The quickest six Iron Dog racers have finished their 8-hour layovers in Unalakleet and now make their way 100 miles north to Koyuk, and then another 170 miles to the halfway point in Nome.
Mike Morgan and Chris Olds still hold the lead, checking out of Unalakleet at 10:52 Tuesday morning, but minutes behind them are Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie. Only seconds behind them in third position are Adam Drinkhouse and Brad George, in the competitive, quick-moving snowmachine race.
Scott Faeo and Robby Schachle, who maintained second position all of yesterday, are now in fourth position; they left Unalakleet at 11:05 am.
Eligible to leave Unalakleet at 12:15 pm are Amos Cruise and Nome’s own Jarvis Miller. They’re currently in 8th position. In an interview with KIYU Radio, Miller described the trail from McGrath up to Ruby, one that’s typically not well travelled, as quite manageable and in good condition.
“Yeah, it was soft. I mean, when the trail got going, it was packed down, and other teams in front of us packed it down actually pretty nicely. It was nice. A couple weeks ago, when we practiced it, it was kind of choppy and hard, and this fresh snow just set up a nice little path.”
The pack has been reduced significantly, adding one more scratch to the now 8-team list: Barney Anselment and Thomas Baumgartner just scratched in Unalakleet. So far, the only information that’s been released officially by Iron Dog has been on the race’s first scratch: Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad. Minnick collided with Tyler Acklestad’s sled leaving McGrath on Sunday. Acklestad and Tyson Johnson are still in the race, and despite slowing down to make repairs after the collision, they currently hold 6th position.
The first racers are expected to arrive at the halfway point here in Nome sometime this afternoon. KNOM will be live at the finish line, so be sure to stay tuned this afternoon, as well as for our next detailed race update at 5 pm tonight.
Image at top: file photo: during Iron Dog 2017, Team #16, Minnick and Olstad, race towards the Nome snow ramp. Photo courtesy of Matthew McGee.