Coming off of a much needed rest, racers were staring down roughly 1,600 additional trail miles by the time they reach the finish line back in Big Lake.
The time spent on repairs and maintenance was very fast, averaging just 16 minutes. The shortest amount of time spent doing repairs was Team 15 at just 2:11 and the longest being Team 29 at 46:15. These teams are not only exceptionally talented riders but also equally talented mechanics as well.
Photo via Heather Sottosanti
The biggest shake-up from the departure of teams from Nome was the absence of Team 14, who were mere minutes from a victory last year, who made the difficult decision to scratch to due injury. From the Iron Dog news page: 'Team 14 was in a close second-place behind current front-runners, Team 7, Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad, when the accident happened. At a spot called Walla Walla just outside of Elim, the two crossed a brief section of overflow. Boylan, in the lead, made it across unscathed. But Leslie, in Boylan’s wake, had a hard get-off – so impactful it got the attention of nearby Team 24 racer Evan Booth, who rushed to help. Booth described Leslie as being in the “fetal position,” and said at the time he was sure it would be a medevac-type of situation. “It was a rough day of riding,” Booth said of that day. “I got ejected off my machine hard once too and had to lay there a few minutes to collect myself. I’ve also been injured bad in the Iron Dog before, so I know how easily it can happen.” However, Leslie managed to get himself up, and Team 14 limped it in the additional 90-plus miles to Nome. They kept their second-place standings but knew already that their race was in jeopardy. Leslie went straight to the hospital, where he was evaluated. While he couldn’t get a definitive diagnosis, Boylan said, the hematomas and swelling were enough to incapacitate him.'
As racers left Nome, they traveled westward along the Norton Sound until they made a left turn to head North up and around the Red Dog loop, as detailed on the above image from the GPS tracking page.
With a slight change to the predetermined layover times, the 10 hour layover in Kotzebue has been scrapped due to weather and timing of the field of racers in light of when they may be expected to finish the race. As always, the remaining layover hours that must be used can be taken in 1 hour increments along the course at any checkpoint. Distances from Nome through Unalakleet are as follows:
Team 49, pictured above, was met with a long line of outstretched hands looking for a high-five as school was out for the recess hour and the students utilized that time to cheer on the Pro-Class teams as they passed through their town of Elim.
Race fan Stan Brown continues his effort in compiling split times between the checkpoints and Team 7 Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olson continue to put up some incredibly short times between these checkpoints as fast or faster than the competition. If they continue to run clean and fast like this, they may be hard to catch. The video above shows them passing through Noorvik and making great time and despite being hung up in Selawik for roughly an hour due to fuel pump malfunction issues, this duo still owns the leaderboard.
Buckland South Split Times:
Noorvik Split Times:
Selawik Split Times:
Team 19 was spotted limping into Elim with Travis Temple towing his racing partner Chad Moore. You can see that the towed machine is pretty iced up and Moore appears to be missing a visor from his helmet which may have indicated some type of crash but no word on the teams Facebook page. Update: Word now is that Team 19 has been forced to scratch due to a seized motor due to a broken coolant reservoir.
With more layover time to take, and many hundred more miles of brutally unforgiving trail conditions to cover, this race is far from over and if you're in it, you're not out. Every season there seems to be some sort of last minute shakeup, and nobody expects this year to be any different.