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  1. #1
    Fatback
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    Iditarod Trail Invitational

    Just got in from the start of the race. It was sunny and 16 degrees. Approx. 14" of new snow that was fairly packed for the first 10mi or so, then softened as the trails got wider. Jeff Oatley had already put the smackdown on the field with a good size lead and was rolling strong at Burma Rd. Many competitors took different routes at that point, so it will be interesting to see the times at the first checkpoint. With clear skies, it looks to dip well below "none" tonight.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  2. #2
    Caveman
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    Rode out almost to Burma Road and back, Trail conditions were great, just a beautiful day riding through the trees in the sun with views of the Chugash on the way back. It will be brisk tonight on the Yetna for sure. I'd post some photos but I seem to have a defective memory card... grrr.

  3. #3
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    Hey Guys
    Is Rocky riding a bike with fat wheels,shock horror!
    Did Mike Curiak set of after everyone again??
    How was my mate James doing,looks like his feet will be tested on the cold river to Skwentna

  4. #4
    Fatback
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlhutch
    Hey Guys
    Is Rocky riding a bike with fat wheels,shock horror!
    Did Mike Curiak set of after everyone again??
    How was my mate James doing,looks like his feet will be tested on the cold river to Skwentna

    Hi Carl-Rocky is not racing this year do to health issues, and you know they must be bad if he's not racing. Mike has not left yet-he's in town today, and leaving tomorrow I believe. James was up in the top few riders, looking good, strong and cheerful.
    Hope to see you next year.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  5. #5
    Fatback
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    Race pics

    Just got some pics from yesterday's start. Jeff O, Chris W, and the starting line. Note that Alec P has a ski on the front. By the time he reached Burma Rd he had chucked it, but my guess is that he now regrets that. Damn, couldn't get the starting line photo to upload. Wrong file extension-anyone know that kind of shtuff?
    Thanks to Jim Jager for the photos.
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    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  6. #6
    FatBike Fiend
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    Coupla pics

    from the start.
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  7. #7
    Caveman
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    Saved the memory card. phew..

    The good photos were taken by Dan Bailey:

    Jeff Oatley


    Billy Koitzsch


    Phil Hofstetter







    Tim Hewitt

    Geoff



    Tom Jarding


    Cory, Ed & Pete


    Jill

    Pete




    Last edited by Bearbait; 03-05-2009 at 05:57 PM.

  8. #8
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    those checkpoint times are telling a story.
    Just saw Geoff and Jill scratched.....damn.

  9. #9
    Caveman
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    major bummer (if true?). They both had lingering colds before starting...

  10. #10
    Fat!Drunk!Slow!
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    From Alaska Ultrasport News: http://www.alaskaultrasport.com/latest_news.html

    "It has been an eventful day here for me since I have been in McGrath. There have been some scratches in Yentna. Riccardo Ghirardi had problems with his knees and decided to stop here. Geoff Roes also had knee issues. Jill Homer stepped into some overflow last night and as some frostbite on her toes. As far as I know it is minor, but not continuing on is a good decision to prevent further damage to the toes. Three of them flew out to Willow and Geoff and Jill are staying with friends in Palmer."
    Sorry to hear. )O: Hope those toes and knees are feeling better!

  11. #11
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    a little late..

    Great photos Mark and Eric!

    A couple images from Seven Mile Lake and a Picasa Link - not great photos, but when I see at times that over 50 "guests" are viewing this page I'm sure that there are those that will enjoy any pic of their racers - and all of them were still smiling at this point ...

    http://picasaweb.google.com/mesotony/2009Ultrasport#

    T
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    Last edited by Mesotony; 03-02-2009 at 10:50 PM.
    "I get a buzz from being cold and wet ~ the pleasure seems to balance out the pain" - Blue, Red and Grey The Who By Numbers

  12. #12
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Nice paceline.

    Great photos, gents. Much appreciated.

