RED TEAM UPDATE
Aliy and her 15 team mates left Rohn at around 8pm this evening having stopped for just 15 minutes to resupply. The trail to Nikolai is around 75 miles so we expect they will camp at some point on their way there rather than run right through.
This run breaks into three natural sections: 20 miles along the south side of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim from Rohn to Farewell Lakes and up onto the Farewell Burn, 35 miles across the Burn itself to Sullivan Creek, and then 20 miles north from Sullivan Creek past Salmon River to Nikolai. - Donald Bower, Jnr. Also, read Sebastian's trail report from earlier today.
Although it is exciting to see the Red Team in the top of the GPS leaderboard right now, it is too soon to make much of that. The lead will change many times over the next few days as teams leapfrog each other due to vastly differing run/rest schedules. Just as one team makes a break for the lead they then stop to rest and another team will pass - it's the nature of the race in these early stages and certainly keeps things interesting, if not a little confusing! Only after all the mandatory rests are taken (more on that tomorrow) do we really have a good idea of what's going on.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
Allen and the Black Team had a good long six hour rest at Rainy Pass. The Insider interviewed Allen as he got into Rainy Pass and he was really happy with the trail and said the the notorious Happy River Steps were the best he had ever seen them! He said the team was doing excellent but that he was going to rest them a lot as he didn't want to overdo it because the two year olds had never seen a race like this.
They are currently climbing up to the summit of Rainy Pass at around 3000 feet and are about to negotiate the steep down hills and twisty turns by the light of the moon (and Allen's head lamp).
The Iditarod Facebook page posted the following: "We just received a call from Insider Cameraman Kevin Bodhi, who's currently on top of Rainy Pass. He said there is open water on the Happy River Crossing (mi 163 on trackers), knee-deep 30-40' across." They said that a number of teams camped just after that as some of them got wet. We noticed on the "analytics view" of the tracker that the Black Team did stop for about an hour at around that spot so perhaps they had some issues there BUT they are moving nicely now so maybe they just needed to dry out a little. Thankfully it is not 50 below! Hopefully we will be able to find out more about that once they get into the next checkpoint.
This screen shot from the tracker will give you an idea of the terrain they are going over.
The "old paws" at the front of the team, and the one on the sled, have seen it all before and will guide the youngsters down but it will still be nice to see them off that section of trail. We'll be watching the tracker for a little while yet before getting a few hours sleep ourselves.