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Iron Dog Day 3: Team 6 regains the lead thanks to an icy run out of Koyuk

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 7:23 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The trail less traveled paid dividends for Team 6, Robby Schachle and Brad George, as they regained the lead of the 2021 Iron Dog at the Nome checkpoint. It pays to be in first place with the leading team at the Nome checkpoint receiving $5, 000 courtesy of the Nome Benton Bay Lions Club.

Leaving the Galena checkpoint Schachle and George were in fourth place but were able to make up time taking the ice out of Koyuk.

“There were a couple of nice ice shelves out there that could have got us,” George said in Nome. “We hit one creek both doing 60-65 miles an hour, and I have no idea how our sleds in one piece.”

The ice strategy didn’t work out so well for Team 10, Mike Morgan and Chris Olds, who had trouble coming into the Koyuk checkpoint.

“We hit a chunk ice and went for a ride,” Morgan said. “It’s going to be a save the equipment race from here on out.”

A thousand miles into the 2021 race and no team has taken a substantial lead with minutes separating the top teams. Teams said they have less room for error this year due to minimal air support and longer trail finishing with a trip through the Alaska Range.

“First time in ten years, I didn’t push,” George said. “We were actually not planning to be in first when we got to Nome, and here we are.”

Teams will a rest day in Nome and have a chance to work on their sleds if they need to. If teams have parts flown in they have to be on a scheduled commercial airline unlike years past when anyone could fly in parts for teams. Racers will have to take their second and final COVID-19 test in Nome before returning to the trail on Wednesday when they leave for Kotzebue. A winner is expected to cross the finish line Saturday at Big Lake.

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