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  Planes, Bikes and Auto Wrecks
  Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Iditasport 100
Norwil
Pat Call I: Why We Missed the 100
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Pat Call II: Iditasport Madness
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Hey, this is Pat Norwil calling from Anchorage, Alaska. We had the Iditasport 100 this weekend and John Stamstad and I were on our way out to the race, minding our own business, as usual, and I wish these Anchorage folks would learn how to drive. Icy, wet roads...minding our own business, cruising right along...got rearended – the big time rear end – swerving all over the road. It was ugly, it was way ugly. Had to abandon the car, jump in another guy's rig; hit the race at about 45 minutes late...


Pat Norwil
But just in time to see the race promoter, Dan Bull, still frantically working on getting his bike loaded with all his Iditasport paraphernalia. Had his big bag of salad and dressings and headed on out. Once again, Rocky Reifenstuhl, from Fairbanks, Alaska, made it number seven in a row and his wife, Gail Koepf, was the first place female biker and she is also the studly mama that has done all four divisions and won all four. No one's ever done that. Pretty awesome go Gail.

Jim Renkert was first place skier. Fred Bull was the second place skier. Skiers were hot on the bikers' trail. Jim Renkert was saying, if he had another 20 miles of trail he would have caught Rocky. Rocky was fading big time at the end. He didn't have any good puke stories though, but he pulled it out of the bag.

There was a Korean film crew with their little Korean model out on the course. They had her jumping in frozen lakes with her bike, diving off cliffs with her bike, skiing down into ravines – it was a total show. Should be live T.V. in South Korea.

John and I decided to just go out and have a good time; go out for a little overnighter out on the trail – build a big bonfire, which started a chain reaction. A lot of the racers saw how nice and cozy that bonfire looked and decide to hold up and wait until light. It was a beautiful night. Warm, warm, warm Alaska. Warmer than I had ever seen it – 35 degrees out on the Yentna River.

A lot of racers took the wrong turn; went up the Big Susitna to no man's land. It was a race of attrition – 40 scratchers out of 130 in the field. They were chugging along in the foot division. A lot of sore feet, swollen feet, crotch rot. Just staggering to get to the checkpoints – these guys were totally abusing themselves.

Next on the plate is the Iditasport Extreme race to McGrath and then the continuation race to Nome. So, this is Pat Norwil, calling it a day and stay tuned. Next Saturday we hit the trail. Fifty hearty souls are heading over the Alaska Range – who knows what's going to happen.

Part II: Iditasport Madness

John cooking
Hey this is Pat Norwil again and I just wanted to add a little bit more to the first message. So we had a German rock star, John Kelly (he's five-foot-two), who came out with full-on media coverage—the German media was all over him like a bad dream. We also had the Korean, "princess" she was nicknamed, who was totally abused by the camera crew; thrown into Campbell Lake, which they had to break a hole in the ice to throw her in. They had her doing so many bizarre things that one of the checkpoint guys threatened to call the sheriff on the these guys; he felt like it was a human rights abuse.

The race promoter was seen brawling with his girlfriend on the trail after he got her drunk on rum and coke...I guess they kissed and made up and she went back to the last checkpoint, scratched and abandoned her custom $5,000 bike and flew out.

It was an well-organized race, with lots of Euro-media: the Swiss attended, the Germans, of course, brought on the full-on crew, Korean. We were just watching it all happen. John and I just kicked back at each checkpoint and watched people stagger on through.

It was quite interesting to see a race at the "back of the pack," something that neither John nor I had ever done before and we definitely got the big comic show, watching some of these guys come in with the five-mile death stare, as they plopped themselves down in total exhaustion and guys that, day two, Sunday, were walking their bikes on flat lakes with surfaces as hard as a rock that anybody could ride, but were just completely spent from a night of pushing across from the Eagle ----/Rabbit Lake checkpoint to Hardy Beach, which turned out to be full of Moose holes and completely un-ridable after about the 30th person went through.

Rocky totally pulled it off. He was almost like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat at the end. He had five guys hot on his tail; any one of those guys could have won. Two got lost and Rocky held on. Mike Estes came on strong and Rocky held on. Mike Estes came on strong towards the end and finished in 5th place. Dave Pramann, from Minnesota, took second, John Roberts took third and Eric Warkentin, from California, was 4th, with Janice Tower, from Anchorage, he second woman biker and Patti Jo Struve, from Lake Tahoe, the third woman biker.

I think the hot story was definitely (skier) Jim Renkert, from Anchorage, who was only two hours behind the bike--the top-three bike guys. So, he totally rocked, totally rockin' and rollin'. And Tim Hewit and Tom Jarding were deemed tied for the foot people. I think they set a course record of, like, 20 hours, and that's 20 hours of pulling a sled with a bunch of s*** in it, and that is like no fun at all. Most of those runners were totally hobbled by the 60-mile mark. Got some good photos coming at you. So, that's it, bye.

Pat Norwil, MountainZone.com Correspondent

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