AD Main Menu

Petit pushes past Takotna to take Iditarod lead

Beth Bragg
Aliy Zirkle talks about the snowless trail across the Farewell Burn at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
One of Anna Berington's team dogs looks back as they mush down the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Mike Williams Jr. hands his vet book to veterinarian Bruce Nwadike at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson crouches down with his leaders as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson crouches down with his leaders as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
A stuffed toy husky wearing a helmet sits on the front of the sled of Nicolas Petit at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Mike Williams Jr. has breakfast in the company of two-year-old Karson Alexie in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs pull the sled across a small stream in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs pull the sled across a small stream in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team a stuck in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King talks about the trail from Rainy Pass to Nikolai at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. King said about the trail Òyou are going down a 45-degree slope with trees on both sides and a corner at the bottom. God itÕs fun.Ó
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna, Kristy Berington and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King carries coolers of hot water back to his team at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. King said about the trail Òyou are going down a 45-degree slope with trees on both sides and a corner at the bottom. God itÕs fun.Ó
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two of his dogs walk away from his sled on the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two of his dogs walk away from his sled on the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
A musher rests their team next to the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Dalzell Gorge with near by open water during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister puts straw down for his dogs at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister winces with pain as he takes off his bibs at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister said it hurts when he bends the knee. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs walk the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs walk the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
A musher rests their team next to the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Dalzell Gorge with near by open water during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aliy Zirkle shows one of her dog booties that is completely worn through after 25 miles on the Farewell Burn at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Veterinarian Bruce Nwadike checks the dogs of musher Mike Williams Jr. at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington and Charley Bejna look at a group of mushers stopped in the Farewell Burn as they discuss the trail conditions during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington and Charley Bejna look at a group of mushers stopped in the Farewell Burn as they discuss the trail conditions during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Hans Gatt has dried blood around his eyes after coming off the Farewell Burn and into the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Gatt hit a tree on the Burn just outside of Rohn.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Jason Mackey winces with pain as he moves his arm in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
A musher and the team rest next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Martin Buser shows his swollen ankle to Aaron Burmeister in the school cafeteria during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Nikolai. The swelling of BuserÕs ankle has gone down after a short rest at the Nikolai checkpoint. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington changes her socks as she sits in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington changes her socks as she sits in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aliy Zirkle fills her cooler with hot water to mix dog food at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 201. Berkowitz's sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Rick Casillo stops to snack his dogs next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister can still smile, at the Nikolai checkpoint, after having his knee pop out and having to tape it up to stabilize it during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington gets up after changing her socks in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington gets up after changing her socks in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Martin Buser has breakfast and checks the race standings in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson lines his dogs out as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop. Jake Berkowitz, who busted up his sled beyond repair scratched in the middle of the Burn, stands by.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team are stuck in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister comes into the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron BurmeisterÕs sled dogs rest at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson crouches down with his leaders as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Aliy Zirkle talks about the snowless trail across the Farewell Burn at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
One of Anna Berington's team dogs looks back as they mush down the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
One of Anna Berington's team dogs looks back as they mush down the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Mike Williams Jr. hands his vet book to veterinarian Bruce Nwadike at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs pull the sled across a small stream in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team a stuck in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
A stuffed toy husky wearing a helmet sits on the front of the sled of Nicolas Petit at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Mike Williams Jr. has breakfast in the company of two-year-old Karson Alexie in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two of his dogs walk away from his sled on the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
A musher rests their team next to the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Dalzell Gorge with near by open water during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King talks about the trail from Rainy Pass to Nikolai at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. King said about the trail Òyou are going down a 45-degree slope with trees on both sides and a corner at the bottom. God itÕs fun.Ó
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna, Kristy Berington and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna, Kristy Berington and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King carries coolers of hot water back to his team at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. King said about the trail Òyou are going down a 45-degree slope with trees on both sides and a corner at the bottom. God itÕs fun.Ó
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher and two dogs walk the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The rest of his team waited along the trail less then a mile ahead of him. 140304
Bob Hallinen
A musher rests their team next to the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Dalzell Gorge with near by open water during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister puts straw down for his dogs at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister winces with pain as he takes off his bibs at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister said it hurts when he bends the knee. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington and Charley Bejna look at a group of mushers stopped in the Farewell Burn as they discuss the trail conditions during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Hans Gatt has dried blood around his eyes after coming off the Farewell Burn and into the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Gatt hit a tree on the Burn just outside of Rohn.
Bob Hallinen
Aliy Zirkle shows one of her dog booties that is completely worn through after 25 miles on the Farewell Burn at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Rick Casillo, Charley Bejna and Jake Berkowitz are parked in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÕs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Veterinarian Bruce Nwadike checks the dogs of musher Mike Williams Jr. at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington changes her socks as she sits in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aliy Zirkle fills her cooler with hot water to mix dog food at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Jason Mackey winces with pain as he moves his arm in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Jason Mackey winces with pain as he moves his arm in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
A musher and the team rest next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
A musher and the team rest next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Martin Buser shows his swollen ankle to Aaron Burmeister in the school cafeteria during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Nikolai. The swelling of BuserÕs ankle has gone down after a short rest at the Nikolai checkpoint. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Anna Berington gets up after changing her socks in the Iditarod trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Martin Buser has breakfast and checks the race standings in the school cafeteria at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 201. Berkowitz's sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team wait for help next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 201. Berkowitz's sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Rick Casillo stops to snack his dogs next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Musher Rick Casillo stops to snack his dogs next to the trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister can still smile, at the Nikolai checkpoint, after having his knee pop out and having to tape it up to stabilize it during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn.
Bob Hallinen
Kristy Berington mushes down the Iditarod Trail in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron BurmeisterÕs sled dogs rest at the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson lines his dogs out as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop. Jake Berkowitz, who busted up his sled beyond repair scratched in the middle of the Burn, stands by.
Bob Hallinen
Mats Pettersson lines his dogs out as he prepares to continue across the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 after a brief stop. Jake Berkowitz, who busted up his sled beyond repair scratched in the middle of the Burn, stands by.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team are stuck in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Jake Berkowitz and his team are stuck in the middle of the Farewell Burn during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. BerkowitzÍs sled is busted beyond repair and he scratched.
Bob Hallinen
Aaron Burmeister comes into the Nikolai checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Burmeister injured his knee about 18 miles past the Rohn checkpoint on the snowless Farewell Burn. His knee popped out and he had to tape it up so it would stay in place.
Bob Hallinen

