It’s midnight Wednesday night.


The Red Team pulled in to Ruby checkpoint at 11.23pm tonight in 9th position. As expected, they camped out on the trail for about four hours half-way through the run.

Teams will be starting to take their mandatory 24 or 8 hour stops and for the next few checkpoints we will see lots of leap-frogging in positions as some teams rest earlier and others rest later. Only once everyone has done both the “Yukon 8” and their 24 will we have a better picture of actual positions.

Overnight the Insider crew are sure to have some video of them arriving so we’ll hear more about their run then. This will have been Aliy’s first night on the Yukon River and she will be pleased to get that hurdle cleared.


The Insider crew interviewed Allen at Tanana and he talked a bit about his team and how their speed is really good currently as he is resting longer than some of the front running teams. He said he will give them another 100 miles of longer rests and “maybe start racing a bit, which will be fun”. This is what he is great at in the Iditarod: pushing a younger team just enough to test them but not too much to make it too challenging and too hard for them. He will push a little and back off a little as needs must. Scooby, Five and Hotshot have already gone further than they have ever raced before and that is an exciting milestone for them. Allen says that once a dog has run 1000 miles they can do anything!

He was asked about the cold and he talked about having just come off the Quest and so these cold temperatures “didn’t seem that bad” and that he should be used to it, but that the wind got up a bit on the river which makes it feel colder. The white pants you see Aliy and Allen wearing are wind blockers and help trap warmth inside.

The Black Team is currently resting at mile 301 so it appears he is breaking this run into three, having stopped on the trail for four hours earlier, in the warmth of the day. The next checkpoint for them is Ruby. By stopping here they may go through Ruby and camp on the other side, or do a series of shorter runs then rests to help keep up their speed. We’ll just have to wait and see.


Kennel friend and Decaf sponsor, Dawn, volunteered in the Communications Team for the Iditarod last year and she wrote this:

If you want to pass this along to your readers… I thought I’d share what I learned about the danged race standings entries while I volunteered in Comms last year.

  • We stared at the race standings screen…(much like I did from home before and after volunteering.) 
  • We stared at the GPS Trackers wondering why we hadn’t been updated on this mushers entry into a checkpoint…(much like I did from home before and after volunteering.)
  • Ding!!! We would get the email from the checkpoint or in the case of the far out places with no internet, the satellite phone call.
  • Now we could enter the musher’s info including time in (sometimes the time out happened in the same email), and dogs in (and out if same time)
  • All of the calculations of time en route, time in the checkpoint, etc. were done by the program. Good thing or I would not have been able to volunteer for this task!!!
  • Sigh. Back to staring at the screens!

We could make NO updates unless the information came from the checkpoint which in some cases involved the person checking in musher, handing information to the runner, who ran into building or tent to send us the email. There were some cases where the emails might be missing a dog count, and we’d have to email them back to get all the info. Then wait for the reply, but in the meantime that runner went back outside. I thought I’d be in the first to know when Aliy & Allen would be getting places. Nope. Same as all of you. I might have been 30 seconds ahead of you. I type pretty fast.

I promised myself after six shifts in Comms to never, ever, get mad at the data entry people again. The remote villages took time to wind up the internet and get information to us. The more I learned about it all, the more I was amazed at how fast we get information from the remote of Alaska. No really. It is pretty darn fast.

Also note that it is not required for a musher to physically “check out” of a checkpoint so out times and dog counts are sometimes missed. I think we forget sometimes that this race is in the Alaskan wilderness – we get used to such good coverage that when things are a little slow it can be frustrating. Thanks Dawn for explaining how it all works.

13 Responses

  • Please let Dawn know us fans appreciate everything the Volunteers do….and yes, this little insight makes us more understanding of the logistics…thank you for sharing!

    Ok….Aliy and the Red Team are safely into Ruby resting…..and Allen is on the move with probably a smile on his face. He always seems so calm and happy in those interviews! I'm glad he is getting some face time with the Iditarod camera crew….it seems like they are covering the mid part of the pack a lot this year!

    The next big hurdle….weather. It's about to get warm….Good for humans but not so much for dogs. I wish Mother Nature didn't have these wild extremes! Let's hope the 10% chance or rain doesn't happen….we all know Aliy hates the rain, as I'm sure other Mushers do as well!

    Doing great SPK!!

  • Thank you Moira and thank you Dawn for such great information. I'm happy to hear that Five is going strong so far. Good dog! Praying that Aily sails through this portion in good spirits. You go girl!!

  • Great information to pass along. Thanks Dawn! And Thanks Iditarod communications crew for making sure we get real time, or close to real time stats on the race.

  • You are all welcome! I learned so much being there and on dog lot and as trail guard for both starts last year. What great fun! (Of course meeting ALiy, Allen, Moira, Chris, Mark, Aliy's folks and Linda in Anchorage was a highlight as well!)

    I looked at videos this morning and Aliy seemed a "little" tired and down saying the dogs were moving slow. I wish she could see all the other videos of everyone else saying the same thing…maybe it would boost her a little.

    Guess I have to do better at sending her love and energy from Texas! A big nappy poo will do her good and she'll have time to look at the stat boards and see she's not the only one moving slow on that leg to Ruby. GO ALIY GO

  • Thanks for all this inside as opposed to Insider information (thanks Dawn especially).

    And thank you Moira for the news – and wow, those green glow in the dark necklaces are terrific looking!!!

    Go Red Team!!!

    Go Black Team!!!


  • The Dog Log is awesome. When I need a break from the tracker (my refresh finger actually needs to rest!) I enjoy reading current and past blogs. Helps calm my nerves. Thank you for the wonderful information about the teams.

  • Wow, only on SPK Dog Log can you get this in depth information. Thank you for the input from Dawn!

    I hope Aliy and her pups are getting a little rest in Ruby.

  • Thanks so much for all the info you keep sending towards the fans of SPK and followers of the DogLog with these great posts – much appreciated! Don't know if you saw it, but there's an article on the ADN about how mushers stay warm at -40 and Allen is featured saying he sings "Jingle Bells" to the dogs – too funny – I bet you could do some kennel fund raising by offering exclusive video of his "concerts"

    My tracker refresh button is getting a workout and I'm so proud to cheer Aliy, Allen and their terrific dogs down the trail. SPK is the best!

  • Looks like Aliy took her 8 hour rest in Ruby and is back on the trail. At least that's what the GPS Tracker seems to indicate as she is showing as 15 miles outside of Ruby.

  • Thanks for all the updates and good info. Really amazes me how quickly updates happen given the challenges of the wilderness. Kudos to all that make it happen. Go Aliy & Allen!!!!

  • Thanks Dawn & Moira for all the great info. It is fantastic that info gets transmitted so quickly from the trail. Go SPK Red & Black teams.

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