2/25 at 11:00 PM race report from Nikolai

race report from Nikolai-Kathi Merchant co race director

current weather/conditions in Nikolai:

18 F , partly sunny, no wind.

Rainy Pass Lodge on Puntilla Lake mile 150 reports 3 F and no wind, clear skies.

The temperature dropped to -25 F on the Yentna River last night and at least 4 people have frostbitten face, fingers and toes.

There are 10 scratches so far:

David Barker Milner, Thomas Keene,Teri Buck, Tony Newton, John Berryman, Tobias Bos, Ronnie Carrara, Bartosz Skowronski.

Thomas Keene walked back to Knik Lake. David Barker Milner got a ride back to Anchorage.

I only recive face book messages from our checker at Yentna Station,so I don’t have too many details on exactly why they scratched. All I know there is some frostbite and general fatigue. Regal Air was taking those racers back to
Anchorage today.

We have corrected the tracker mulfunctions Dennis Staley and Tyson Flaharty who is now in the lead and on his way to the Rohn check point, over the Alaska Range (Rainy Pass).

Race leader Tyson is in Rohn mile 200. His chasers are Jay Petervary 12 miles from Rohn and Clinton Hodges 16 miles from Rohn. Behind is Peter Basinger. Both veterans with many finishes, wins as well as course records.

All of them are entered in the largest field and most competitive distance of 350 miles.

Leader in the 1000 mile distance is Troy Szurkowski, also a race veteran with 3 finishes in Nome.

The first woman is Rebecca Rush is in Fingerlake ( Winterlake Lodge) on a fat bike.

Asbjorn Skjoth Bruun is the first skier and he is 72.3. He is a rookie racer. Local skier Lars Danner is at mile 55.6 currently.

First on foot is Rob Henderson at mile 85, he is a rookie this year.

After arriving in Nikolai with our 2 volunteers Kiwi Lucas Smith ( second year in Nikolai) and George Grigonis from Philadelphia.

I was told by locals there is a significant amount of overflow between Nikolai and McGrath up to waist deep in places due to the recent snow and warm temperatures. It is springlike here and way too warm according to the locals. Nikolai is a small athabascan village along the Kuskoskwim River with about 90 people. It is quiet here. There is a church, school, city building, airport, post office and small general store. There some activity here, locals are setting up check points for the mushers race, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race which starts this coming Sunday.

Kathi Merchant in Nikolai
co race director

February 25 2019

Alaska Range
Kathi MerchantComment