As of this morning (07:51 Alaska time), Team #39, Tyler Aklestad and Aaron Loyer have made a dramatic comeback after a brief swim and six hour layover in the Puntilla checkpoint. They now hold a ten minute (00:10) lead ahead of the second place Team #16. GPS tracking reported some incredible rates of speed for Team #39, nearing 90 miles per hour in some of the early sections of the course.
Most teams are now taking either a combined fourteen hour layover or already used their six and eight at two checkpoints. Frontrunner teams are expected to make it to Galena by tonight once they are released by their hold times and reset on the course.
About the 6 hour layover
For 2012 a six hour flexible layover was added to give racers additional flexibility to handle human or mechanical issues. Racers are still required to take a mandatory eight hour layover going northbound in the regional areas: 1) By McGrath 2) On the Yukon River by Kaltag 3) On the coast by White Mountain. The six hour can be used by itself (which Team #39 did in Puntilla) or declared in combination with their mandatory eight hour layover to make for a fourteen hour layover (which many have done in McGrath). Ultimately, the six hour “flexible layover” must be used by Kaltag. This small addition has already proven to be a valuable tool for keeping teams in the hunt for victory!
About McGrath hold time
This “hold time” in McGrath is designed to get teams closer together on the trail. Basically, we are holding teams that left Big Lake earlier to get them closer together physically on the trail (adjusting their actual distance from one another on the ground to closer represent their course time separation). Here’s a link to the starting order which also shows the hold times in McGrath.