Iditarod 2019, Day 5: Deciding on Where to ‘24’

As of 6:30pm Wednesday, the vast majority of mushers in Iditarod 2019 are resting in a checkpoint. Many of them are taking their mandatory, 24-hour layovers. The strategy and rationale of when and where a musher takes a “24” is complicated and often personal.

Here are highlights from KNOM’s Iditarod coverage on Wednesday, March 6.


Both Ben Matheson and Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes reported on the mindset and strategies of mushers mulling their options for where to take the 24-hour layover that Iditarod race rules mandate. Trail conditions potentially made worse by continued warm temperatures, as well as the prospects of privacy or comfort, factored into mushers’ decisions.

  • In the McGrath checkpoint, Nicolas Petit “wasn’t speaking openly about his plans,” Ben writes in “Where to ‘24’? In McGrath, Iditarod Leaders Weigh Options.” “So, what’s your plan?”, someone asked Petit as he arrived in McGrath. “I’m going to hang out until I know what my plan is,” the musher responded.
  • One checkpoint down the trail, in Takotna, Zach reports on a checkpoint renowned for its hospitality for mushers, the most famous example of which may be its ample offerings of pie. Jessie Royer always takes her 24 there, and her dog team seems to know the drill even without her instructing them: “They know where they’re going,” she said. “It’s just so much more convenient here, so it’s easy to take care of the dogs fast, so I can get more sleep, too.” Read more in “For Some Iditarod Mushers, Takotna’s Familiar Comforts (Pies!) Make it Ideal for a 24-Hour Rest.”
  • The first scratch of Iditarod 2019: Shaynee Traska of Gladwin, Michigan, wearing bib #7. According to a press release, Traska exited the race “at 12:55 p.m. today at the Nikolai checkpoint,” motivated by “the best interest of her race team.”

On-Air Update

At 2pm Wednesday, Emily Hofstaedter and Davis Hovey survey the leaderboard with Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes live from Takotna, taking a particular look at Aliy Zirkle’s “charge” toward the Iditarod checkpoint, where she says she’s likely to take her 24-hour layover:

Trail Weather

The warm weather will continue, with snow also on the way, says UAF forecaster Rick Thoman:


Snapshots of mushers’ arrivals and more in the McGrath checkpoint (all photos by Ben Matheson; click to expand):