Friday, March 15, 2013

Iditarod thoughts

Now that almost everyone has crossed the finish line, let's see how we did.

Dallas Seavey - Last year's champion.  I like the business sense I see in his social media postings.  I tend to like the record breakers.  He became the youngest ever to win.  He's won the Yukon Quest.  OTOH, defending is harder than winning.  He's not raced this year so his team is a little unknown.  Also, the contest is being run by his family.  How many will chose him to kiss up to them?  At $6,000, I skipped him when picking my 7 for $27,000.  Currently 15th.  His brother is thinking he'll place well but not win.  His brother was right.  He finished 4th.  This would be soon after he was 9th and stated that he was hoping to maintain the placement he had as his team wasn't doing well.  He was either A. lying or B. has a different definition of "not doing well" than the rest of us.

Mitch Seavey - Dallas's father and the 2004 champion.  I would put him in the top 10 without question, though he's around 60 years old.  I think some of these past champions are going to start falling down in the standings as their body can't stand the wear and tear that their kids can.  Also, I'm wondering how many people will chose him to impress the contest organizer.  I'm hoping to pick people who finish just as well, but aren't the favorites so I pick up points that others leave on the board.  Currently 8th  He won for the "gentleman of a certain age."  Maybe I should have not considered age.

Aliy Zirkle - Probably my favorite to win at the start of the race, and there's a fair amount of buzz about her.  It's been 20 years since a woman won.  She was second last year, and the Iditarod was clearing out "Alaska where men are men and women with the Iditarod" t-shirts, which makes me think someone must have ordered them to be the winner's shirt.  Her husband won the Yukon Quest this year with the dogs she will be running.  Currently 9th  Finished 2nd for the second straight year.  Mitch congratulated her at the finish line saying that she would win it a couple times herself soon.  I believe it and thought it was a classy move on his part.

Lance Mackey - The Incredible Lance Mackey.  First to win the Iditarod and Yukon Quest in the same year when it was thought impossible.  Cancer survivor.  First 4 time consecutive winner.  He's had a couple down years and is in the process of a divorce.  Very popular, so I expect a lot to pick him, so I passed.  I wouldn't count him out.  Currently in 1st, but he's in the middle of his required 24 while the others have finished.  I expect him to drop down in the standing over the next 16 hours and then rebound.  Mackey was 19th and broke a tooth.  He seems to be on a downward swing, and I hope he swings up pretty soon.

Martin Buser  Oops forgot to say anything about the rabbit, except he did turn out to be just that the rabbit.  Finished 17th.  I had thought he was undervalued, so I picked him.  I picked up decent points along the way, but hoped he would finish higher.

John Baker - My choice to win.  He won in 2011.  He's the first Alaskan Native to win in a couple decades.  He's from Kotzebue, in Northern Alaska.  He's known for having dogs that have a steady trot that kills the competitors.  Think of him as the tortoise that wins the race.  Not flashy, but he wins.  He's currently in 24th. I don't think the heat is doing him any favors.  Finished 21st.  Next year, I'll look at the weather and if one day it might get up to 52, I won't pick a Northern Alaskan team.

Ramey Smith - He's in the late 30's to 40's age group that I'm favoring.  He or his brother almost always win the fastest Safety to Nome award (extra points for winning an award).  He keeps being up there at the end, so I picked him as an under the radar musher, but top 5 finisher.  He's currently 36th, but he's a closer.  He might have the fastest time, but with everyone still coming in we don't know.  It's either him or his brother right now.  Finished 20th.

Gerry Willomitzer - consistant participant with good results.  A little on the older  side, but he's not expensive.  What's the baseball phrase? Utilityman?  Yeah something like that.  Currently 27th.  He lost a dog (not the one in the news articles).  There was a mix-up and he went ahead instead of back, and was withdrawn for being non-competitive and I forfeited all the points.  Won't pick him next year because there have to be better choices.

Nicholas Petit - Nothing really notable.  I chose him to be a solid finisher, who will be in the top half.  Currently 22nd.  Finished 6th.  So I am happy, my highest finisher.  Will keep him in mind for next year.

Wade Marrs - He beat Lance at a 200 mile race last year, so I was looking for cheap and hopefully not at the back of the pack.  He's in 38th place, so about where I expected.  32nd, so about what I expected though I hoped for better.

Scott Janssen - The mushing mortician.  He did mouth to snout a couple years ago to save a dog.  He's been steadily moving up.  He scratched on Day 2.  I'm regretting choosing him as one of my cheaper choices.  He scratched before entries were due in.  Next year I will wait to submit my picks.

Mikhail Telpin - From Siberia!  Has Russian village dogs that I won't attempt to spell what they are called.  Look a little more like a show Siberian/Malmute than the Alaskan huskies.  I like their looks, but the experts don't.  But then I have a show quality Siberian, so you know my tastes.  Dad picked him.  We have since found out he started with 12 dogs instead of the usual 16.  The Fantasy Iditarod awards 2 points for each dog at a checkpoint.  Dad's less than thrilled that he's spotting everyone 8 points at each checkpoint.  Well not all the other dogs will finish, but still Telpin could drop some as well.  Still on the trail in 50th, but everyone seems to think his dogs are cool.

DeeDee Jonrowe - Sentimental favorite.  I love that she's a tough competitor, but everything is accessorized in pink.  Finished 10th.  Actually she's not getting younger and to stay at the top this long is pretty amazing.

Jeff King - He seemed to be an early favorite.  Last year he came back from retirement.  I would never count him out as I think he wouldn't return if he didn't have a competitive team.  OTOH, he's one of the "closer to 60 than anything else" age group, so I think the younger guys have an advantage there.  I didn't include him in my choices as well because I thought he costs more than someone who scratched last year and didn't enter the year before should be.  Finished 3rd.  Wish I had taken him instead of Baker.  Evidently, this was the old guys' year.

Next year, pick any Norwegian entered.  As a rookie, the young Norwegian finished 7th, which is actually very typical for them to finish in the top 10 as rookies and unbelievable for other people.  And he was only 1,500 in the fantasy Iditarod.
I will finish somewhere around 400 out of 476.  Not thrilled, but I will do better next year!

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