DeeDee Jonrowe second to scratch Iditarod 35

PUNTILLA LAKE — DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow scratched from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race here Monday night after falling victim to the same patch of ice that took out four-time champ Doug Swingley earlier in the day.

Race judge Art Church said Jonrowe appeared to have broken the pinkie bone in her left hand when her sled crashed about five miles from the checkpoint.

There might have been additional damage to her hand as well, he said. She told him it was a hand she had broken before, and that she decided it would be a good idea to abandon this year’s race.

The checker who watched Jonrowe sign her name on the scratch list said the musher speculated that the break might have been due to bones weakened by the chemotherapy treatments she receives for breast cancer.

Church said that Jacques Philip, a Frenchman who lives in Nenana, also said he plans to scratch Tuesday morning.

"He just wasn’t having any fun out there," Church said.

The trail ahead didn’t look very inviting either. Mushers who hadn’t made it through Rainy Pass were probably wishing they had.

Church told Rainy Pass checkers to tell mushers heading north that the trail markers to Rohn are gone — blown away by wind.

"It’s blowing like a bastard up there," he said.

Church estimated the wind at 40 mph. The temperature was near minus- 10. Together, they would drive the windchill to 43 degrees below zero.

Jonrowe had struggled from the start. The 53-year-old musher from Willow looked ashen as she fed her dogs and sipped on some hot chocolate earlier in the day at Finger Lake.

A two-time runnerup who was fourth last year, she was racing her 25th Iditarod. She fell off her sled three or four times on the way into the Finger checkpoint, and at one point was dragged for some distance.

"The snow was slipping and the runners were sliding," said Jonrowe. "I am bone-tired."

She wondered whether 25-mph winds and the 30-below wind chill were sucking the strength from her body, or if it was the long-term affects of chemotherapy that was making her feel so lousy. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and underwent a double mastectomy, but never stopped racing.

"It is harder after chemo," Jonrowe said. "I am not going to be silly and try to pretend that didn’t make a difference. It did.

"I’m not complaining," she said. "I’ve been out here enough years to know there are a lot of things that can happen on the Iditarod trail."

And some of them are bad things.

Daily News reporter Kevin Klott and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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