    It's a shame for the folks who put that much prep into the event to have to scratch so fast. I feel for them.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  13. #13
    runs with scissors
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    A bit late… more photos of the race start.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/DOSBUGS/...eat=directlink

    Good luck Frank, Bob, and Bill!
    -Fred
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  14. #14
    .......................
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    I like Pete's rig, nice and small, and finally a good use for road bars! One pair of skate, one pair of classic I presume?
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  15. #15
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    Im hopeless at remembering times but isnt Jeff`s 6.20 hrs Finger lake to Puntilla really, really fast or am i getting confused as usual.

    You reading this Kathi???

  16. #16
    Bill M
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    Really fast? Yes. Unbelievable!

    This is Kathi in McGrath. Finally got caught up including an APRN talk on Talk AK on the radio this morning while I was trying to update everyone.
    I've got last year's in an out times on my laptop here with me to compare checkpoint times.
    Bill and I did Fingerlake to Puntilla in 8 hours with a phenomal trail last year. I thought that was fast?! Bill and I agreed that that section had never been that good for riding before. What is happening out there? Man Jeff is kickin butt. I am afraid going over the pass might put a damper on that, I hope not, the trail over Rainy Pass is being put in as we speak. I sure hope to get a call from our Sat Phone in Rohn tonight with an update.

    Kathi

  17. #17
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    Jeff Oatley you stud.I think hes morphed himself into a snow machine.Hes taken the bare minimum of time to dry clothes and catch a bite to eat up until now and he goes and rides that ***** of a section in 6.20.

  18. #18
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    Carl - last year we left Shell lake lodge at 6:30 AM, got to Finger Lake at 10 ish, stayed long enough to eat and get our drops, and left by 11. I think we got to Puntilla just after dark. 7PM? So 8 hours last year if I remember right? On good trail.

    Is it Rainy Pass or Hells Gate this year? OOPS - just saw Kathi's post. That could be a long day alone.

  19. #19
    Caveman
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    Guys- he's obviously using his aero bars...

  20. #20
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    Freakin roadie. Probably shaved his legs too.

  21. #21
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    We the people ... Results Analyzed

    If anyone is interested, I put my spreadsheet skills to use and analyzed the 2008 ITI (McGrath) race results. It has a breakdown of the time between checkpoints, at CPs and total traveling and resting time for every CP:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...3JQt3Tl9D5TGZw

    For the ongoing race (2009) I have a work in progress spreadsheet on google docs that is obviously lagging behind the website results. You can see that here:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...iLph3CRg&gid=0

    In theory this is a google doc and anyone is welcome to update it. It is simple and the instructions are included in the first "tab" (called "Instructions") of the spreadsheet itself. Some folks were still in at Skwentna, so the analysis is only complete for Yentna Station. For Skwentna the place order is only partially complete.

    Send me an email at bicyclepusher-2008@yahoo.com if you have any questions.

  22. #22
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    not much chit chat about THE race on here???
    who`s guessing Bill has half a dozen racers helping him make a trail???

  23. #23
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    I was just picturing 3 guys on skis gliding past 13 guys standing around with 40lb bikes in 4' of snow with no trail.

    I also considered that Jeff might have broken trail down the Dalzell alone. Can you imagine what that would have been like last year without 9 of us taking turns?

  24. #24
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    The last two tracking points from Billy indicate that he's traveled a distance of about 2 miles in 2 hours and 50 minutes. That's 0.7 mph. I am guessing waist-deep snow.

  25. #25
    FatBike Fiend
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    Hmmm

    As I sit comfortably ensconsed in a warm house hearing forecasts for warm temps, 9 inches of snow and south winds to 35 mph through the Alaska Range passes, hope everybody's hanging in there out on the trail. Sounds like slow and dicey going through the pass.
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
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  26. #26
    k-2
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    the pass

    looks like there is somewhere between 18 - 22 people in the pass tonight depending on what you read/hear. those are two mighty small shelter cabins in the pass. i hope everyone is cozy and safe!

  27. #27
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    You gotta feel for Jeff building that lead and now he has to spend the night with Bill Merchant...poor guy.I hope Bill is sleeping with one eye open.Only kidding Bill.Last year there was really good spirits amongst the 8/9 of us trailless but the weather was good and Tim will remember better but im sure we were only 8 odd miles from Rohn.
    How good is Tracey Petervary.Huge respect for what shes achieving out there.

