Tuesday, February 27, 2007


(Photo by Mike Curiak, 2005)

I’ve been glued to Iditarod Invitational race reports. Web update voyeurism has pretty much defined my day. That and my job ... in there, somewhere.

Despite an alder-choked trail setback, Pete Basinger is still tearing up the race. After he left the Puntilla Lake checkpoint at mile 165 yesterday evening, he opted to take the long way around, adding 33 miles onto what is already a 350-mile race. After nearly 18 hours of no new information, the race officials finally had him into the Rohn checkpoint, mile 210, at 11:15 a.m. and out two hours later. Word is he slept a little out on the trail last night. He had 140 more miles of what is reported to be hard, fast trail ... some of it with little to no snow, which is good if you’re a biker. And at 1:15 he still had nearly 30 hours to finish in record time. Can Pete bike 140 reportedly hardpacked miles in 30 hours, even on little to no sleep? I don’t personally know Pete, but I’m guessing it would take a grizzly bear waking up from hibernation in the -30-degree night and eating both of his tires to stop him. And even then, I don’t believe he’d stop.

Pete’s three trailers, seasoned Alaska cyclists Jeff Oatley and Rocky Reifenstuhl, and impressive Wyoming-based newcomer Jay Petervary, left Rohn at 8 this evening. No word yet on which route they chose to get to Rohn. It sounds like the alder obstacle is beyond relief - six miles of thick bushwhacking. If they heard the same information that was posted on the news board, they would have been crazy not to follow in Pete’s tire tracks, even with river overflow concerns, so I'm guessing they did the extra mileage as well. But either way, they made it.

I have a feeling that by the time I wake up tomorrow morning, this race is going to be over. And I believe Pete will have completed whatever impossible mission he set out to do ... whatever drove him to tell Geoff in July that the Iditarod Invitational “is all I think about.”

Speculation at this point is all I have ... speculation and stunning pictures of the ghost trail to McGrath, stretching closer to the Great Unknown than anyone should dare to go.

“In the past week, I’ve gone from maybe doing the race in a few years to maybe doing it next year,” Geoff wrote on the MTBR forum. “And now, with all the excitement I’m feeling from just tracking it online and seeing these pictures, I can’t imagine not doing it next year ...”

And I’m sorry, Mom, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the same way.


  1. This is as good as the super bowl! Even without a appearance from prince...

  2. Some things just whet your appetite for more....

    Got the bivy sack today---looks great! Glad I could offer it.



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