Kolin Smith created this meme from a Heather Tuckness Sottosanti photo.
**Update #1**It's been snowing and blowing all across Interior Alaska the last two days and it could play a deciding factor especially between the top two teams. From Ruby to Tanana is the longest stretch on the trail with no checkpoint for 120 miles. This is complicated further by the fresh snow which will cause the sleds to burn more fuel between the two stops. Racers are allowed to get fuel from their pilots, who either land or air drop it. If flying weather isn't good today, then the racers will have to find someone from Tanana to haul some fuel back to them. Without extra fuel there is little chance the leaders will be able to make it the entire 120 miles on their 15 gallons of fuel. This 120 mile stretch is the only place on the trail where the racers can receive outside help from someone not in this race.
The report is that from Ruby to Tanana the trail is not yet broken, but that Arnold Marks Jr. has left Tanana with fuel and is headed towards Ruby. Team #8, Aklestad/Johnson, have a 24 minute lead over Davis/Simons, BUT they will be breaking trail for Team #41 who will burn less fuel and likely be a bit quicker. This is going to get interesting to see how it unfolds. I'm sure the engineers and technicians in Minneapolis and Valcourt are on pins and needles! We have received word that the father/son from Maine, Team #31, has officially scratched in Unalakleet. Word is that Tim had gnarly a crash and has suffered a concussion. He's OK at this point. Helmet not so much. He was taken care of at the clinic and is in good condition.
Here is a photo of Tim and Remington Lessard at the starting line in Anchorage.
I don't have any details at this point but it looks like Team #19 of Harold Attla and Archie Beetus have scratched in Kaltag. So we now have 19 teams that have scratched and 16 teams left in the race. It is hard to overstate how tough this race is on men and machines. ***It looks like something is up with Team #41. They went on the clock 30 minutes ago but haven't left Galena yet. Meanwhile Team #8 is through Ruby and making good time toward Tanana. Everyone will hold up in Tanana tonight and race to the finish line tomorrow.
**Update #2**The top two teams are being held over in Tanana before being released to the finish line tomorrow. TnT of Team #8 checked in 74 minutes ahead of Davis/Simons who had to fix both rear suspensions before leaving Galena. And here are some details concerning Team #19's scratch: 'Information released by family: Harold Attla has been flown to Fairbanks with a concussion. He also has lacerations on his back and legs from studs. He is in good condition. He crashed in front of Nulato and was taken directly to the clinic." Prayers that he will be OK and fully recover. Gueco and VanMeter are solidly in 3rd place at this point having checked out of Ruby at 16:02. Team #49 'The Sons of Thunder" left Ruby 31 minutes later interestingly they are the only Polaris team in the top 6. Right behind them, leaving just 6 minutes later is Team #28 of Gundersen/Norum.
Carole Huntington's photo shows Team #17 getting fuel halfway between Ruby and Tanana at Kokrine Hills Bible Camp.
Planning on That ! And going to make a point to hang with Tom ( my Back country Rebel ) next year….
Do you know what’s going on with Team #6? They’re hanging in there, but keep seeing them drop so wondering if there’s equipment issues, crashes, etc.? Thank you again for all your wonderful updates!
We appreciate the feedback! It has been a team effort in getting these updates together, but we are glad that you’re enjoying them.
Thanks Kolin! I will edit that.
Photo caption of Chad and Dusty was created by me, Kolin Smith. Was just shared by Rebecca Charles on facebook. Great coverage thus far however!
Your coverage takes me way back to when KABN radio covered the Iditarod Race. They had in depth interviews with racers along the trail and from villagers. That type of coverage is missing these days. Thanks for the great coverage!!
It’s a shame that iron dog doesn’t provide better coverage than a non profit! Thank you for. Your effort!
Great coverage as always. I’m from Minnesota I’ve been watching The Iron Dog Race for many years now. From articles to Posting’s on forums to the iron dog website .. It’s amazing and how far it has come for this race to where it is now from where I first started reading about it. Is so awesome. ! As for at the gas stop for Team 41 . To hear him say those words in that video trying to get the message out for parts that need to be replaced for team 16 definitely shows you on a true sportsman. I’m a big fan of this team 41 now , I will continue to cheer on other teams as always in this race each year ! It was sad to see team 4 have to scratch and end up this way but I have a feeling that they’ll be back again just like a lot of the other teams that had to scratch. It’s incredible on the conditions of the weather and the riding conditions that these teams have to go through . I still can’t get over how team 41 is so compassionate and the true sportsmanship that’s in them , to stop and check on them and then leave and go on. Thanks for doing what you guys do on letting us know what’s going on on a daily basis this lower 48’r can’t wait to be there for the start and finish one day in the future. !
Glad you are enjoying the coverage Mark. And yes, you need to experience this race first hand in Big Lake or Nome or Fairbanks…..or all 3!