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March 3, 2008 11:00 PM

Checking In With 'The Last Great Race'


Over the weekend, the latest edition of the Iditarod got underway. For those unaware, the Iditarod is a race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska...on a dog sled. They cover about 1,100 miles, in about nine days, "frequently...through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, and sub-zero weather and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach -100 °F." Again, all on dog sled. It's pretty amazing, really. Having lived in Alaska, I can tell you, it's a pretty big happening up there.

Former Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey of Soldotna pulled into Rainy Pass this morning to lead a big, hard-charging pack at the front of the 36th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Seavey, the 2004 champion, made the 30-mile run from Finger Lake in three hours, 22 minutes. A pack of 25 mushers out of Finger Lake is expected to follow him into the checkpoint high in the Alaska Range shortly.

The checkpoint is actually on Puntilla Lake. From there, the trail climbs another 1,300 feet through Rainy Pass, topping out at 3,160 feet, before making the steepest descent of the race through the Happy River Valley and down the Dalzell Gorge until mushers reach the Tatina River. The next checkpoint is an abandoned cabin at Rohn, a 48-mile trip.

You can see the full trail map here.

Currently, Kjetil Backen is leading the race. Check be here, as I (try) to give you daily updates from the Last Frontier.

Current Temperature in Nome: 21 degrees

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