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The Ultrasporters hit the trail at 14:00 today under bluebird skies, a slight north wind and 9 degrees on the thermometer (in the sun). Peter was pulling 2 guys along on his wheel (Jay and some long lankey skinny friendly dude). Pete didn't look like he felt any aftereffects of his 10-hour Susitna win. I took photos of everyone on the trail--I'll try to have them on the www.alaskaultrasport.com website by tomorrow. Jacques was looking his usual chipper self. That Japanese Bike Pusher was cruisin' along conserving energy and looking confident. First-time female racer, Lou, was grinning ear-to-ear staying out of the wind behind Erik. The guys up front should be worried. Very, very worried!

QB
 
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Alaska Ultra Sport 2007

Anyone, if you have good pics of the race start and racers,
please send them to me, I will post them on the website.
[email protected]
I will post updates later tonight.

Kathi M.
 

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Some photos of the start

Kathi, I took a bunch and will send them but here's a few for the forum. I wonder how the racers are handling the temps, it must have been around -30 last night going up the river.
 

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Beware of Doggerel
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Wow

Just saw that Pete has pulled into the lead leaving finger lake. Could just be a small lead though. Who knows. Sounds really fast out there, but cold. Could be a record year.

Go Pete Go
Adam
 

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Holy $hit!

Pete made it to Finger Lake in 16 hours--that's 130 miles in, through the night, on snow, with temps well below zero.

I *think* the previous record to that point was ~24 hours, set by Pat Irwin in 2002. To knock 8 hours off of that time speaks volumes about how packed the trail must be, not to mention Pete's motor.

Notable too is that Jay P is still darn close to the leaders after ~100 miles. Will be really, really impressive if he can stay that close through the Range and down into Rohn.

Getting ready to head into night 2. Curious how Pete will do with sleep deprivation combined with strong cold as he heads into the Range. Stayin' tuned, and gettin' itchy...

MC
 

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I'm from Utah
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Wow ... Jay P is doing really well - still on the heels of the leaders.

Pete seems to have a strong lead leaving Finger Lake. As fast as he's moving, how far do you think he'll push sleep deprivation? It's not inconceivable that he could be halfway to McGrath by the time the 24-hour mark passes.
 

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Jilleo said:
Wow ... Jay P is doing really well - still on the heels of the leaders.

Pete seems to have a strong lead leaving Finger Lake. As fast as he's moving, how far do you think he'll push sleep deprivation? It's not inconceivable that he could be halfway to McGrath by the time the 24-hour mark passes.
Pete'll be the first to admit that sleep deprivation is his weak point. He gets to the point that he just can't keep his eyes open, and needs to take a nap, even as his legs are grinding him up another hill.

Even if the trail conditions stay the same (hard and fast) beyond Finger Lake, the amount of climbing and roller coaster trail really slows things down. At a guess, I'd say that Pete will be through Puntilla well before sunset and maybe even well into the Pass by dark. It'd be darn hard (and potentially self-destructive) to push all through the night to get into Rohn before sleeping, but that's just speculation on my part, of course...

Rocky and Jeff have each other to lean on when the cold and dark come. Pete has Pete to rely on, and come this time tomorrow we'll have a better idea of how well that works out for him.

Jay would do really, really well (from a 'racing' standpoint) to stay close to or even team up with Jeff and Rocky. So much experience to be gained in the right and wrong way to do things, just by watching race vets. Unless Jay is purposely traveling alone. Lots to be said for that, too...

My biggest question right now? Where's Carl? Why isn't he up there? I suspected this might be the year that he stayed with and pushed the leaders across the burn...

Fun to speculate. Lookin' forward to the next report.

MC
 

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Unbe-freakin-lievable!

Pete's into Puntilla in just a hair over 24 hours! Jeesus!

A little premature to say that he's a lock to break the record, but not premature by much. Man it must be good conditions out there!

FWIW, in '05 when the current 350-mile record was set, I didn't leave Finger Lake until ~4:30pm, and didn't arrive at Puntilla until ~1:30 AM. Pete's over 11 hours ahead of that pace already!

