Nic Petit, the Girdwood musher who has won the last three Copper Basin 300 championships, was the first musher to reach Meier’s Lake on Sunday, the second day of racing.
Petit arrived at 12:05 p.m., driving a team of 12 dogs. Second to arrive, at 12:38 p.m., was Julie Ahnen of Nenana with 11 dogs.
A field of 32 racers left the start line Saturday in Glennallen, where the 288-mile race will end sometime Monday.
Meier’s Lake is 170 miles into the race and 68 miles from the next checkpoint at Chistochina. After that, it’s 50 miles to the finish line back in Glennallen.
Two of the race’s top teams reached Meier’s Lake in sixth and seventh place -- Matt Hall of Two Rivers got there at 3:21 p.m. and 2018 Iditarod champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom of Norway got there at 3:23. Both were still driving full teams of 12 dogs.
Hall and Ulsom are worth noting because both served their mandatory six-hour layovers back in Sourdough, the race’s second checkpoint. Petit, Ahnen and everyone else who reached Meier’s Lake ahead of those two had yet to take their mandatory six-hour rest.
Mushers must take a total of 18 hours in layovers, including one six-hour rest at a checkpoint of their choice. Start differentials are made up wherever a team takes its six-hour break.
The other 12 hours of rest time can come at any checkpoint but must be taken in increments of 30 minutes. Out of Sourdough, Ulsom had done 10.5 hours of layovers and Hall had done 10. Petit and Ahnen each had done eight, and early Sunday evening it looked like both were taking their six-hour breaks at Meier’s Lake.
From Glennallen, the race goes to Lake Louise, Sourdough, Meier’s Lake and Chistochina before finishing in Glennallen at the Old Paths Baptist Church.
This story has been updated to correct the number of teams entered in the race.