  28. #28
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    Hum, I really did not follow why Jeff did have to spend the night with Bill.
    Ride to Live... Live to Ride

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlhutch
    You gotta feel for Jeff building that lead and now he has to spend the night with Bill Merchant...poor guy.I hope Bill is sleeping with one eye open.Only kidding Bill.Last year there was really good spirits amongst the 8/9 of us trailless but the weather was good and Tim will remember better but im sure we were only 8 odd miles from Rohn.
    How good is Tracey Petervary.Huge respect for what shes achieving out there.
    Jeff's GPS said 7 miles straight line to Rohn when we caught the snowmachines. Seems like it ended up being 9. Some of that was rideable after we got out of the gorge. I'm guessing we really only postholed 5 to 6 miles max.

    I'm interested to see how they get out of Rohn with all of that wind and snow.

  30. #30
    FatBike Fiend
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    Donner, party of eight?

    Hopefully it won't come to that. Sounds like a hunkerfest in the cabins by Kathi's post this morning, I'm wondering if they drew straws to see who would go back to the Halfway Lake cabin. She did say four bikers headed over the pass, didn't say who they were.

    Hang in there, troops.
    Owner, Trailwerx Trails Contracting
    Palmer, Alaska
    www.trailwerx.com

  31. #31
    k-2
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    it might have something to do with 10 feet of snow and no trail?

  32. #32
    Fatback
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    20 racers trapped in the pass

    ADN reports racers caught in Rainy Pass. Here's the link:
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  33. #33
    No, that's not phonetic
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    That all sounds pretty effed up.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  34. #34
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    sounds like some of them punched through to Rohn. I hope they're tearing apart my food drop right now to regain some of the calories they probably didn't have in the past day. I've got enough bacon there to get them all to McGrath.

  35. #35
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    This race is making the GDR look like a ride in the park!
    Pete must be happy to have left the bike behind in favour of skis. Guess than might change after the big race passes them by? (Can dog sleds handle those conditions?)

    Here's hoping Mother Nature gives them a break some time real soon.

  36. #36
    Caveman
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    Usually there is no, or little snow around Rohn and on river for the first part of the Burn. It will be interesting to see if the skiers got a lead on the bikers across the Burn with all the snow this year.

  37. #37
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    I was just wondering the same thing, especially with the possibility of fresh and windblown snow across the Burn and on the Kuskokwim. If a skier can manage to stay ahead of the cyclists, would this be the first time a skier won the race to McGrath?

  38. #38
    Fatback
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    Jeff Oatley wins!

    Congratulations to Jeff. Way to go man. I figured once you guys regrouped, there was no way the riders were going to win. Can't wait to hear the story. Cory can't be far behind on skis. Best of luck to the rest and all who are heading to Nome. Let's hope we get word on Yair soon.
    Speedway Cycles owner http://fatbackbikes.com

  39. #39
    Caveman
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    Congrats Jeff,
    You are a machine, it was your time. Looking foreword to hearing the stories.

  40. #40
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    Good job Jeff.
    Just think you won a free entry to come back next year and do it all again ;-)

  41. #41
    Bill M
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    Amazing Racers

    I just got back to town and thought I should update everyone with the rest of the story!!!
    I did bury the Viking many times, got knocked down, stomped and left for dead by the Iditarod Trail but our racers did not!!!!! I witnessed first hand the most amazing group of racers probably in the world leave what no one would call a trail and head over the Pass in fresh snow with no base. 99.9 percent of folks would not have made it 100 feet in conditions like that without bikes and these racers left knowing they faced several miles of the same. When they arrived where I scratched as trailbreaker everyone was upbeat and had the attitude, "It is what it is!" We spent the night in the roofless Rainy Pass Hilton (No one was sent back to the halfway cabin) and they left the next morning. It makes me proud to say I know these unbelievably strong men and women I had the chance to see take on the Iditarod Trail in conditions no words can describe. I bogged down about 1 1/2 miles from the top of the Pass and the Rohn crew was stuck about 6 miles from the top on the other side. The racers broke the first trail over the Pass this year. We had 14 inches of fresh snow before the second group left the Hilton and yet they teamed up and pushed over too. I was pretty worthless up there but I did take a bit of video and will try to put it together when I get back to Chickaloon so everyone can see but not really know how tough it really was. It was something that had to be experienced to understand and even though I was there I can only guess what it took to make it over the Pass to Rohn. There was no drama with this group only determination and drive to finish. Congratulations to all who finished and to those who are still out there on their way to McGrath. For Jeff Oatley thanks for looking out for me after the machine kicked my a%%. I am glad that delay didn't cost you the race. If this sounds a bit fluffy, "You would have had to be there to understand."