The biggest, most obvious threat to slow him down is the reported lack-of-trail through the Pass. But by now AT LEAST three snowmachines have gone through the Pass. With no precip and little wind in the forecast, even if he has to walk the freshly broken trail he should be able to make Rohn before noon tomorrow. And once through there, the trail is virtually snow free all the way to Nikolai, which most years means VERY fast riding conditions.

Wow.

MC
 

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Beware of Doggerel
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Holy Crap Holy crap holy crap!!!!!!!!!

Amazing speed. I have my fingers crossed that he won't self destruct from pushing too hard with too little sleep. But it looks good, and at his pace he will hit McGrath before he even gets tired.

Sounds like conditions are amazing. Except for the cold.

MC....11 hours ahead of your '05 pace makes my head spin. Wow, wow, wow that is fast. I hope he can hold on. Good thing he did the 100 last week as a warm up!!!

Didn't notice Carl until you mentioned it. Hope he didn't get any frostbite, like he did last year. Or he could just be hanging out and riding with Eric W. that could be a fun ride. Looks like the start was similiar with crazy cold on the rivers. So we might see some bail outs over the next day or so as frostbite from that first night flares up.

Adam
 

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Go Jay!

Way to stir up the all-Alaskan leaderboard a bit. I hope everyone got through the first cold night with no frostbite and can continue on at this blistering pace. I can't wait for the next update and to see how fast, or slow, the pass is for the frontrunners.
 

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Adam said:
Holy Crap Holy crap holy crap!!!!!!!!!

Amazing speed. I have my fingers crossed that he won't self destruct from pushing too hard with too little sleep. But it looks good, and at his pace he will hit McGrath before he even gets tired.

Sounds like conditions are amazing. Except for the cold.

MC....11 hours ahead of your '05 pace makes my head spin. Wow, wow, wow that is fast. I hope he can hold on. Good thing he did the 100 last week as a warm up!!!

Didn't notice Carl until you mentioned it. Hope he didn't get any frostbite, like he did last year. Or he could just be hanging out and riding with Eric W. that could be a fun ride. Looks like the start was similiar with crazy cold on the rivers. So we might see some bail outs over the next day or so as frostbite from that first night flares up.

Adam
Still hard to wrap my head around getting to Puntilla in 24 hours. I remember in '01 ('02?) when the media made a big deal about Rishi Grewal getting to Finger in 29 hours. Whoopteflippindo.

Bottom line is that the cold temps have obviously set the trails up rock hard. Doesn't mean easy (whoop de doos and blown out climbs/descents) just fast. And the cold will keep folks moving more and dilly dallying less.

Having just read Kathi's report about the alders and lack of trail through the Pass, I'm thinking the pace is gonna slow substantially over the next 24 hours for the leaders. Once into Rohn, the remaining trail looks to be very, very fast. So a new record is still highly likely.

Here's the entrance to the Pass. Not many alders to speak of.


Here's the view from the top, looking north:


No pics of the alders that await them after that. They start within a mile of the top of the Pass, and even in a good year can be pretty annoying to a sleep deprived racer that's focused on getting down to the cabin in Rohn.

In case you can't tell, I'm kinda ants-in-the-pants to hit the trail myself. Couple more days... Hope the weather doesn't change much.

MC
 

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I was wondering about Carl myself. Hope he's okay!

Sounds like the conditions are great, hoping that everybody finishes unscathed.
 

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mikesee said:
Still hard to wrap my head around getting to Puntilla in 24 hours. I remember in '01 ('02?) when the media made a big deal about Rishi Grewal getting to Finger in 29 hours. Whoopteflippindo.

Bottom line is that the cold temps have obviously set the trails up rock hard. Doesn't mean easy (whoop de doos and blown out climbs/descents) just fast. And the cold will keep folks moving more and dilly dallying less.

Having just read Kathi's report about the alders and lack of trail through the Pass, I'm thinking the pace is gonna slow substantially over the next 24 hours for the leaders. Once into Rohn, the remaining trail looks to be very, very fast. So a new record is still highly likely.

