As Aliy Zirkle continues to maintain a good and steady pace into Takotna she is followed by a close packed group of front running teams.
While Aliy goes through the Vet check at her parking spot more teams arrive. Most of them have been running for some time and will require a longer break here in the Takotna checkpoint where the dogs and the mushers can enjoy a hot meal and some well earned rest.
Some of the mushers like Lance Mackey seem to take a long break at McGrath probably counting on the other teams in the lead group to take the mandatory 24 hours, which is used to also offset the 2 minute staggered start difference and can last between 24 and 26+ hours depending on the starting position of the team on Sunday. Those musher resting now for longer will probably drive straight through Takotna and on to Ophir and then Cripple which is this year’s half way point, leaving all others in the dusty snow. At least that is my assumptions.
I am following the race now for 12 years or so, one way or the other but I have not seen many years where the teams have lasted that long into the race. Meaning we have only very few dropped dogs so far, Nobody has scratched yet and the trail seemed to have been super fast so far.
It is getting very exciting now and today and tomorrow will most likely develop the group of possible winners and reduce the number down to 3 or 4 contenders. But until then, everything is wide open to interpretation.