The excitement and crowds grew all morning here at the finish line in Nome, waiting for Lance Mackey to come mushing down Front Street. As is the custom around here, the town's fire siren went off to signal a musher on the outskirts of town and the crowd filled in to pack the finishing chute. A few minutes before noon, Lance crossed under the famous burled arch to win the 2009 Iditarod. He ran a commanding race and we all congratulate him on another outstanding performance.
The rest of the picture for us is not nearly as clear. Aliy's GPS tracker appears to be busted --again! -- as it has not reported in almost 12 hours. We know from the leader board that after spending 26 hours in Shaktoolik she made good time across the ice and blew through Koyuk, stopping for only 7 minutes. The leader board has just updated to show that she has now also gone through Elim, stopping there for only 10 minutes. I am speculating, as usual, but it looks to me like she is capitalizing on the dogs' long rest back in Shaktoolik and pushing through to White Mountain where she will have a mandatory 8-hour rest. Several teams were only an hour or so ahead of her out of Elim, and she could be making a move. She still has 11 dogs, so that's a good sign!
Allen has recently pulled into Shaktoolik with 11 dogs and will probably rest there for a while. We are all hopeful that the weather has abated some and that they can have a good run across the ice. I can only try to picture some of his young dogs tackling that experience for the first time... Go B-Team! Communications remain virtually non-existent, so we are all just sitting around Nome, calling each other with questions, speculations, hopes, worries, etc. Frankly, I'm exhausted!
So, stay tuned and we'll see what develops over the course of the day and night!