HARD START ON DAY TWO
By HARRIETT HAMILTON FENERTY
Racers use the words “Clean-Run” when they talk about their race hopes. Last night approaching McGrath…..just 20 miles out….the clean runs for the front runners became a jumble of man and machine…..
Team 16 running about 50 MPH straight into a swirling snow tunnel….Team 8 was breaking trail through 24 inches of fresh snow, conserving fuel, Team 8 had slowed to swap positions. With not even a split-second to maneuver Todd Minnick hit Tyler Akelstad’s sled – Todd flew over the handlebars — racers, machines, parts and pieces were all sorted out, one sled was left behind and all teams head to McGrath……a hard way to finish up day one and realize the scratch is eminent and all the past year’s hard work evaporates like the snow dust that caused the outcome.
Team 8 suffered a tremendous setback for sure with damaged equipment….game plan changer….MacGyver takes over…..get parts lined up, grab a fistful of guts and wrench it out…..whatever the actual damage looked like — it was less than two hours of clock time in McGrath making a fix……on trail to do what they came to do…..run for the podium….Team 8 was throttling themselves back into positions lost while team after team took off out of McGrath before noon today.
There were many teams affected by the trail conditions, bumps woops, and camouflaged hazards…..they certainly changed the night for Teams 35, 17 and 31…..it changed the game plan for Team 26 as well, parts were available but not where those teams needed them….Team 35 took a hard tumble out there on the trail, injured enough to find that continuing was impossible and carded a scratch in McGrath.
The Trail Class pushed snow all day yesterday on the trail that Pro Class runs today…..in some places deeper than two feet……it slowed the entire field down enough that course times are running approximately 60 minutes longer than last year.
The racers have to do a second regional Layover….this one is called “The Yukon”…..for all racers that rev onto the longest river Alaska has to offer they have finally reached the Mighty YUKON….racers will run about 150 miles on the Yukon to Kaltag. They have three choices for their second 8-hour regional Ruby, Galena or Kaltag. You will see some layover taken tonight in all three spots…..8 hours of rest go by quickly and all three layover locations have good enough internet service that catching up on stories, photos and posts is a huge distraction for racers that should be sleeping…..
The sky cleared today all along this section of the trail called The Yukon…..sunset is 6:05 with an hour of twilight when the ½ moon will shine brighter than all day yesterday from Deshka to McGrath when racers endured 362 miles of totally flat light combined with white out conditions. There will be some midnight running tonight……first team in Kaltag this afternoon will be good to go around 2 AM…..2 hour run to UNK……another long night for you fans…..
After the second regional layover is complete the racers have one more to do….per the rules this last layover is called “THE Coast”. It can be completed at Unalakleet, Koyuk or White Mountain…….there are miles to go before Day Two ends for many teams on the trail between McGrath and Ruby.
Thank you for all the incredible sharing of knowledge, trail stories, reports and pictures…..it is true…..it takes a village to take care of Iron Doggers…..Iron Dog Group—-WE ARE THE VILLAGE!!! Thank you for joining the forum with such great enthusiasm……enjoy…..Day Three coming right up!!!!