Remember that song “Oh What a Night”, Frankie Valli…..well that’s what I woke up thinking about…….I didn’t wake up every 20 minutes thinking it was 1:45 AM when Team #10 was going back on the clock at Kaltag, and wondering if Team 17 was going to be able to match the split time….that’s how it all started for me sometime Tuesday morning……and the day just kept getting better and better……
The board shook from it’s very foundation, the leading pack was jumping positions, and when they arrived in Nome, I wonder how many bets made were so far off base he have to chuckle now? Team #10 never gave up ground, they held their throttle steady and eventually ended up in Nome about 13 minutes off last year’s fast times to Nome. Tight behind them were the guys that had stayed in 3-4-5 position all the way to the coast wearing Bib #7 Davis/Simon they made their move and stole some ground, time in the pit will give them a tighter grasp and we will find that out as the clock ticks away today, WRENCHIN WEDNESDAY!!!!
There were troubles on the trail yesterday for #17, #8 and #2, and a whole lot more…..the terrain was rough, hard and the temperature and winds anted in as a whole other competitor. Mother Nature wasn’t kind to the course and although there isn’t a lot of snow, what is there isn’t very soft and there is NO CUSHION as John Faeo said last night in the garage.
When Chris Olds took off his helmet in the kissin an huggin coral (KH Coral)…..his first words…..”In all my years running the Iron Dog that trail has to be the worst ever between White Mt. and Nome”…..Mike had proposed to him to go for the fastest time from White to Nome….Chris said “Absolutely Not”…..take it down a notch big fella, we have 22 minutes to protect and I intend to do just that……and then Mother Nature backed him up……
I saw Simon #7 take a bow at the KH coral, catch his breath and his first words were “Never thought I would be so happy to see NOME”. And then #6 shows up to give us their report and while he was happy to be here……his first thought went to how many minutes between us……I think he was happy with machines condition and although Nick was battling a fever at the start line, he looked in fine spirts and conditions……the family was there to give him his props in the KH coral and they went on their way to the garage…..remnants of a few twigs in the radiator/air box up front but otherwise the machines looked pretty darn GREEAAAATTTT!
Next up was #17 the guys that were here to protect their Championship and going for the three peat…..they had their troubles in Koyuk yesterday…..a carbide a ski and the time was ticking away…..a spectator volunteered a ski right off his sled and off the two went…..but the board rattled them down to the fourth place after riding in the snow dust of #10 for the past two days…..
I stayed to catch the George Boys/Father and Sons in the KH coral, subjects of my Day 6 story, ride em hard to the Nome line…..so hard that when Brad showed up he had no windshield, the GPS housing was flopping where a gear bag was suppose to be, lucky he was a young buck, because steering became an issue over the next 20 miles……Andy said he looked like they were both doing the Olympic Mogul run for the gold the wind drifts took you up and then forced you down and when you are already at top speeds sometimes you just have to go with the track……..there were smiles around and they were happy to be here…….by this time I had been outside in the cold and wind for about 2 hours waiting on the top 5 and I was ready for some garage time……hoped a ride with Team #25 family Darcy and Dad Dick racing alum from 1994 whom I got to chat with at the Anchorage Airport and I was off for a little warmth, get the bulky clothes off and see what was shakin in the garage…..
Teams that came in over the next three hours were in positions 6-10 and almost all the machines looked to be in pretty good shape except most notable of them #20,,,,,,Scott Faeo that entered the garage on one ski…….he had an incredible story to tell and his dad John was most impressed “Hats off to you” turns out the ski was damaged about 20 miles out of White Mt…….they bolted something on, the bolt wore off and the ski was a gonner about 20 miles from Nome…….he came in with the only the one ski to float on the worst trail section that Chris Olds has ever seen remember…….
Oh My it was a day and a night and here we are on Wednesday morning……..I will head to the garage and get some action of the 15 minute free inspections due to each racing team as they plan their next strategy…….make a list, check it twice, hand pick their pit crew and make a reservation for time on the clock with the Race Marshal crew today. Nome Banquet tonight as all the trail class guys/women are here. There will be a lot of hot air, stories and I think for the first time, most of those stories won’t be embellished too far from the truth…..it was a tough couple days for veterans so just imagine how the rookies feel…..
Welcome to Wrenchin Wednesday……about this time tomorrow I would imagine that leader board will be shaking again……..Iron Dog Maiden, Facebook Den Mother and I am signing up for the “Tired Iron Pup”