And without further ado... Congratulations Anna and Kristy!!
Anna pulled into Nome in 28th place after 10 days, 11 hours, 6 minutes, and 33 seconds on the trail. She had all 12 dogs on the line. This is Anna's 4th Iditarod and her best finish to date both in terms of rank and time.
Kristy pulled into Nome in 29th place after 10 days, 11 hours, 10 minutes, and 50 seconds on the trail. She had 10 dogs on the line and one dog riding in the basket. This is Kristy's 6th Iditarod and her fastest by way of time and matches her prior best in rank (she also finished 29th in 2011).
Anna arrived at 9:06pm Alaska time, Kristy at 9:10pm.
Of course this mad blogger had to stay up and catch the live finish on the Iditarod Insider. Anna's team looked great coming down the chute, tails wagging, looking around at all the folks there to cheer them on. Her leaders in particular looked energetic, glancing back over their shoulders at one point as if to say, "we can keep going if ya want...". She immediately went through her team, petting each dog and dishing out praise, before heading back to her sled for the mandatory gear check with race officials. As soon as that was done, she grabbed her cooler and handed out snacks to each pup.
About this time Kristy arrived and pulled in alongside of her. Nicolas, her key leader, is a bit of a shy boy and I think he would have bypassed the whole nonsense and gone straight to the dog lot if he'd been given the chance. But onlookers coaxed him in. A couple of Kristy's dogs started rolling enthusiastically in the snow, a maneuver she calls a 'powdered sugar roll.' The twins hugged quickly and Kristy made a similar pass through her team to praise her dogs. Kristy did have one dog riding in the basket (Hound, I think...), which, they said, is why Anna came in a bit ahead of her sister.
They both removed dog booties and leggings, tossing the former to enthusiastic fans.
In their brief post-race interviews, they both sounded good. Rosy-cheeked but well spoken given what they have just been through. Both twins commented on the cold, saying they had to run, ski pole, or pedal a lot to help stay warm. They emphasized the importance of dog care during this year's race. If a musher wasn't diligent, little problems could become big ones in a hurry. Kristy said you have to take your gloves off, inspect your dogs and carefully rub ointment into their paws. Even if you have to start a fire and warm your hands between each dog, it must be done. They both joked about a mercury thermometer they were carrying that only went as low as -60F. It got at least that cold out there this year, likely even a little colder... the gauge bottomed out so they'll never know. As Anna laughed, "you really don't wanna even know after that point." Kristy commented that she hadn't really experienced this degree of prolonged cold before and was pleased with how her gear performed. Although she also said she'd take the cold over the wind... "anything not windy!" Kristy also seemed to get a little emotional when speaking about Nicolas. He's 7 years old now, going on 8, and has ran with Kristy in every Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. She's not sure how many more races she'll get with this amazing dog before it's time for him to retire and lord over the kennel.
With gear checks and interviews complete, Anna headed for the dog lot with Kristy not far behind her. Their dogs gave enthusiastic barks when they pulled the snow hooks and promptly trotted off to a well earned rest in the dog lot.
And for as much as I can breath a huge sigh of relief with the twins arriving safely in Nome, there are still mushers on the trail. As is my custom, I won't close out the blog until the red lantern pulls under the burled arch. Hopefully I can talk to the twins between now and then and get some stories from their travels.
Turning back to the trail, it sounds like things got pretty hairy for a few teams out there. Winds along Norton Sound are reported as particularly ferocious and it is still bitterly cold. Unfortunately, our friend Scott Janssen has scratched from the race. It sounds like the cold did enough of a number on his hands that he was concerned he wouldn't be able to properly care for his dogs if he continued. We wish him the best and know he made the right call for his dogs. Our friend Charley, though, is still at it, currently wrapping up his 8hr in White Mountain. I know both of the twins, but particularly Anna, will be excited to welcome him to Nome.
Here are a few shots Sebastian Schnuelle, correspondent for the Iditarod Insider, captured of the twins under the burled arch. Great to see them smiling!!
With Scott's withdrawal from the race, we leave a field of 66 teams, with 37 of them still en route. The last 3 teams are all in Shaktoolik, leaving them about 220 miles from Nome.