The flat, consistent, “treadmill”-like trail conditions of Iditarod’s alternate route in 2017 may have contributed to the relatively low number of dropped dogs — so far.
As this year’s Iditarod moves through Huslia and on towards Koyukuk, the next generation of local mushers will stay behind, training their dogs to make dreams reality.
The 51st running of the Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race will feature a new, additional competitive class. The trail is expected to be more challenging than usual.
The two-time champion was the first to leave Galena early Thursday and arrived in Huslia more than 80 miles up the trail at 8:18 p.m.
At this point in the Iditarod, rest becomes a strategic calculation: both for the energy involved and the potential plans it discloses to other competitors.
Because of sick dogs, Iditarod veteran Aliy Zirkle has had to upend her race plans and declare a 24-hour rest in Galena, rather than in her intended checkpoint of Huslia.
As Iditarod 2017 approaches its halfway point, mushers’ individual plans for 8- and 24-hour breaks are spreading teams across hundreds of miles of trail.
Wade Marrs led two past Iditarod champions into Ruby last night. 350 miles into the trail, racing is underway as teams plot their next moves along the Yukon River.
Iditarod mushers are on the Yukon. 8- and 24-hour layovers are on the horizon, but first, they must run the longest stretch of the race: 120 miles from Tanana to Ruby.
In 2016, Martin Buser had his worst-placing Iditarod in his career, and was troubled by injuries both to his son and himself. But in 2017, things are looking up.