“These first couple days have been unpleasant, to say the least,” Dallas Seavey described in Nikolai.
“I’d like to win,” Aliy Zirkle says. “Whether that’s possible with this team or not, I don’t know, but I will know farther out the trail.”
The race’s roster includes 11 rookies and 14 veteran mushers, including defending champion Brent Sass of Eureka.
Mushers from Nome, Aniak, Bethel, and Akiak are among the more than 60 sign-ups for the 2016 Iditarod.
Copper Basin 300 veteran Tom Jamgochian was eight minutes faster than Kuskokwim 300 finisher Rolland Trowbridge in this weekend’s Nome Council 200 race.
A large crowd of fans lining Front Street cheered Aliy into the chute and to her 15th Iditarod finish midday Wednesday.
There are few certainties in the Iditarod — even in the eleventh hour — but it’s probable we’ll see a championship finish in Nome around 4am Wednesday morning.
Aliy Zirkle led Iditarod 2015 out of Koyukuk late Saturday morning, followed into the evening by Aaron Burmeister, Jeff King, Jessie Royer, and Dallas and Mitch Seavey. These frontrunners jockeyed for lead on the 154 mile run to the coast.
Burmeister, first into Unalakleet, is comfortable on the coast. “I felt right at home when the wind started blowing,” said the Nome musher. According to Race Marshall Mark Nordman, mushers should arrive Tuesday.
On the Yukon this week, some of Iditarod’s top competitors were striving to keep competitive by keeping the focus on dog care.