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

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Rough and tumble Iditarod is over



Not quite as beat up as the front runners, Karin Hendrickson and Danny Seavey finally have something to be happy about after having crossed under the burled arch in Nome after finishing 36th and 35th respectively. Sewardite Travis Beals was close behind, completing the 2014 Iditarod about five hours later in 37th place.

Dan Seavey rolled into Seward on Monday, back from probably the most extreme Iditarod he's ever seen. "Wasn't that wild," he said, marvelling at the stunning upset in the final stretch. He says son Mitch and his wife Janine are headed to Texas to get warm. Meanwhile, this year's champion Dallas Seavey was seen sporting some epic bruises from the pounding that front runners took, especially during the first third of the race.

The final two mushers rode in to Nome on Saturday evening a little over 13 days after the 43rd running of the Iditarod race started. With 20 mushers having scratched over the course of the 1,000 mile trail, this may remain in the record books as some of the most daunting conditions ever faced. At least in terms of lack of snow and the freak winds that faced leading mushers near Safety.

The now familiar tale of Jeff King being blown off the trail and ending up snagged in driftwood along the shores of Norton Sound definitely tops a short list of near misses on the final stretch. Seavey says getting snagged in the driftwood was the only thing that kept King from ending up in the water during gusting winds that were also flipping over snowmachines.

That didn't stop Dallas who plowed on ahead, past Aliy Zirkle who had paused awaiting a lull in the winds. Dan said that the stories are true. Dallas was convinced that he was trailing at least two teams into Nome and expected to place third behind his father Mitch.

Danny Seavey, who ended up on the trail as a substitute for a withdrawn musher, is no stranger to the race and he agrees that it was probably the roughest Iditarod ever. Danny, who completed the race in 2001 and 2006, completed his unexpected third entry in 35th place with a team comprised of a mixed bag of younger dogs, dogs from Conway Seavey's Junior Iditarod team, an aging lead dog named Ditka and a complete unknown named Chile.

Travis Beals was better prepared with a young, but experienced team drawn from his Turning Heads Kennel operation on Exit Glacier Road. However, the dogs definitely took a hit from pulling over bare and broken ground at the beginning of the race. The rough going also took its toll on his sled, requiring a return to Koyuk for repairs. He says that the team didn't really starting perking up until they reached Nome.

Beals crossed the finish line in 37th place with nine dogs including Fidget, Wrangler, Boston, Kermit, Cuervo, Tamere, Ray, Star, and Monroe. "I'm disappointed for the dogs because I know their potential and they didn't get to show that to the world, but that's OK," he said.


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