The twins spent 6 1/2 hours on the 50 miles of trail from Ruby to Galena over the afternoon and evening Thursday, pulling in at 10:20pm. As expected, they declared and took their mandatory 24 rest in this checkpoint. I'm sure it was a welcome break for mushers and dogs alike, with a chance to eat, sleep, and just generally recover from the miles they've covered so far. They both pulled their snow hooks as soon as their 24s were satisfied (including the extra minutes to equalize the race's 2-minute interval start) just after 10:30 pm Friday night. That, and the fact that Kristy only dropped 1 dog - leaving her with 14 on the line - and Anna didn't drop any - retaining 12 on the line - are both very good indicators of how they and their dogs are feeling right now. Kristy was first out in 40th with Anna reported out in 41st place.
They have an 82 mile run from Galena to Huslia and appear to have stopped as planned in a small cabin about halfway. In Huslia, race mile 478, I expect them to take a decent rest, probably in the neighborhood of 4-6 hours, before hitting the trail to Koyukuk. They'll likely break up that 86 mile run about 60 miles in at another small cabin. The weather looks very accommodating, with temps in Huslia at +10F (-12C) and mild winds. And in truth, that is a bit on the warm side for the dogs. But with the twins closing in on this checkpoint mid-morning Saturday, they'll be able to let the dogs rest in the sun during the warmest parts of the day.
One more musher has scratched from the race, Mark Selland of Anchorage, bringing that tally to 3 and leaving 69 mushers racing on the trail. The front 22 teams, or nearly 1/3rd of the field, are reported out of Huslia, and GPS shows the top 3 - Wade Marrs, Mitch Seavey, and Dallas Seavey - over 550 miles into the race and closing in on Koyukuk. The top 10 teams out of Huslia were all running 13 to 16 dog teams, have all completed their 24s, and 4 of the 10 have also completed the 8 hour stop required at some checkpoint along the Yukon. The twins have yet to satisfy that requirement, but I expect them to do so in Nulato. Once the first half of the field is at or past Kaltag and have completed both the 24 and 8 hour stops, ranks should start to settle out a bit.
Look for a special edition or two in the blog over the weekend, as well as another race update. In the meantime, here are some other cool things to check out mentioning the twins.
Here's a short but very sweet clip from KTUU.com's twitter feed as Anna and then Kristy mush down the trail.
Read a quote from Kristy and other mushers about how they stay warm on the trail.
The end of this ADN.com blog entry talks about "camping" along the trail and includes a quote from Anna.
Seeing Double... double? There are two sets of Berington "siblings" on the trail again this year.
Kristy talks about how this year is 'treadmill mushing' in this KNOM.org article.
And enjoy a few pictures!