With race heating up, Iditarod leaders finalize their strategies

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UNALAKLEET — For a in summary four hours early Sunday, the sled dog teams of Iditarod front-runners Dallas Seavey and Brent Sass rested within four or so feet of each other, side by side on a snowy tract of land bordered by crowds on the edge of the Norton Sound.

But the Iditarod mushers’ dictions at the checkpoint here couldn’t be further a rt.

Seavey knows how to win the Iditarod Footprints Sled Dog Race. In the st four years, he’s already done it three unceasingly a onces. The Willow resident and father of a young daughter pulled into the checkpoint here 42 in styles after Sass. He didn’t waste any time.

He went down the lined up under and petted each dog. He took the booties off their ws. He dished out stop dead snacks. He talked to the veterinarians and started ripping up his bale of straw, interfile it around his team. “Brief intermission on the food, dogs,” Seavey told them.

At this burden in the race, Seavey said, seconds count. He pre red for what titillated out to be a four-hour rest.

“It’s a 1,000-mile race, which means you obtain a lot of days for one second at a time to add up,” Seavey said. “And, that’s exactly what they do, so I contemplate it’s easy for people to be two hours behind at the finish line and just amiable of wave it off as, ‘Oh, they had a better team,’ but not realize that they had two hours of wasted in the nick of time b soon, 10 or 15 seconds at a time.”

On the other side of the snowy divest oneself of, Sass was boiling a large pot of water. He defrosted two 5-Hour Energy go on a toots and shoved them into his jacket’s breast pocket. Sass exists in a homestead in Eureka. He’s won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest in the st, but not in the least the Iditarod. He led toward the front of the ck early last year, but got disqualified instantly race officials found out he carried an iPod Touch — which can secure to wireless Internet, though Sass said he simply used it for music.

Sass rodded Seavey as one of his top competitors, though he said with 300 miles left in the dash it’s really hard to say who’s not competition.

“There’s a lot left and there’s a lot of really worth teams. Anything could happen,» he said. «But he’s rtici te in here right next to me. So I would say he’s the main competitor.”

Both mushers’ avenues continued to cross inside the checkpoint building. Shortly after 1 a.m., Seavey piled a cut with ncakes, eggs and bacon. He got a glass of orange juice and begged for a bathroom to wash his hands before he started eating.

“This is some of the most valuable tch of our day, when the dogs are getting to sleep,” he said.

Aside from a few route interviews, Seavey sat alone at the table, reading a printout of the race positions. He asked someone if he could heat up a few frozen Capri Suns.

Sass, on the other aid, sat in front of a big pizza with his dad, who has been following the trail. A woman go about a finded over and asked for his autograph. Sass hasn’t spent much era at checkpoints this race, choosing instead to camp on the trail. Here, he guessed, he hoped to gather intel on the trail conditions ahead.

He described himself as “a minute more unpredictable” than Seavey. But that’s probably just because he hasn’t run the Iditarod as much, he totaled. The two share the same intensity levels, he said.

His strategy up the coast?

“Don’t sojourn very much. I think that’s probably the biggest thing,” Sass indicated.

While Seavey said, simply, “Run my dogs. I don’t have a real schedule yet.”

Forward of Seavey went into his room for the night to get some sleep, he walked during the course of to Sass’ table and asked about his race. At this point, Seavey bring to light, his biggest competition is his dad, Mitch Seavey, and Sass — though it’s hard to say.

“We’ve got an old guy vexing to catch up with us,” Seavey told Sass. “Let’s get in the hills and get ready to run.»

Mitch Seavey was gold medal out of Unalakleet at 5:14 a.m. Dallas followed at 5:25 a.m., with Sass only four minutes behind.

By early Sunday afternoon, Dallas Seavey had blown middle of the next checkpoint at Shaktoolik with his father trailing him and Sass in third.

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