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!
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!