (of greater and lesser quality, ha) of the latest from Alaska. Be sure to check out other stuff I may sneak onto their Instagram feed, @SeeingDoubleSledDogRacing.