  42. #42
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    Bill,

    I will take issue with your humble and self-deprecating minimizing of your contribution to the success of this year's race. I can speak from 30 years of ultra-distance competition that it means a lot to us to see the RD out there, looking after racers and trying to lighten the stress-load a bit.

    I concur with your assessment that this year's edition ranks among the most gripping (although Jim Jager's solo assault on Rainy Pass in the middle of a white-out blizzard is still hard to top). I'll take the 30-below zero misery from the previous 2 years any day.

    Kudos to all....especially those game enough to push on to Nome.

  43. #43
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    I forgot to add that it's got to hurt to see the dogs ripping up the Yentna at over 17 MPH. What a difference a week can make!

  44. #44
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Huge respect and props to everyone competing this year. This weekend warrior from Kodiak is humbled. Nice jobs, one and all.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  45. #45
    Scott in Tucson
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    Wow

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill M
    I just got back to town and thought I should update everyone with the rest of the story!!!
    I did bury the Viking many times, got knocked down, stomped and left for dead by the Iditarod Trail but our racers did not!!!!! I witnessed first hand the most amazing group of racers probably in the world leave what no one would call a trail and head over the Pass in fresh snow with no base. 99.9 percent of folks would not have made it 100 feet in conditions like that without bikes and these racers left knowing they faced several miles of the same. When they arrived where I scratched as trailbreaker everyone was upbeat and had the attitude, "It is what it is!"

    Great post Bill. Glad to hear your perspective on it. "Scratched as trail breaker" -- Ha! Is that going to be in the official results?

    Big thanks for all you and Kathi do for this amazing event. You guys rock.
    Author of TopoFusion GPS Software. MTB+backpacking = bikepacking.net. Ride Diary.

  46. #46
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    Thanks for "the rest of the story," Bill. It's been incredible following along. We were thinking about you and Kathi and the ITI racers at yesterday's Moose Drewl.

  47. #47
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    Jeff Oatley WINS 2009!!! Yea! Homeboy you are a manimal! Amazing job this year, incredible stories from the trail. We are all in awe here. Kudos to you and every soul that participated in an epic race this year! Thanks for sharing it all with us. Us fair weather bikers are amazed.
    Ride to Live... Live to Ride

  48. #48
    Bill M
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    Billy Koitzsch out of Takotna

    Billy Koitzsch called in from Takotna last night about 11:00 PM and said he and Marco Berni would be leaving about midnight heading for Ophir. He sounded upbeat and said he is feeling good. We probably won't hear from him again before he reaches Shagaluk and the next phone. Their Iditarod resupply was put in place yesterday. We try not to send it out to early so maybe the wolves and ravens will leave them something to eat when they get there.

  49. #49
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    Welcome back

    Bill,

    Wow, what a race this year! Sounds like you all really earned it this time, and hopefully the hardest parts are behind the remaining racers.

    Have a cold one on all of us....

    Pat

  50. #50
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    Godspeed Mr Grady

    Sean is no doubt enjoying one of the most difficult days of his life.



    The temps are in the 30s, it is snowing heavily and the trail is very, very soft.



    My thoughts are with you Sean, you are the man for the unscratch, no matter what happens.



    I hope everyone else is cheering you on as well.



    Big props from the early '90s Philly Bike Messengers- I didn't think you youngsters were nearly so hardcore- I was very wrong!



    Pulling for you from McGrath



    Frank

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