More than 24-hours after the last 2020 Iditarod sled dog team arrived in Nome, three fat-tire bikers rode down Front Street around 11pm Monday night, to complete their own 1,000-mile race.
Casey Fagerquist, Jill Martindale, and Petr Ineman were the only individuals to finish this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational, traveling together for about 400 miles of the 1,000-mile journey.
Human powered events such as the I-T-I have taken place on the Iditarod trail for almost as long as the famous sled dog race has been around. The invitational features a 350-mile race which ends in McGrath, and a 1,000-mile race which was established in the year 2000. Competitors are allowed to use skis, bikes, or travel on foot if they choose.
According to a post from the I-T-I, for more than ten of those race years, White Mountain resident Joanna Wassillie has been hosting racers at her home, providing them with food, and personal care. She is kindly referred to as a Trail Angel.
Wassillie continued to keep tradition alive this year. In spite of COVID-19 concerns she and her husband Jack were able to setup accommodations for the three racers at an isolated public safety building in White Mountain.
The Wassillie family shared some moose burger chili and freshly baked bread with Fagerquist, Martindale, and Ineman, which reportedly helped warm up the racers on a particularly wet stretch of trail.
After leaving White Mountain on Sunday, Fagerquist, Martindale, and Ineman completed their race in Nome with a time of 22 days, 7 hours, and 30 minutes. Ineman is from the Czech Republic while Fagerquist and Martindale are American.
In the video above, which was posted on the Iditarod Trail Invitational’s Facebook page, all three racers can be seen riding to the end of Front Street in Nome.
Image at top: Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 mile race finish spot in McGrath. Photo from Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020)