The curse of the tropics was upon the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as the leaders rolled into the village of Nikolai shortly before noon today. Temperatures on the Farewell Burn approached 40 degrees, not so good for the dogs.
With daytime temperatures starting to rise toward the freezing mark, defending champ Lance Mackey and his 16 dogs led the teams into the Rainy Pass checkpoint shortly before noon. He was only about 20 minutes off the pace set by Mitch Seavey of Sterling last year, but well off the 10 a.m. arrival of Cim Smyth from Big Lake in 2007.Craig Medred
As unlikely as it may be to repeat what Fairbanks musher Lance Mackey has accomplished the past two years, Sebastian Schnuelle of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, was the first musher to Finger Lake before dawn on Monday.Mike Campbell
Where experienced Alaska mushers like Jeff King and five-time champ Rick Swenson from Two Rivers were all speed and efficiency in preparing their dogs for the 1,000-mile trail ahead, most of the Iditarod rookies are just the opposite.Craig Medred
With a crowd of spectators stretched across Willow Lake and a helicopter carrying a camera crew thundering overhead, the clock started ticking Sunday afternoon for the 67 mushers and more than a thousand eager dogs in the 37th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Craig Medred