March 14, 2009

Iditarod 2009 Day 7

Mackey reaches Eagle Island firmly in charge

As I wrote yesterday there are a plethora of ways to loose the Iditarod. One common theme is the lack of sleep that the front mushers must endure. Last year Rick Mackey quietly snuck out of the checkpoint after he was sure that his Nemesis Jeff King was soundly asnooze. This year it was Mackey who had took a nap and it cost him a couple of hours of the lead he had built up.

On the short, 25-mile jump from the tiny village of Shageluk over to this community on the banks of the Yukon River, Mackey fell asleep on the runners of his dog sled. The result was that his team got lost. He figured it out when he woke up and had to make them turn around to retrace their steps."Not cool,'' said the 38-year-old musher from Fairbanks. "I broke their spirit.''

What should have been a 2 1/2-hour jaunt between the villages to meet a welcoming
crowd in Anvik became a 4 1/2-hour march. The only good part for Mackey, who has won the race the last two years, and his team was that they still arrived here first.

Despite the wrong turn Mackey continues to burn up the trail and maintains a 4 hour lead over the closest competitor. The pack chasing the rabbit can only hope at this point that Mackey falls asleep at the wheel again.

Unless your the lead dog the view never changes

The PETA corner.

Dogs stacked up like cord wood along the trail;)

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