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Warmer-Than-Usual Temperatures Challenge Iron Dog Racers

Posted by Dr. Fay on February 21, 2010

The annual Iron Dog competition started at 1PM Alaska time (5 PM EST) today.  Todd Palin’s team drew the Number 22 position, which meant they were the 22nd team to start.  By 4 PM (8 PM EST), they had moved up to 19th place.  The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reports:

While many in the Valley are enjoying nearly balmy temperatures, the warmer-than-usual winter was not welcome for the dozens of snowmachiners gathered here Sunday to start the 27th Iron Dog snowmachine race. Amid melting ice and snow with temperatures well above freezing, 29 pro-class Iron Dog competitors sped off the lake and into the trees to start race.

Racers and spectators began showing up early to discover large pools of overflow on Big Lake. Further down the lake where the racers head into the trees, the snow is gone and a mostly bare trail is all that was left.

[,,,]

As the 1 p.m. start neared, the racer staging area was buzzing with activity. Racers hugged family members, put tape on their faces and last-minute sled checks were in progress. The team of Wasilla racers James Spikes and teammate Scott Richter sat on their sleds waiting for their turn to head down the starting chute.

Spikes, who is racing his third race, has a new partner and has switched from Ski Doo to Arctic Cat, but as with most racers, he was more concerned with trail conditions than anything else.

At 1 p.m. the green flag dropped and the No. 2 team of Jeremy Neeser and Ryan Scottosanti lead the charge to Fairbanks. The two-man racing teams were then released in two-minute intervals. By 4 p.m., the No. 2 team had dropped to 13th place, and Aklestad and Johnson were in the lead with last year’s winners Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad close behind. Bringing up the third position was the team of Bradley Helwig and Eric Quam. The team of Todd Palin and Scott Davis was running in 19th place.

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3 Responses to “Warmer-Than-Usual Temperatures Challenge Iron Dog Racers”

  1. LisaJ said

    My family and I were at the race today and Palin/Davis looked great. Its definitely much warmer than we normally see this time of yr in the Wasilla area and a lot of the ice was covered in water. Piper waved the green flag for her dads team and it looks like Team 22 is taking a breather at one of the stops, according to the Iron Dog GPS tracker. I did get some photos of Piper and Scott Davis…Todd was a bit more elusive :)

  2. Warren said

    This is a picture I took today of where the Iron Dog finish line is supposed to be (note the open water–this is usually an ‘ice bridge’ in Fairbanks in Feb http://twitpic.com/14myv6 ((Sorry for my typo in the first comment!))

    • Fay said

      Warren, thank you so much for the picture. Let’s hope and pray that the racers stay out of danger and that that they get the temperatures they need to stay safe and ride well. Of course, we at SWB and SPIB are rooting for the Davis/Palin team!

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