Thursday, November 15, 2012

Top of the World 350

There's a new race this year, the Top of the World 350, and right now I think it's probably going to be the most interesting race of the season.  The race is to honor the memory of Chief Isaac Juneby of Eagle Village.

Why's this an interesting race?  A number of reasons:

  • It's attracted a field of very top mushers from both Alaska and the Yukon.  This is an all-star race
  • The format is novel.  There's going to be a "fun run" from Tok to Eagle Village, a potlatch and dance for the mushers, and then the race starts for real when the mushers depart Eagle Village for Tok.  The run up to Tok begins with a mass start, which is always pretty great entertainment
  • It's a tough trail -- hilly, windblown, and remote
They will not be providing GPS tracking for this race, which will definitely make it more difficult to follow.  I'm hopeful that the checkpoint staffs will keep their website updated, and possibly have volunteers/fans posting from the trail on how things are going more generally.  Even though the first 175 miles are a "fun run" and have no direct impact on standings, you can expect a couple of teams to let their competitive natures get the better of them and gun it up to Eagle Village, possibly tiring their dogs for the actual race.  We can make some bets on who that will be, but I'm sure we'd be surprised.  I wish we could watch it in realtime, but in the meantime I'm thinking of going down to Tok for the start or finish, because I do think this is going to be a special race.  I'm absolutely wishing them the very best.  This is going to be a good 'un.