Juan Alcina of Willow was sunburned and happy after a best-ever 17th-place performance. The one-time aircraft mechanic for the Air Force in his native Spain stuck with the big dogs in the front of the pack for a long time and then hung on when his team contracted a bug in McGrath.
After resting, his dogs seemed stronger than ever, he said, but 10 miles out of Ophir a dog stepped in a moose hole and was injured. He carried the dog in the basket for 80 miles.
"The team was rolling, but there were huge holes," Alcina said. "I wasn't trying to compete against anybody. I had my schedule."
Alcina's schedule called for a race of about 10 days. He finished in 10 days, 2 hours, 34 minutes.
Coaxing sick dogs
Linwood Fiedler, DeeDee Jonrowe's Willow neighbor, finished just ahead of her in 19th and had to nurse sick dogs much of the time.
"I'm really proud of them," Fiedler said, finishing in the top 20 for the eighth consecutive time. "And proud of myself to get them through it."
Fiedler's dogs wore yellow booties so bright they almost glowed in the dark.
"It's so I don't have to buy so many lithium batteries for my headlamp," he said.