Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Seven

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Day seven of the Iditarod is well underway, and the race is turning into a duel between former Yukon Quest champions Aily Zirkle and Dallas Seavey. Both Zirkle and Seavey have already cleared Nulato and are making their way toward Kaltag, with the rest of the pack fading further and further behind.

Kaltag is the final checkpoint that follows the Yukon River, and is only 261 miles from the finish line at Nome. However, the final stretch will not be easy, as racers make their way to Unalakleet and the edge of the Bering Sea. High winds, low visibility and fatigue become prominent factors along the coast, where the elements amplify the physical stress of the race with the intense mental fatigue of strategy.

The final stretch from Unalakleet is where winners are made and spirits are broken; where strategy and counterattacks are critical; and when experienced dogs matter most.

The toughest race on Earth is about to get a whole lot tougher, so stay tuned for more updates right here at I Has a Hot Dog!

Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Six

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Big News! Big News! Aliy Zirkle has once again captured first place after blowing through the Ruby checkpoint this morning at 9a.m. AST, overtaking both Mitch and Dallas Seavey who opted to take their mandatory eight hour layover in Ruby, rather than push on to Galena.

Two more mushers have scratched since Silvia Furtwängler dropped out yesterday,with Ryan Redington and Wade Marrs pulling out of the competition due to fatigue and concern for their dogs' well being.

So far this year, warm weather and smooth trails have helped push teams further and faster than ever before. With day six well underway and Galena less than 400 miles to Nome, this year's Iditarod has the potential to be a year of lightning times and shattered records.

Stay tuned for more Iditarod 2012 updates, right here at I Has a Hot Dog!

Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Five

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Day five is underway, and teams are already making their way toward Cripple, the tenth checkpoint on this year's Iditarod trail.

Musher Aily Zirkle, the woman who has dominated this year's race so far, has slipped to fourth place, with Jim Lanier now in the lead. John Baker has also dropped from second to seventh place, as mushers Trent Herbst and Mitch Seavey battle it out for second place.

Surprisingly, only one musher has scratched so far, which is rare this late in the race. Rookie Silvia Furtwängler threw in the towel last night after arriving at the Nikolai checkpoint due to concerns about her health.

For more real-time updates and in-depth coverage, go to Iditarod.com!

Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Four

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With 30 of the 66 teams already resting at Takotna, the eighth checkpoint along the Iditarod trail, this year's race is on pace to be the fastest ever recorded.

Takotna is situated over 350 miles from Anchorage and only 623 miles from Nome. Most mushers have chosen this checkpoint as the location to take their 24 hour break, and there has been little change in the top standings as a result.

Aliy Zirkle is still in first place, with John Baker holding on tight to second. Surprisingly, Lance Mackey has slipped from third to 32nd place and has decided to take a long rest at McGrath, rather than push his team the final 18 miles to Takotna.

Taking Mackey's place behind Zirkle and Baker is Mitch Seavey, the 2004 Iditarod champion and veteran musher who had to withdraw last year at Ophir after severely injuring his fingers with an axe. Seavey is fielding an almost identical team to the one he ran in 2011 and should be considered a serious contender for this year's Iditarod race.

For current standings, checkpoint interviews, and in-depth Iditarod news visit Iditarod.com!

Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Three, Part Two

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The run to Nikolai this afternoon has been the most exciting leg of the Iditarod race so far, with Aliy Zirkle barely clinging to her lead as she headed on to McGrath checkpoint around 2p.m. this afternoon.

Last year's champion John Baker moved up ten spots to second place and four time champion Lance Mackey moved ahead 2 spots to secure third place, with 22 minutes separating first and second place and 33 minutes separating second and third place.

Look for the faster paced mushers like Mackey to take advantage of the shorter checkpoint distances and start gaining ground over the next several days.

Stay tuned for more Iditarod updates from I Has a Hot Dog!

Iditarod 2012 Update: Day Three

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A big day on the trail today, with female musher Aily Zirkle moving up from 14th on Sunday to first place, overtaking seven other mushers between the Rainy Pass and Rohn checkpoints with a pace of 9.17MPH.

The time between first and second place is incredibly tight, with only nine minutes separating Aily Zirkle and her team from Kelley Griffin, another female musher who also made huge gains on the rest of the pack during the night. Griffin is setting a more conservative pace than Zirkle, averaging 8.17MPH en route to the sixth checkpoint at Nikolai.

With 75 miles separating Rohn and Nikolai, the slow and steady mushers have an opportunity to make some big moves today.

Lead mushers are expected to arrive later this morning to the Nikolai checkpoint, so be sure to check back this afternoon for another Iditarod update!

*side note: two out of the three lead mushers are women? You go girls!

not to second guess a hoomin...

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not to second guess a hoomin, by any means but i'd say that our sled is just a fraction of a bit off course. -Husky

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