10:30 AM anvik World’s Greatest Optimist in checkpoint

Lance into Anvik while Martin puts boots on to leave Anvik

The contrast couldn’t have been staged better.  Lance just rolled into Anvik with one of the fastest times from Shageluk (I think Jake was maybe five minutes faster) in to Anvik.  At the same time, Martin was putting boots on his dogs for a 10:17 AM exit from an 8 hour mandatory.

You be the expert, but after a little conference with Sebastion and Bruce Lee, there is general agreement that Martin has a five hour lead.  Even when we consider Mitch Seavey (he is running a dynamite team that just left Shageluk about three hours from here) tracking down Martin, we have to allow for rest and still give Martin a five hour lead to Mitch Seavey.

However, Martin has a few challenges as it was observed that some of his team members, including a leader were stiff getting off the bed.  Its kind of like you spent all day digging a ditch and the next morning said, “Man, I feel a little tight this morning, I think I’ll take it a little easier today.”  The trail is rock hard because of rain.  In fact, Bruce Lee walked down to the Yukon, to verify local reports, and confirmed that the trail on the Yukon is like an ice skating rink.  It  wont take much effort to glide up river, and even a team that’s a little tight can just take a nice easy trot on a flat smooth trail.

Ric Swenson, the five time champ, always said he loved warm weather because the dogs naturally go a little slower, kind of take it easy, and actually loosen up on the trot.  So, that’s my take.  Even if Martin slows down a little, his good dogs will be just taking an easy walk on the river and glue back together.


The Incredible Lance Mackey

Out of 7 billion people on earth, Lance Mackey is one of the top ten optimists on the planet.  “I am excited, I have more than 7 dogs this year (referencing his dismal performance in 2012 and 2011, in Lance terms.)”

With that fast moving style recognizable from a hundred yards, lance distributed straw to his team, covering some of them up with extra straw as if to shield them from the light falling rain.  Lance commented that is wet an sloppy on the trail, but more importantly his dogs were really starting to travel well and were all eating on cue.  In summary, he said, “They are exceeding my expectations.  Next year this team could win.”

What to watch

Follow Jake Berkowitz as we are going to do.  He had the fastest time from Shageluk to Anvik—3 hr 05 min—and might be a musher  and team capable of chipping away at Martin’s lead.