Here's the entrance to the Pass. Not many alders to speak of.


Are these pictures current/recent? what do you think the chances are that Pete, or any of the race leaders will decide to take the long way and add 33 miles? It might be a risky move but if the Alders are that bad it might be the only logical choice. then again i haven't been there so i was hoping for some input from those that have.
 

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Holy Sh$t is right!!!
Pete's time to Puntilla!!! is absolutlyfreakinglootly increadible!
First time checking in since it started, and I'm dumbfounded...

Cold is right! spent the night in a tent with friends and it was easy -15 below up in a valley, not on the rivers... in the Alaska range!

Carl looks like he's kicking it up a few notches and chipping away, only 4 hrs behind rocky and crew at finger isnt that far back..

wow, I cant wait to see whats next..

ok a few more things... who is the burly looking guy behind Brij in the photo?
Also looked like alot of Lycra at the start, hope they all stay warm out there :)
 

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the burly guy is...

Jay Petervary, last year's winner of the Susitna 100, from Jackson, WY. Although he is a bit inexperienced at winter riding, he's very tough and could be a factor in the race.

Ak29
 

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grroes said:
Are these pictures current/recent? what do you think the chances are that Pete, or any of the race leaders will decide to take the long way and add 33 miles? It might be a risky move but if the Alders are that bad it might be the only logical choice. then again i haven't been there so i was hoping for some input from those that have.
Those pics are 2 years old. Tough call on which way to go for the lead pack. No idea what kind of info they have there (at Puntilla), nor how much faith they'll put into the reports they get of the trail conditions (or lack thereof) ahead.

I'd be thinking long and hard about it as I headed out of Puntilla and towards the trail split. A few miles of alders can take all day to whack through. 33 extra miles of marginal trail can also take all day. Do you wager that the Rohn crew has been efficient and cut a swath through on the Idita trail, or do you wager that the Iron Dog trail has set up since Bill (and possibly others) have gone through?

Wish I knew the answer. 24 hours later it'd be a no-brainer, but right now it's the million dollar question.

???

MC
 

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Looks like Pete left Puntilla just before 6pm. Damn, why didn't he take a live feed sattelite camera with him so we could have a better sense of what he's experiencing right now? I guess he wasn't thinking too clearly when he packed for the race. He must have been too busy winning the Susitna or something useless like that.
 

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The big decision

As if this race wasn't exciting enough, now we have the Rainy Pass situation to speculate about as we stare at the text updates from Kathi. :) Will the racers have much trail info by the time they get to Puntilla? Will new racers even know there is an option to go around?

mikesee said:
Tough call on which way to go for the lead pack. No idea what kind of info they have there (at Puntilla), nor how much faith they'll put into the reports they get of the trail conditions (or lack thereof) ahead.

I'd be thinking long and hard about it as I headed out of Puntilla and towards the trail split. A few miles of alders can take all day to whack through. 33 extra miles of marginal trail can also take all day. Do you wager that the Rohn crew has been efficient and cut a swath through on the Idita trail, or do you wager that the Iron Dog trail has set up since Bill (and possibly others) have gone through?

Wish I knew the answer. 24 hours later it'd be a no-brainer, but right now it's the million dollar question.
Have you ever heard of someone not going over the pass and taking the long way around? I was reading the Iditarod webiste and saw this quote about the Iron Dog trail:

Historical Note: In a few of the early years, the Iditarod didn’t use Rainy Pass. Instead, the trail made a long, 70-mile run past the mouth of Rainy Pass and south down Ptarmigan Pass to Hells Gate, a dramatic but reasonably wide and level-floored canyon through the spine of the Alaska Range cut by the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River. The trail then followed the river north back to Rohn. This route is still an option if Rainy Pass is unusable for some reason. The Iron Dog snowmachine race from Anchorage to Nome two weeks before the Iditarod always follows the Iditarod northern route, and tries to use the Hells Gate detour rather than risk the run down the Dalzell Gorge.

As tired as these racers are at this point, I can't imagine having to decide whether to take the long way around and ADD distance.
 
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