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Morgan and Olds Hold Lead Into Ruby Layover, But Another Iron Dog Team Has Better Course Time

Minnick/Olstad Arrive in Nome
Pulling up onto the Nome snow ramp. Photo courtesy of Matthew McGee.

02/23/2018 5PM:

The leaders thus far in the 2018 Iron Dog race, Mike Morgan and Chris Olds, are resting in Ruby, but the third-positioned team is trying to beat them in overall course time.

Team #10 of Morgan and Olds continues to lead the pack, as they checked into Ruby at 12:36 for an 8-hour layover. Even though third-positioned Brad George and Robby Schachle are currently resting in Galena, behind Morgan and Olds on the trail, they have a total course time of 28 hours and 56 minutes which is about 35 minutes ahead of Team #10.

KIYU caught up with George in Galena and asked why they decided to take a six-hour layover at that checkpoint.

“Well, we wanted to push as far as we could before we stopped today, but we ran into some problems with not having enough belts on us. And I was hoping my plane would be here when we pulled up, but when I saw that those guys weren’t, that’s why (we) laid-over here. We’ll see what Team 10 does for a layover and play the next leg as it goes, I guess.”

In-between Team #6 and the leaders is Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad, who checked into Ruby for an 8-hour layover at 1:25pm. In order to ensure they maintain the lead all the way to the finish in Fairbanks, Chris Olds said back at the race restart in Nome that the weather would have to cooperate.

“Well, I think Mother Nature’s gonna have the biggest role in that. There’s a lot of snow on the Yukon, so we might be breaking some trail, but you know, just riding like we’ve been riding is really our main focus, just keep doing what we’re doing. Like I said, Mother Nature will have the last say, so we’ll see what happens.”

So far, it would seem Mother Nature is cooperating, according to several teams, including Brad George and Robby Schachle, who told KIYU that the trail and weather conditions from White Mountain, up to this point, have been better than expected:

“The trail was beautiful on the coast. Unalakleet to Kaltag was deep; it probably snowed two feet in spots, and then it was wind drifts and powder, so we toned it back just a little bit, trying to save gas on that one.”

Tune into KNOM’s newscasts Monday morning to hear how the 2018 Iron Dog will finish and who will be declared champion.

Image at top: in the 2017 Iron Dog, Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad arrive in Nome. Photo courtesy of Matthew McGee.

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