And so we're down to it now in the 2023 Iditarod; the decanting of the field out to Unalakleet has occurred, and we have two leaders left battling it out over the ice of Norton Sound. Here's what things look like right now (Iditarod flow tracker):
Ryan Redington and Peter Kaiser are now in the middle of Norton Sound, halfway between Shaktoolik and Koyuk. They're moving at similar speed although Ryan's line (black) appears slightly steeper than Peter's line (red), which means he's moving faster and opening up his lead. When they get to Koyuk, what will happen? Will they rest (likely) or take off for Elim?
Richie Diehl looks like a solid third, he's quite a ways back now and moving slower, so probably has no chance. (But remember the finish in 2014? - anything can happen, and sometimes does...) Hunter Keefe and Eddie Burke are not only racing each other for Rookie of the Year, they are both in the top five! Wow. Hunter seems to have the faster team, but Eddie is right there. Matt Hall is in 6th, currently resting between Unalakleet and Shaktoolik, and Mille Porsild has moved up to 7th, neck-and-neck with Mathew Failor. This is an interesting time for the mushers high up but no longer in contention; do they continue racing hard, or throttle back since victory is now impossible? Stay tuned!
And some pics:
Ryan Redington gets a prize for being first to the Coast in Unalakleet
Another view of Ryan, with his team, on Norton Sound
A shot from the restart a week ago ...