Monday, March 02, 2009


That's the speed plot of Jill's ride so far. It definitely indicates some bike pushing and slow conditions. It appears things got slow right around Flathorn Lake. The Race Update indicates there is drifting snow in open areas (like an open lake!) on top of the freshly fallen stuff.

She rolled into the first checkpoint, Yentna Station, at about 2:40am according to the SPOT (the leaderboard has not been updated with an official time). By contrast, last year she made Yentna by 9pm -- about six hours slower! I'm sure she's taking it all in stride, and remember that last year trail conditions in the first portion of the race were just about ideal, so slower is expected.

I haven't yet seen indication that Jill, Geoff or Billy have progressed beyond Yentna yet. I'll keep watching.
Sunday, March 01, 2009

30 down, 300+ to go

Jill at the start -- Photo courtesy Evan Hone

The sun is down on day one and Jill is some 30 miles into the race. So far so good -- temps are in the teens and the trails appear to be rideable. Her average speed so far has been above 6mph, which means riding. I had read on another racer's blog that there was 6-7" of new snow in Anchorage recently, so I was wondering if even the first few miles might be slow. I'm sure we will learn more about conditions as racers begin filtering into the first checkpoint, Yentna Station, sometime tonight.

I've been working on a better SPOT monitoring page. Something that shows both Jill's current position and the route with checkpoints. Here's what I have so far:

Hopefully I will be able refine it in the near future. Right now the checkpoints show up as the same symbol as Jill's current position. You'll have to click around to see which one she is (as of right now, of course, she's between the start and the first checkpoint, so it's pretty easy).

Also, I can add any other racer carrying a SPOT to that page. If you know of any other ITI folks with a SPOT shared page, please post a comment. I know Geoff posted a link to his, but it's not working. If anyone knows of a different share page for Geoff, drop me an email at smorris AT or post a comment.

Special thanks to Kevin Montgomery of Tour Divide for his help setting up the page, and the use of some of his code.

For now, Jill will soon merge onto the Yentna River, which the Iditarod trail follows for many miles. It can be a bit of a monotonous stretch, especially in the dark.

Jill on the move

The first few SPOT points have started trickling in, indicating the start of the 2009 Iditarod Trail Invitational for Jill!

In the above map you can see the Knik Bar where the race starts, and that she is rolling out over the frozen lake.

Unfortunately it seems Geoff's SPOT page is having some issues. I'm not sure what's up, but I'll try to see if I can get some points out of it.