Friday, December 28, 2012

Top of the World 350 musings

As I write this it's 5:20pm on December 28 in Alaska, and the most recent report is that ?many? ?some? ?all? mushers are resting at the 40-Mile hospitality stop (this is not a checkpoint in either direction).  It's 56 miles from 40-Mile to Eagle Village, which might reasonably take anywhere from 4 hours to 8 hours depending on the trail and on the team.  I'm guessing that a lot of teams won't be getting into Eagle Village until 10pm or later, raising some questions about the potlatch and dance.  It sounds like an event that nobody would want to miss, so I'm hoping it all works out.

The race start is tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.  I gather from the Facebook page that a lot of people are still confused about the format.  Tamra Reynolds mentioned that the Yukon Flats race had the same format (which I didn't know), so this is not a completely new idea even though it is unusual.  Probably wouldn't hurt if they changed the text on the Race Stats page so that it didn't say "Start Order, Tok."  That table actually reflects the results of the bib draw, but teams left Tok when they felt ready rather than by the clock, and the last musher to leave was Jodi Bailey, following shortly after Dan Kaduce.  There's also some inconsistency from table to table, plus some stuff that's just not very clear.  For example, there's a time for Brian Wilmhurst's departure from Chicken, but not anybody else's.  We shouldn't care when Brian left, just that he did.  I'd probably also get rid of the arrival order ("Pos") into Chicken, since I think it likely contributes to some confusion.  

Note that this is a case where you don't want the teams you're rooting for to gun it on the way up and burn out their dogs, because whatever happens in terms of speed and positioning from Tok to Eagle Village does not contribute to the race results.

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