From Kyle Hopkins in Nome --
If you made one big mistake in the merciless 2012 Iditarod, you lost your shot at the win. Two blunders? Top ten was out of the question.
Just ask Ken Anderson of Fairbanks.
“This was kind of the year to do really well,” Anderson, 39, said today. He'd entered the race sensing he could win. His huskies were the right age and the right speed. He had momentum, notching a 9th place finish in 2011 and a fourth place in 2010.
But Anderson’s title chances began to evaporate early with a seemingly small miscalculation, he said. He stayed at one rest stop just two hours longer than he should have, he said, throwing his schedule out of alignment. Soon, Anderson found his team ending his runs at 2 p.m. instead of noon -– the additional sunlight siphoning crucial energy the dogs would need later in the race.
Then in Nulato, about 345 miles from the finish according to the GPS, Anderson hit the trail with the wrong plastic runners for his sled. A dumb mistake, he said, but with snow conditions already slowing teams, it may have been enough to knock him out of the top spots.
Anderson finished the race in 12th place this morning at 9:56 a.m. with only eight dogs in harness.
“The field was just so competitive this year that you make one mistake, boom, boom, boom, you’re caught by three teams,” he said.