2024 Iron Dog - Day 3 Update

Leaving Unalakleet at 8:48AM on their way toward Nome, Casey Boylan and Bryan Lesie lead the pack averaging over 47mph for more than 750 miles.  These are truly mind-blowing numbers when you think about riding a snowmachine at that average speed for more than 16 hours.

I touch on this topic every year but every year I rethink about how incredible the Pro-Class racers are, it is worth repeating.  These guys are TRULY the best in the world at long-distance racing.  The only other race in its class is the Cains Quest race in Canada which is between 3,100km and 3,500km or 1,926 and 2,175 miles, respectively.  I was unable to find split/winning times on that race but would be curious to pit the Alaska racers against the field of Cains Quest riders to see who is, on average, faster.

Team 14 Battling Tough Conditions in Selawik

Snowfall, flat light, winds, and generally horrible racing conditions didn't seem to hinder the speed or progress of the teams as they made their way along the coast of Western Alaska. The ambassador team captured a short video showing how poor the conditions were below

Teams left Unalakleet this morning and made their way up to Koyuk, which is a triple checkpoint in light of the 'North Loop' that racers take before eventually making their way toward Nome. Below you can see Team 34 into Buckland on the North Loop with big snow flakes hindering visibility in that region.

Reports are that one of the racers from Team 41, either Tyler Reese or Haakon Wold, suffered an accident along the trail near Buckland and have declared a layover at that checkpoint and are seeking some semblance of medical aid at the clinic there.

Team 14 Boylan/Leslie
Team 39 Barber/Lapham
Team 9 Barber/Conlon
Team 33 Lambert/Wells

All of the above teams have run a very clean race so far and have had little to no reporting done on them.  They have run consistently and fast across almost 900 miles as of 3PM today on February 19th.  That said, looming in their snow dust were the back-to-back reigning champions Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad.  Despite sinking a sled early in the race and then again running without critical parts on the sled, the champs were less than 2-hours behind the race leaders and had the fastest split between Unalakleet and Koyuk

Roughly 20 miles from the Buckland checkpoint racers are required to 'hang a right' to start the loop where they will eventually meet back up with the trail and go back through Buckland on the way toward Nome.  In the photo above it looks like Team 7 may have run into more equipment issues and the GPS speeds are consistent with towing an inoperable machine. This may be the end of the dream for a three-peat.

Stan James of Palmer, Alaska and his racing partner Daniel Thomas, the 'Utah Yeti' racing out of Salt Lake City had to call it quits in Ophir.  No word yet on what forced them from the race.

Mike Morgan and Bradley Kishbaugh of Team 6 were the outliers declaring a 14 hour layover in Kaltag due to a broken suspension bracket.  They were able to secure the part during their layover and were able to repair the machine and get back on the trail quickly.  They have clawed their way back a bit and are currently sitting in 7th position.

The local boys to this area, Team 33, were caught on video towing into Selawik where it was being reported that George Lambert hit an ice ridge and had a bit of a wreck on his Ski-Doo MXZ. 

The duo have declared a 2-hour layover and will be working to get the machine back in racing shape as quickly as possible.  That said, it looks like considerable damage was done in the photo below.

Throttling into Kotzebue a bit before 5PM, Team 14 were first to put their sleds to bed for the evening and gain a much needed rest 1114 miles into this race.  Team 39 and Team 10 rounded out the podium of racers making their way to Kotzebue on this very dreary Alaska day.  

We are pretty positive Team 7 will be, unfortunately, throwing in the towel for this years race as they are getting closer to Kotzebue as we speak.  Team 33 is up against some decently significant repairs on George Lamberts sled but other than that there seems to be a fairly strong field of able bodied racers and machines alike ready to sprint toward Nome tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published