Mike is running towards Ruby tonight. The trail snakes over rolling hills and eventually will drop down to the village of Ruby on the Yukon River.
Mushers are required to take an 8 hour layover at one of the checkpoints on the Yukon River. I expect that Mike will do this at Ruby. This will allow the dogs a good break after the long run up from Cripple. This 70 mile run has taken most mushers over 10 hours and some have elected to stop and rest to break up the run. It looks like Mike will go all the way without a break.
This year the Iditarod is following the Northern route. This means that when the racers got to Ophir they turned North to Cripple rather than South to the village of Iditarod. Therefore, since Ophir, the trail has been new to Mike. He has, however, been to Ruby before. In 2008, when Mike ran the All Alaska Sweepstakes race out of Nome, he drove our snowmobile from Nenana to Nome, an 800 mile journey. The route he took joined the Iditarod trail in Ruby. So once he gets to the river, it will be somewhat familiar for him.
I am really looking forward to seeing Mike and the dogs and hearing about their amazing adventures. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to be in the bubble, as Mike calls it. The special union of a musher and his dogs working together, nearly independent of the world around them.