780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Iron Dog Teams Move On From Ruby, Focus Turns To Strategic Layovers

With just fourteen Iron Dog teams remaining after David Spain and Travis Temple scratched yesterday evening, almost all teams are finishing up their 10 to 20 hours of mandatory rest.

The top 5 teams are in the process of completing the first 20 hours of the 26 total rest hours that are mandatory at this point in the race. Racers must complete 10 hours between Nome and Ruby, 10 hours between Ruby and McGrath, and 6 hours at any approved checkpoint between Nome and Puntilla. Upon arrival in Puntilla, there will be a staggered restart.

There is a second six-hour optional wildcard layover that must be declared at a checkpoint, where racers can work on their sleds. This is a new addition, however none of the remaining racers have opted to use it at this point in the contest.

As of this update, there is still more than an hour of waiting still left in Ruby for Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad, who have a sizeable lead on the rest of the field. While last year’s champs Mike Morgan and Chris Olds are set to leave Ruby only 45 minutes behind them, the actual gap is much larger. When total course time is taken into account and all layovers and penalty times added, the reigning champs are nearly 2 and a half hours behind Team #7.

At the back of the pack, the pair of Canadians that make up Team 37 are in Kaltag with 16 hours of rest already accounted for. As of this update, the GPS tracker does not currently show them as moving, but its accuracy at this point is uncertain.

Image at top: Tyler Aklestad of Team #7 chatting with other Iron Dog racers. Photo from Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020).