July 25, 2014

JUNIOR NEWS – 13 x 13 x 13 – Off and Running by Terrie Hanke

13 x 13 x 13!  Thirteen young mushers left the start line for the 2013 Junior Iditarod while the temperature/wind chill was 13 degrees. The start from Knik Lake went off without a hitch as teams left the starting line in two-minute intervals. The morning was overcast with the temperature in the upper teens – crisp with some wind, but very pleasant. The forecast for overnight into Sunday is for snow showers with up to two inches of accumulation with temperatures in the upper teens to low 20’s.

One hundred fifty miles trail was marked with the typical lathe markers well before the teens took off. Spectators following the Juniors reported that they’d never seen the route so well marked. The trail was in excellent condition for the outbound leg of the race and with the small amount of snow that fell over night, the inbound run will premier also.

Nine of the thirteen Junior mushers arrived at Yentna Station within an hour beginning at 17:31. All mushers were at the half-way rest by just after 20:30. These young mushers are very skilled at dog care. They’re very focused and business like. When the dogs are feed and sleeping, the mushers join as friends around a bon-fire built by the first mushers to arrive in the checkpoint. Way before the sun rises, the kids will be feeding their dogs breakfast and preparing to depart for the finish line. Common report from the teens as they checked into Yentna Station was that they had a great run – the trail was excellent, their dogs were awesome and the weather was perfect.

After the ten-hour rest and differential the first musher, Noah Pereira will depart Yentna at 03:43 followed at 03:45 by Conway Seavey then Jenny Greger at 03:54. Six mushers will depart during the nest hour. The entire field will be heading to the finish line before 07:00. Progress of the mushers on the return trip to Willow as well as final race results can be found at www.jriditarod.com. The juniors carry Ion Earth GPS trackers. Follow their progress to the finish line at www.iditarod.com.

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