Nicolas Petit appears to have his eye on the prize, not the pies.

The Girdwood musher grabbed the Iditarod lead on Tuesday night by mushing through Takotna, a checkpoint favored by mushers for its hospitality and fresh-baked pies.

Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers got there first, and had the place to herself for almost 90 minutes. Then Petit arrived, stayed for seven minutes, and left at 8:35 p.m., bound for Ophir.

Petit, 34, is one to watch. He placed sixth last year to earn the Most Improved Musher award. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 when he placed 28th, and finished 29th in 2012.

Aaron Burmeister, mushing despite a knee injury, joined Zirkle in Takotna at 8:45 p.m. and Robert Sorlie, a two-time winner, arrived at 9:24 p.m.

Of those four, Sorlie had the fastest run time from McGrath to Takotna -- he did it in 2 hours, 5 minutes. Zirkle made the run in 2:12, Burmeister in 2:17 and Petit in 2:27.

The race became somewhat of an afterthought on Tuesday, a day when treacherous trail conditions knocked nearly a dozen of mushers out of the Iditarod.

Stories of injured mushers and busted sleds dominated, but the night-time moves by Petit, Zirkle and others was a reminder that there's a race going on amid all the carnage.

Whether Petit is truly the race leader is debatable. He has yet to take his 24-hour mandatory layover, Monday's race leader -- four-time champion Martin Buser -- was poised to leave Nikolai shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday after completing his 24-hour break. When he does, he and Maixner will be the only mushers who are done with their daylong layovers.

The last two champions -- 2012 winner Dallas Seavey and his dad, defending champ Mitch, appear to be running together, at least for now. They left McGrath 10 minutes apary, with Dallas leading the way at 8:39 p.m.

A couple of contenders lingered in McGrath for a few hours before leaving late in the evening, a group led bby Jeff King at 9:35 p.m. Hans Gatt followed at 9:43 and Sonny Lindner at 9:55 p.m.

Lindner was the first to reach McGrath, arriving at 4:38 p.m. and collecting the PenAir Spirit of Alaska Award for being the first musher to that checkpoint. His prize includes a spirit mask and a $500 Pen-Air credit for freight or travel.

Zirkle was the second to reach McGrath, and she stole the lead from Lindner by pushing on to Takotna while Lindner stayed behind.

King was the third musher to reach McGrath. Among the frontrunnerst, he owned the fastest run time from Nikolai, doing it in 4:25. Sorlie had the second fastest Nikolai-to-McGrath time, 4:54.

Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

Meet the Sled Dogs
Race standings
Complete Iditarod coverage
By BETH BRAGG
bbragg@adn.com
Contact Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or on