Armchair Musher: Sebastian Schnuelle

Sebastian Schuelle won the Yukon Quest in 2009 and has been a top finisher in the Iditarod, including second in 2009. Schnuelle, from Whitehorse, Yukon, won the Iditarod Humanitarian Award in the 2010. He'll be following this year's Iditarod on snowmachine and writing about it for the ADN. Follow him on his blog or on Facebook.

Patience is the name of the game - 3/16/2012 3:32 pm

Rookie of the year - 3/14/2012 3:18 pm

The push up the coast - 3/12/2012 9:13 am

The race on the coast is on - 3/11/2012 3:01 pm

Nulato sees a blast of mushers midday - 3/10/2012 8:06 am

Yukon thoughts - 3/9/2012 7:46 pm

Race strategy along the Yukon River - 3/9/2012 9:20 am

How Jim Lanier decided to go for the gold - 3/8/2012 4:42 pm

Patience is the name of the game

First musher Trent Herbst races musher Matt Giblin towards Nome Friday. (Sebastian Schnuelle )First musher Trent Herbst races musher Matt Giblin towards Nome Friday. (Sebastian Schnuelle )

From Nome --

The middle of the pack is arriving in Nome, while the back of the pack is still as far out as Shaktoolik. This morning Trent Herbst and Matt Giblin arrived in 37th and 38th place respectively, both running dogs from Jake Berkowitz's Apex Kennels in Big Lake. Between the three mushers they have fielded five teams for 1,000-mile races this winter, no small feat.

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Rookie of the year

Top rookie: Brent Sass finished the Iditarod in 13th place on Wednesday (Sebastian Schnuelle)Top rookie: Brent Sass finished the Iditarod in 13th place on Wednesday (Sebastian Schnuelle)

From Nome --

Brent Sass pulled into Nome under sunny skies to a cheering crowd. The loudest cheer comes from his dad, Mark Sass, who is a common figure in all the dog races Brent has entered. Both father and son are vibrant with energy, which translates to the appearance of his dog team. Brent ran a nice string of 13 dogs into 13th place in a very respectable time of 9 days, 20 hours, 25 minutes and 25 seconds.

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The push up the coast

7:45 p.m. update: A hell of a race to White Mountain

Talking to Dallas on the ice, he was confident that Aliy would now more focus on what is behind her.

He was swift in his tasks, make sure every bootie is on, chickenfeet gaitors are on. The dogs left focused, Aaron Burmeisters old leader "Elim" in lead. Aaron is now in 4th place (behind Ramey Smyth), being beat by his own old leader. As soon as Dallas had left his camp spot, Aliy Zirkle came around the corner, urging her dogs to keep on going. They also looked focused. Those two will have a hell of a race to White Mountain. Apperantly at some point to Elim, Aliy had already caught Dallas once. And both have to look over their shoulder for Ramey Smyth!

Dallas Seavey at his campspot outside Elim on Monday afternoon. (Sebastian Schnuelle)Dallas Seavey at his campspot outside Elim on Monday afternoon. (Sebastian Schnuelle)

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The race on the coast is on

From Unalakleet --

Running the Yukon River from Nulato to Kaltag was a blast. Flat as a pancake, we could really make time. I now know that my machine tops out at 70 mph, Gerd's does 85 mph. I want that one.

In Kaltag we caught up with the front runners, and just as Aliy Zirkle left we pulled in. As before, her team looked sharp and focused. The others were resting in the afternoon sun, mushers were sleeping in the Community Center. I took a few more sleeping mushers shots, but have been scolded for posting those, so I won´t, although I still see nothing bad with that.

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Nulato sees a blast of mushers midday

Note: We've posted a gallery of Sebastian's Iditarod photos here.


SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

Wow - Nulato is the place to be right now.

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Yukon thoughts

Aliy Zirkle travels down the Yukon River on Friday. (Sebastian Schnuelle)Aliy Zirkle travels down the Yukon River on Friday. (Sebastian Schnuelle)

From Nulato --

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Race strategy along the Yukon River

Under the lights: Mitch Seavey parking his team in Ruby. (Sebastian Schnuelle)Under the lights: Mitch Seavey parking his team in Ruby. (Sebastian Schnuelle)

Note: This analysis was written before Zirkle arrived in Ruby around 9 a.m. and continued onward toward Galena.

From Ruby --

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How Jim Lanier decided to go for the gold

Into Cripple: Jim Lanier (Sebastian Schnuelle photo)Into Cripple: Jim Lanier (Sebastian Schnuelle photo)

From Cripple --

Jim Lanier is the first Musher into the Cripple Checkpoint. Under almost sunny skies his team was led into the checkpoint by a single leader.

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Dogs first

From Takotna --

Dogs first.

That seems to be the slogan of the back-of-the-pack mushers. And that does not mean that the front mushers do not have the same rule, its just that there are more experienced and confident in their own decisions, than mushers further back in the standings, who more often seek a second opinion of a veterinarian or fellow experienced musher. Back-of-the-pack these days has also a changed meaning.
Ed Stielstra is his way to Takotna.Ed Stielstra is his way to Takotna.

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Seven champions on the trail to McGrath

From McGrath --

We left Nikolai right after Aaron Burmeister. At times the trail was quite blown in, specially along the chain of open meadows and lakes.

While passing teams towards the front, I started to realize that there was a pattern emerging: Lance Mackey, Dallas Seavey, Jeff King, Mitch Seavy, Hugh Neff, John Baker and Aily Zirkle, who was running up front about 20 minutes ahead of everybody else.

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Report from Rohn: Short-term or long-term parking?

Sebastian posted this update early Tuesday morning --

Snow on trailSnow on trail

We made it to the Bear Creek Cabin, which is about 32 miles short of Nikolai. Its been a wild ride as usual. Rainy Pass was windy, but not too bad. Visibility was a real challenge as the light was more than flat. I managed to flip my machine on its side twice. Good thing we were two people to bring it back upright. And also a good thing we went ahead of the dog teams, so we were not in anybody's way.

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'Iditapuppies!' Plus: Pete Kaiser's conservative strategy

Mitch Seavey arrives in Rainy Pass. Sebastian Schnuelle photo.Mitch Seavey arrives in Rainy Pass. Sebastian Schnuelle photo.

UPDATE: 'Iditapuppies!' and Kaiser's conservative strategy

1 p.m. Teams are piling in. They are either parking to the left or right of the trail and are guided into parking spots by volunteers. Not all teams are listening equally well.

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Showtime on Fourth Avenue

Sebastian Schnuelle mushes down Fourth Avenue during the 2011 Iditarod's ceremonial start in Anchorage with his father, Friedhelm Schnuelle, in the sled. (Photo courtesy of Sebastian Schnuelle)Sebastian Schnuelle mushes down Fourth Avenue during the 2011 Iditarod's ceremonial start in Anchorage with his father, Friedhelm Schnuelle, in the sled. (Photo courtesy of Sebastian Schnuelle)

Today is the day. Sixty-six Iditarod mushers — 15 rookies and 51 veterans — will line up on Fourth Avenue to run their teams 11 miles through the heart of Anchorage.

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