What a fast paced race this is turning out to be! The trails are evidently hard packed and this is showing with the fast run times.
Both the Black and the Red team have arrived into the Sourdough checkpoint, manned by teams from Wrangell-St Elias National Park, BLM and Ahtna.
Allen and his Black Team raced through the 43 mile run in 3 hours, 32 minutes, arriving 2nd into the checkpoint at 9.28am. Aliy and the Red Team got in very soon after them at 9.37 with almost the exact same runtime of 3 hours 33 minutes! They will rest here a while to ready themselves for the 74-ish mile run to Mendentna Creek Lodge, the final checkpoint of the race.
From what I can tell from a zoomed in GPS map it looks like the checkpoint is set up the same as it was last year. The teams check in at the campground near the main road but then take about a mile and a half trail down towards the boat ramp where the checkpoint is laid out in what is the carpark during the summer months.
GPS detail of Sourdough checkpoint
It's an old school checkpoint where they will make their own water in their cookers and, in these temperatures, likely sleep curled up with their dogs in the straw (if they stay long enough to get a sleep!)
At this point the teams have covered 138.2 miles. I'm not certain what the total route miles will be with the change at the start but they are about half way through the race so there's still a while to go and, as we always say, anything can happen!
Last night the Northern Lights put on a dazzling show for the dogs, mushers, handlers and volunteers. It must have been such a sight to see. Check out these pics (click here) by Birch Leaf Photography.
The weather forecast says the Copper River area will be mostly cloudy with a few isolated snow showers in the afternoon. Highs in the mid teens to lower 30s... so, it's pretty warm out there.