2020 Iron Dog – Day 5 Coverage

Start in the lead, stay in the lead. That's the game-plan for Team 7 as they lead the rest of the pack toward the finish line on Big Lake. In terms of racing, seconds might as well be minutes in a lot of cases. In terms of Iron Dog racing, sometimes an hour doesn't seem like a large enough lead since teams are fighting dynamic weather, dynamic trail conditions, and sometimes just battling bad luck.

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Tyler Aklestad, currently in 1st position and also in good spirits!

The race restarted in Nome at 7am, sharp, when Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad left at the flag drop to begin the second half of the race. The starting order was determined by both the course time and also the repair/maintenance time that was added to each teams time before leaving Nome.

The Nome wrench times were compiled by Stan Brown (much appreciated):
7 - 9:49 / Given 4 min for fuel delay
6 - 19:02 / 7 min for helping 39 and fuel delay
16 - 14:48
5 - 18:51
10 - 4:47 / given 5 min fuel delay
14 - 22:00 / Given 12 min fuel delay
12 - 18:01
49 - 52:01
17 - 31:42
21 - 23:58
35 - 19:26
8 - 45:20
19 - 8:05
24 - 4:22
22 - 34:27

Rookie father/son team Konrad and Luke Schruf have had a noticeably quiet and clean run for their first time on the Iron Dog trail. I suspect they aren't having any real issues and you can see from their scant 4 minute and 22 second repair/maintenance time that not much was needed for their sled.

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Team 16 Fueling in Kaltag

We've also been given some split-time data between checkpoints for some of the front-runners as well. Note the split-times between Shaktoolik and Unalakleet. Just seven minutes separates that trail time between five separate teams, which is absolutely incredible.

Nome to White Mountain
7 - 1:27
6 - 1:21
16 - 1:18
10 - 1:23
5 - 1:24
14 - 1:23

Koyuk to Shaktoolik
7 - 1:59
6 - Not Updated
16 - 1:49
10 - 1:48

Shaktoolik to Unalakleet
7 - 1:07
16 - 1:02
10 - 1:00
6 - 1:00
5 - 1:07

In what many are scratching their head at, Team 6 has decided to declare a layover in Kaltag, which was a bit unprecedented considering the front-runners will be making a long push toward Ruby. They've been racing since 7:45 this morning, declared layover at 3:42 this afternoon, which puts them at just under 8 hours behind the bars. That's a long day of riding, but several other teams will be pushing into 10-11 hours before they call it quits for the day. Maybe they are leery of breaking trail into the snowy Alaska Range or want to have other teams play out the conditions, gather info, and then make a decision. We shall see. That said, you can see from this GPS ping that Brad George was not shy on the throttle earlier today clocking in at nearly 97MPH!

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Team 6 Tyson Johnson and Brad George laying over in Kaltag

Three more teams have scratched as of today, taking the total teams forced from the race to 14 with 15 still on the trail. It was reported that Team 35 Mike Oliver and Jerrod Vaughn were fighting illness on the trail. Jerrod's wife, Jennifer, reports on Facebook: ' They tried to make it but they got about 50 or so miles out and they were having to stop every mile for Mike to puke. They are back in Nome and he is headed to the hospital.' We wish him a speedy recovery.

Following up on Robby Schachle's broken collarbone that forced him from the race, we've seen a photo of his repair at the doctor and it looks like he's carrying around a good bit of hardware for the time being. Racing at break-neck speeds across almost the entire state of Alaska certainly has its hazards.

Someone commented 'Team 7 sure loves the Yukon!' and that is certainly true. All four teams on the race to Ruby are veteran teams and these eight guys know that the Yukon river is a place to either try to make up time or stretch your lead. By the looks of the GPS data, these teams are doing just that. Team 7 will be into Ruby just before 5:30 this evening. If they take layover there, that will be roughly a 10.5 hour day behind the bars. That's not an easy task.

We reported yesterday that the Iron Dog board president Roger Brown was breaking trail south from Ruby and it has been a slow endeavor since then. They are making good progress but one track with snow still falling might mean some interesting trail conditions for these guys tomorrow. We are going to see lots of shakeups due to layover times and the roughest section of trail is still to come. Stay tuned...things could get interesting!


Thanks for the correction. It had been misspelled elsewhere and it carried over here. I’ve updated that.

Kyle April 17, 2021

My son’s name is spelled Roger Brown, not Rodger.
Thank you Kyle, for your reporting.

Roger Brown (his dad) April 17, 2021

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