Written by Marty Moffat
A little husky named Reef led Dallas Seavey’s team into White Mountain just after 10:00 this morning. His master couldn’t have been prouder of his young 3 year old lead dog who had broken trail and charged up steep terrain in single lead while covering the 46 miles from Elim. Bruce Lee stated that the nearest team was 30 miles behind at this point. He also shared that Dallas’ team “looked strong and ate very well and don’t look that tired.” Dallas himself stated that this is the most fun he has ever had on the Iditarod. He emphasized that his current string of faithfuls is a young team, giving him excitement about what that portrays for the coming years. Dallas constantly reiterates the importance of rest in order to maintain speed and asserts that if it came down to a footrace he knows he has more speed than the other teams. Though he looks to be very much in control of this race Dallas said, “I’m not getting all giddy just yet, and I’m not picking out the colors for the truck or anything.” When asked if he felt comfortable with his lead he simply deadpans “I’ll feel comfortable in Nome.” “Remember what happened to Jeff last year, he had it in the bag–anything can happen in a dog race.” In fact one of the competitors in the Iditarod is the Alaska weather itself.
There is a mandatory 8 hour layover here in White Mountain before the final 77 push into Nome.
The teams mushing to join Dallas in White Mountain will face the same slow and soft route due to fresh snow and moderate winds drifting in the trail. Interestingly, his father Mitch also just now checked into White Mountain; taking an hour longer than Dallas on that section. Can you say Manning’s, Earnhardt’s, Griffey’s AND Seavey’s? Mitch is a very fierce competitor himself, you have to be to win the Iditarod twice (2004 & 2013) but I can’t imagine the mixed emotions he is experiencing at this point in the race. If he had to finish second to anyone, I’m sure “losing” to Dallas would be the least painful! Aaron Burmeister has also checked into White Mountain and his speed is just a tad slower than Mitch’s time.
Reports from the checkpoints are that Jessie Royer and her team are looking very good and continue to pick up spots. Jason Campeau is still dominating the top rookie spot at this point. It is very impressive for a greenhorn to be running so close with the leaders. Race observes state that he moves very efficiently in the checkpoints caring for his dogs and using his time wisely.
In the checkpoints and on the trail, people are enjoying being a part of the Last Great Race. With the sun shining and the temperature 65 degrees high than two days ago in Huslia, it lightens ones mood.
All things being equal, Dallas (or the eventual winner) could arrive at the finish line early tomorrow morning. I think a father and son combination finishing first and second would be a great storyline.