They're off! Mike and the dogs have hit the Iditarod trail.
As I write, Mike and the dogs are resting in Nikolai. Mike is running a very smart race. His travel times are very competitive, yet he is giving the dogs enough time to rest so that the youngsters, including Gunnel and Gibson who are only one year old, can succeed. I look forward to watching him make steady progress.
I expect Mike to leave Nikolai after giving the dogs a good long rest. From here he will push through McGrath and on to Takotna where he will take his 24 hour break. Actually it will be 25 hours and 30 minutes to accommodate for the start time differential.
At this point Mike has made it across several of the difficult parts of the trail: down the Happy River Steps, through the Dalzel Gorge, and across the Farewell Burn. I was glad to see that the burn had some snow on it. The Iron Dog snowmobile race crossed this same area a few weeks ago and showed very little snow on the burn.
There have been a couple of videos on the Iditarod Insider that have great footage of our team. Look in "Alan Taylor, Iditarod Volunteer" "Dr. George Stroberg Explains What the Vets See" and "Mike Santos’ Young Team Headed to Nome" You need to be an Insider, but again, I highly recommend it.