We’re overdue for an update on the Iditarod Trail Invitational and our man Adam Bartlett. After all, we did promise to cheer and drink him all the way to the 350-mile finish line in McGrath. But this ain't no Susitna 100 thing where we can just dive down into the slothful muck and wallow around in it all day. This is serious endurance stuff. We have to pace ourselves, but we're doing our part for our homeboy.
Adam’s near the front of the main pack and looking strong. At the last update, he was on his way to Rohn, which is way the hell out there.
The true mutants are running in a three-man dash a couple of checkpoints ahead of the chasers. Fairbanksan Rocky Reifenstuhl led out of Nikolai this afternoon, followed by longtime Paramount Cycles wrench and Great Divide Race veteran Pete Basinger. Along with Jeff Oatley, they’ve been swapping the lead for a while now.
Here at Bicycles and Icicles Word Headquarters (a La-Z-Boy recliner that used to have a nice little table to hold my beer, until my daughter stole it back to hold her guinea pig’s cage) we’re cheering for Pete and hoping he'll drop those dudes when the time is right.
Skier and Alaska magazine columnist Ned Rozell and his buddy Andy Sterns appear to be suffering off the back. They might be the last skiers still on the course. (Do any of you locals know?) In any case, they’re hanging tough in a race that clearly favors the bike riders this year. The skiers and runners starting bailing out at the first checkpoint when trail conditions deteriorated last weekend.
Ned and Andy are hard guys. I have no doubt they’ll go as far as they can as fast as they can, but this year’s race is looking like a festival of pain for skiers.
Adam, Pete, Ned and Andy, here’s to ya.