Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad lead Iron Dog morning of February 21

Snow machine racers at the starting line

The Iron Dog pack leaders made it to Unalakleet the night of Feb. 20. Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad arrived first at 5 p.m., and Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie arrived in second position only a few minutes later, at 5:05 p.m. Less than half an hour later, Mike Morgan of Nome and his teammate Chris Olds arrived in third position, at 5:32 p.m. All three teams are now nearing the end of planned 16-hour layovers, and should start heading for Nome the morning of Feb. 21.

In fourth position, Cody Barber and Brett Lapham pulled in several hours later, at 10:34 p.m. However, because they used more of their layover hours earlier in the race, they’re only about a minute behind Morgan and Olds in overall course time. Much the same is true of fifth-position team Shane Barber and Troy Conlon. They arrived in Unalakleet at 10:19 p.m., before Cody Barber and Lapham, but they needed to take an extra hour of layover in Unalakleet, putting them almost 45 minutes behind the fourth-position team.

Nome natives Jarvis and Jordan Miller took a layover in Unalakleet. They arrived at 9:35 p.m. on Feb. 20, but haven’t used as many layover hours as the top five racers, putting them in ninth position overall.

In 11th position, team Evan and Steffen Booth were the first to leave Unalakleet earlier the morning of Feb. 21. According to the unofficial Iron Dog GPS tracker, the Booths have reached Shaktoolik.

The 13th-16th-position teams checked out of Kaltag earlier the morning of Feb. 21 and headed for Unalakleet. Almost all the other teams took layovers in Galena.

While the race start on Saturday was marred by rain, Feb. 20 was a “near-flawless day of riding,” according to an Iron Dog press release. Lead racer Tyler Aklestad noted that the snow was plentiful and made for fast and easy riding, and said he hopes to be in Nome by noon today.

Four teams have scratched so far this year. Those are Leah Bauer and Jacob Dahle, Chad Gueco and Cody Moen, Joe Brady and Gage Schaak, and Steven and Sven Gustafson.

Image at the top: Sleds are staged in the Galena parking area for their Sunday morning departure. By Sunday evening, the front-runners had arrived in Unalakleet. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog website, used with permission 2022.