Ask any Musher about how they did in a race and position is never as important as finishing. Dog care is always the primary consideration and Talia’s race was a true mark of that goal. Happy dogs and a tired Talia crossed the 2018 Jr. Iditarod Finish line at 3:53pm. The 8 dogs still in harness were wagging their tails and howling which is the mark of a truly happy and healthy Team. All of the Teams crossing the line looked fantastic and is truly a tribute to the dog care by the Teams and the training by people such as Jim Lanier, Iditarod veteran, who coached Talia while she was in Alaska.

Talia has a fan base reaching far and wide, but many were back at home in Wisconsin watching the tracker and wishing to be at the Finish line. About 20 folks showed up at the line to cheer Talia and the Team into Willow after the 150 miles on the trail.

Talia was a little sleep deprived and thirsty, but none the worse for wear over the trail. She had a great time and wishes to thank everyone who supported her dream come true. It wasn’t done in a vacuum and we all recognize all of your support and love.

Here are the photos from the finish. Congratulations to 2018 Champion Bailey Schaefer and her parents for a great win!

Into Yentna Station

Yentna Station

Talia and the Team are doing a great job out on the trail. They were into the halfway point of Yentna Station about 7:45pm this evening.

All tolled, that is about a 9 hour run or so to the halfway point and a 10 hour layover. The Teams are in pretty close competition on the trail and many Teams are within just a few minutes of each other.

If it took 9 hours to reach the halfway point and Teams have a 10 hour layover, here is the calculation for Finish:

Yentna Station IN Time- 7:45 (19:45)

Out Time (After 10 hour layover) 5:45am

Add 9 hours to that run to get 14:45 or 2:45pm.

We will see how it goes on the trail to Willow which is a bit different than the trail out from Knik.

Get some rest, Talia! Go Team Talia!

Dream Over… Trail Begins

A dream became reality this morning at 10:12am as Talia and the Team took to the trail of the 2018 Junior Iditarod. For over two years Talia, her family, and throngs of supporters from far and wide have kept this day in their minds eye. A bit of nerves for all of the Starting Line logistics, but Talia was keen to get on the trail and get this party started!!

A light snowfall in the morning after 4-6 inches of dry fluffy snow kept trail crew busy and will slow Teams a bit, but all in all it was a perfect start to a winter wonderland. (One that Alaskans have been waiting for for literally years!!!)

Once she arrived, Talia had interviews to give, dogs to feed, and of course official checks of the sledbags and equipment. Trackers were affixed to the sled as well to keep us in the action over the next 18 hours or so.

Teams will head out for 75 miles and take a 10 hour layover and then race back to Willow for the finish line sometime tomorrow.

At this hour Talia’s tracker was a bit erratic, so as much as we would like to armchair quarterback, we will just have to wait and see the official times into the Yentna Station halfway point.

Here are some photos from the Start! GO Team Talia!

Race Day- A Spectator Sport

Race day is here and Talia is readying the Team for the day ahead. For a rookie musher, race day can be pretty nerve wracking, but with a couple of races under her belt in the last month, Talia will have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen.

Dog sled mushing has come such a long way “down the trail” for spectators and fans. In the early days the Teams took to the trail and fans went back to headquarters to wait for news in whatever way it came. In the earliest days ham radio operators would pass checkpoint times back to “HQ”. Then fax became the mode of communication. Headquarters had a leaderboard and if you wanted to keep up with what was happening, you had to be there to look at the times and keep track in your head who was leading, how much rest they had, and who you thought was the true leader (You can’t SORT a handwritten leaderboard!)

It was great fun because there was always someone there to talk with and eat plenty of the food and coffee that was always part of headquarters.

Nowadays mushing has become an “armchair” spectator sport and we miss out on those fun headquarter times, but what we get is almost a “horserace” sport where we can see in real time who is leading and what is happening. The Tracker has really brought dog sled mushing into its own and makes it very exciting.

Click here to launch the tracker!