Iditarod 2008: Race To The Yukon Is On!

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More updates on The Last Great Race today, as the 2008 Iditarod continues at a feverish pace.

We’re now past the halfway point of this years edition of the Iditarod, and it was musher DeeDee Jonrowe who claimed the Halfway Award by pulling into Cripple ahead of all the rest of the teams. DeeDee was shocked to find out she was first, because Paul Gebhardt had set out six hours in front of her, but Gebhardt got lost on the trail and thought that he was way off course at one point, and backtracked for hours before resuming his run. Turns out he was less then three miles from the checkpoint when he turned around, and as a result, DeeDee took the prize.

As predicted, The Leaderboard has once again shifted back towards the mushers who were able to grab their 24 hour rest period back in Takotna. As a result some familiar names are once again near the top. Currently running in first place is Lance Mackey who is hoping to pull off a repeat performance of last year in which he won both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in both years. Behind him, running in second place is Hans Gatt, followed by Jeff King, who made a big move yesterday propelling him up the leaderboard, not unlike the move he made back in 2006 when he claimed his fourth win. No word yet if Salem was leading his team at the time. Rick Swenson was fourth to pull out of Cripple, with Kjetil Backen now running fifth.

Now the race for the Yukon is underway, and the Iditablog did a great job of explaining why that’s important to the mushers. The first one to reach the Ruby checkpoint is awarded a gourmet meal cooked over a camp stove by the head chef from the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage. A rare treat indeed while out on the trail. They also get to pocket $5000 in cash, which buys a lot of Purina Dog Chow for the guys who are really doing all the work. The gourmet menu looks like this:

Appetizer:
Chicken and Wild Mushroom Terrine with roasted red and yellow pepper coulis

Soup:
Yukon Potato Bisque with shrimp ravioli

Fish Course:
Halibut Flowers on a bed of peach chutney

Meat Course:
Filet of Beef stuffed with Alaskan King Crab, asparagus and bleu cheese blueberry demi glace and shallot roasted duchess potatoes

Cheese Plate:
Petite Brie en Croute gewurztaminer poached pear and fig compote

Dessert:
Raspberry Crepes with bittersweet chocolate sauce and creme de menthe

Yum! Sounds great to me! I’ve never had a trail meal like that one. Usually it’s GORP for me!

Update: According to The Official Iditarod Site Lance Mackey is the first one into Ruby, thus claiming the 5000 clams and the wonderful gourmet trail meal! Congrats Lance!

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