The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By LOG Staff 

Iditarod mushers get rough start


Corey Hester | For The LOG

Travis Beals at the start of the 2014 Iditarod.

This is as much snow as Travis Beals and his dog team will see for quite awhile as they leave the line at the Willow restart of the 2014 Iditarod.

Nearly bare ground for long stretches of the trail to Nikolai makes for rough going and was hard on Seward mushers, sleds and dogs alike. By McGrath conditions improve and at press time, four days into the race, leaders Sonny Lindner and Aaron Burrmeister are on their way out of Ophir to Cripple, the official halfway mark.

Dallas and Mitch Seavey, holding down 10th and 11th in Takotna are not far off the leaders' pace, and Travis Beals is close behind in McGrath. Danny Seavey, who has had problems with his GPS tracker, is the rear guard for the Seward mushers, fending off a dozen or so rookies biting at his heels. The back of the pack isn't out of the woods yet, so expect some more scratches.

The rough trail has taken its toll in the race with 12 scratches in the first three days. Beals is down to 11 dogs and it's a long road ahead. In 2013 11 mushers scratched over the course of the entire race.

With more than half the Iditarod left to run, it's going to be a contest for the record books. Both between the teams and against the conditions.


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