Rookies perservere update Wednesday February 27 8:15 AM

2/27 8:18 AM

current temp McGrath: 0F

current conditions Puntilla:

4 bikers are at the finish line in McGrath and 4 riders have finished the 150 mile race at Rainy Pass Lodge (Puntilla Lake).

Conditions yesterday and this morning are firm and fast with sunny skies and temps in the high 20s. The temperature at Puntilla was -8F when Kim and Missy rolled out this morning under an aurora-lit sky. 

Our this years rookies and training camp participants in the 150 mile race are all doing well.

In mid February 8 participants from 5 different countries took part in our annual 5 day winter training camp on Flathorn Lake: Brian Marang finished, Nina Stupples, Cheryl Wallace.

It appears that some of them bivvied last night on their way to the finish line in Puntilla.

They are all doing really well on the trail. The camps is another way to enter the race for new people without a lot of winter and cold weather experience. ITI offers this camp every year.

Leading woman is Rebecca Rusch. She is on route to Nikolai. It appears she has been stopping along the way. Currently she has been stopped for 2 hours.

Racers bivi in this race. This means they are getting off the trail and getting their sleeping bag out and getting a few hours of rest alongside the trail. The tracker color goes to a faded lighter color. This means they have been stopped for more than 30 minutes.

150 mile distance, new for 2019:

Leading runner is Maren Bradley, she is a runner, she is just a mile ahead of Cheryl Wallace and Nina Stupples from New Zealand. They both did this year’s ITI training camp on Flathorn Lake.

German runners Stephan Huss and Manfred Krause, also camp participants this year are doing well.

Troy Szcurkowski from Australia is leading in the 1000 mile distance.

Leading runner is rookie runner Rob Henderson (mile 161). He is on his way to Rohn and heading over Rainy Pass.

The next runner behind him is at mile 136 is Jeff Rock, also a rookie.

Foot record holder David Johnson from Willow Alaska who hold the running record of over just 4 days is not competing this year.

This year the lead bikers report great conditions of the pass with ridable trails which does not happen very often since the terrain is above treeline and often windblown with drifted in trails. It is a crux point of the course. In past years racers have turned around on the pass and come back to the Puntilla check point due to cold strong winds and drifted in non existent trails.

This year mother nature seems to be smiling on the racers. Race veterans Jay Petervary (11 finishes) and Peter Basinger (16 finishes) report some of the best trail conditions in year, rideable trails, no wind and fairly mild temperatures.

Kathi Merchant
co race director in McGrath 2/27 9 AM.

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