RED TEAM UPDATE
Aliy and 15 team mates (woohoo!) hit the trail towards Ophir at 12.25am after seeing out their 24 hour mandatory layover plus time differential (to put everyone on even footing after the staggered start on Sunday).
We have seen from videos from Takotna that they have had a little snow out there and Aliy thought it may just add a little bit of cushioning for the dogs so the trails are not quite as hard. It looked so peaceful to see the dogs resting under their jackets and fleece blankets with light snow falling around them.
As Ophir is only 23 miles away we don’t expect her to stop there other than perhaps to grab a few meat snacks for the dogs.
The Iditarod Trail Notes describe Ophir as “Whether you’re on the northern or southern route, this is your last vestige of civilization for a very long while. The trip from here to Cripple and on to Ruby (or down to Iditarod and over to Shageluk and Anvik) is arguably the longest, emptiest, loneliest stretch of trail on the race, and the checkpoints at Cripple or Iditarod are basically nothing but tent camps in otherwise uninhabited locations.”
Here are a few links that have photos of the red team: KTUU has “51 photos of the Iditarod Day 3” including some of the Red Team. There is also a KTUU News story that has pictures from Taktona and an ADN article has a little from Aliy.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
The Black Team is still resting Takotna and will get back on the trail tomorrow morning. We expect Allen was outside seeing Aliy and team off and it is possible this will be the last time they see each other until Allen crosses under the burled arch in Nome.
The team will be enjoying a 24 hour break and will get to eat at least three meals and meat snacks galore! We sent out salmon, beef, poultry skins and tripe (yummy). Allen will be working to hydrate them as well as getting as many calories into them as possible. He will massage every shoulder and wrist and put soothing ointment on every foot (that’s 60 feet). He will also walk them around a bit so they don’t stiffen up during the break and cover them with jackets and blankets so they can stretch out while they are sleeping.
Allen himself will get in as much sleep as he can and as many calories as he can. We packed meals of chicken pesto, beef stir-fry with cashews, and meatballs in alfredo sauce to accompany his regular trail food of nuts, bacon, oatmeal bars (click here for the recipe) and freeze dried meals. He will also enjoy the Takotna checkpoint hospitality – you could almost see his eyes light up when he spoke of it before the race.
I have found a couple of pics of the Black Team in Nikolai by Jeff Schultz on the “Iditarod Photos” page from March 8 – one of Junior sleeping and the other (third down on left) of the team at rest. (You can also see one of Dutch in Takotna on March 9)
We still have no word on which team member was left in Rohn but we do know that about 70 or 80 dogs are flying into Anchorage from the trail tonight. It will take the vet team some time to work through them as they all are vet checked and documented before they are released to the handlers. It may be tomorrow morning before we find out who will join Mac at Margie’s.