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In Ruby, Royer to “keep pushing” to the coast

Jessie Royer sled dogs, Ruby.

Jessie Royer sled dogs at the Ruby checkpoint, Friday morning.

In Ruby on Friday morning, Jessie Royer was keeping the focus on her own dogs – of which she still has many.

Royer’s is one of only a few teams to have arrived in Ruby with a full string of 16 dogs still together. That’s despite the “pretty rough” trail earlier in the race.

“Maybe (this year’s early trail) was more abusive on the mushers and the sleds than the dogs, but there was still lots of ice that (the dogs) were slipping on and holes that they were stepping in.” Royer felt grateful to have only one dog with a sore shoulder; it’s her team’s first and only injury in the race thus far.

In an interview, she told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen that she planned to drop the injured dog in Ruby.

As for the race ahead, there’s some uncertainty as to the trail conditions along the Norton Sound coast; the region of Alaska leading up to Nome has experienced a shortage of snow this season, which could mean a repeat of some of the rough trail conditions that so beleaguered mushers a few days ago.

Royer, however, is hoping at least for a “nice, hard, and fast” trail heading up to Kaltag and Unalakleet. As for the trail beyond that, leading up to Nome, she and her team will have to take it as it comes.

“(I’ve) still got a good team,” she says, and “(I’ll) just keep pushing as hard as I can.”