As of today, New Hampshire Musher, Bailey Vitello, can add Iditarod to his very impressive list of completed races. Bailey was the first musher to make Nome on St. Patrick’s day at 07:49. Sun wasn’t up yet but somewhere in Nome the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage was likely being prepared. On his rookie run, Vitello placed 26th with a time of 11 days, 6 hours and 49 minutes. Bailey’s father Gregg was at the finish line to welcome his son. Gregg, also a rookie this year, scratched back in the checkpoint of Iditarod.
Bailey called this Iditarod experience a dream come true. It’s not his first experience of mushing in Alaska. Back in 2012, Gregg and Bailey took a year off from school and work to come to Alaska and train so that Bailey could participate in the Jr. Iditarod. He finished 7th in the race and was truly awed and called it an eye opener as he’d never been around so many people who loved mushing as much as he did.
Bailey praised his team saying they were well rounded, a variety of ages and the two leaders absolutely rocked. In the future he plans to add more younger dogs to grow the team and adjust strategies. Vitello really appreciated the people at Shaktoolik where he stayed for 24-hours during a storm. A couple of times he wanted to head out to Koyuk but was encouraged by the folks at the checkpoint to stay put, and he decided their advice was good. About the trail he said there wasn’t as much water/overflow as he expected and each section of the trail gets you ready for the next thing. The rain in McGrath didn’t really bother him as it’s not unusual to have winter rain in New Hampshire.
Joanna Jagow, a veteran of the Gold Trail Loop of 2019 is now a veteran of the 1,000 miles trail to Nome. Joanne finished in 27th position with a time of 11 days, 17 hours and 7 minutes. Jagow said it was very special traveling across so much of the state with my dogs seeing south central Alaska, the Alaska Range, the Yukon and the coast.
As a child, Joanna worked with the family on their trap line. She said she had a moment of déjà vu when she ran past a pole set on the trail to Unalakleet. It was that time with dogs as a child that has brought her to Iditarod. She says she’s never quite gotten over the mushing bug. Jagow works 12 hour shifts as a pediatric nurse in Fairbanks. With working three days a week, she has four days to train dogs.
Things she appreciated most about the trail include her two leaders, one being only two years old, and the incredible job they did. She also very much appreciated the hospitality of the Shaktoolik checkpoint when she stayed there for 24 hours waiting out the coastal storm. Her run from White Mountain was pretty quiet with little wind on the Blow Hole or going over Cape Nome. Standing under the burled arch in Nome has been her life ling dream.