Not only was Jeff King’s the first Iditarod team to arrive in Ruby, but his is also, at this point, the only team to travel as far without taking 24 hours rest.
Spirits in Takotna were high Thursday, with a cluster of well-fed and rested mushers getting set to end their 24-hour layovers.
Every year, when the Iditarod comes through the small, Kuskokwim River community, McGrath holds a Chinese auction to raise money for a local organization and a family in need.
In 2016, some of Iditarod’s competitors have pushed the pace early — especially before taking their 24-hour layovers.
In Takotna, Katherine Keith was in characteristically good spirits, despite the “excruciating hot” of this year’s trail, so far.
Mushers give themselves options for where to take their 24-hour layovers. Jeff King is breaking from the pack by intending to 24 in Ruby, where, he says, a mimosa will be waiting.
Not many Iditarod mushers have spent much rest time in McGrath this year; but not everyone took off immediately, either.
The majority of Iditarod mushers who arrived first into McGrath didn’t stay long, but some of their decisions earlier in the race might offer clues about their race plans.
In Rohn, Noah Burmeister talked about returning to the Iditarod after a decade away.
It’s a “turning point in the race,” Dallas Seavey says, as mushers adjust their schedules and begin to take their mandatory, 24-hour layovers.