March 7, 2012 9:30 pm AST
Aliy arrived at Takotna in the first position at 11:30 pm last evening. Rambler was riding in the sled, but wasn't injured. After missing a call early this morning (Allen is still kicking himself), he got to talk to her early this afternoon and again about an hour ago.
As you may guess, Aliy is pleased with how the dogs are looking and how the race is going to this point. The reporters at Takotna are all commenting about how good the SP dogs are looking and how upbeat and focused Aliy is. She will be leaving with 15 dogs. Meg just isn't "looking right". Aliy has already signed the paperwork to drop her. No injuries are evident, but she just isn't able to keep up and isn't herself. Rambler, who was in the basket upon their arrival in Takotna, will be continuing on at least as far as Ophir.
After the time differential, Aliy and the Red Team will be cleared to leave Takotna at 1:14 am with their 24 hour mandatory stop checked off. Mitch Seavey leaves minutes before Aliy after his time differential and Dallas Seavey will be leaving minutes after. A Iditarod Champion and two Yukon Quest Champions back on the trail!
Aliy did have an interesting story about her run out of Rohn. There was considerable gravel and ice on the trail. It was VERY rough. When Aliy stopped to camp, she flipped her sled over to check her runner plastics and they WERE NOT THERE. They were completely gone and she had been running directly on the aluminum runner! It took an hour and a half to clean out the rocks and ice in the runners so she could put new plastics on them.
Aliy saw Ryne when she got in. She is doing very well. She came in with Ranger and Stormy in lead. Aliy didn't believe Ryne was planning to drop a dog at this point. Ryne and the Red & Black team are sleeping now. She has been right on her plan and no doubt she will continue to run a great race!
Ryne was laughing about a "tent malfunction" in Nikolai. Sure we will hear more about that later. Hopefully we will get to talk to her before she finishes her 24 hour rest.
The weather out on the trail will be cooling off. It was already dropping when Aliy talked to Allen. It was still snowing lightly, but the trail to Ophir has been travelled just a few hours ago and the trail breakers are sitting at Ophir waiting for the next wave of mushers.
Let the games begin. Again!