Woohoo! Both teams are on the trail heading towards Chistochina checkpoint some 49 miles away!

Conditions were perfect for racing – it was around -4F as they were getting ready to leave. The view towards the mountains was clear as can be.

First off was Allen and his Black Team. He left the line with Commando and Junior in lead, Kodiak and Amber in swing, Violet and Dutch, Iron and Spark, Clyde and Champ with Chipper and Felix in wheel. They are setting a good pace towards their first stop.

Aliy and the Red Team actually missed their count-down as Aliy was too busy greeting supporters and  fans! No worries though, they are on the trail and speeding along towards the Red Eagle Lodge in Chistochina. She left the chute with Chena and Nomex in lead, Tinder and Chevy in swing, Driver and QT, Five and Perky, Cayenne and Scooby with Jefe and Bruno in wheel.

At the mushers meeting, mushers were told they are allowed to carry cell phones so Aliy sent through these couple of selfies as they mushed alongside the Richardson Highway. There won’t be great cell coverage for mushers for much of the race though so I don’t expect there to be too many opportunities to send more through.

The handler crew were up and at ’em early, as were the volunteers. Thanks to Mary-Beth (who is also Nomex’s sponsor) for ensuring the teams had trackers so those of us at home can watch!

L-R: Bridgett with Champ, Jeff on top of Hollywood (truck) getting sleds ready.

L-R: Mark with Dutch, Mary-Beth and Allen getting the tracker attached.

Photos thanks to William from Verizon and Bridgett Watkins. Will upload video as soon as possible.