March 8 evening update
We have been monitoring the trackers all day. The ITI racers are moving along the trail now in the midst of the Iditarod dog mushers, who have arrived in Grayling. The leading bikers in the ITI are still ahead of the mushers, and they are moving along well on the big, wide, mighty Yukon River at over a mile wide in places.
A quote from Andy Heading, a competitor from the UK several years ago : “This is not a river, it is an ocean.”
Florian Reiterberger is still in Ophir, according to his tracker. The weather conditions have most likely prevented a bush flight out. A flight or the trail is the only way out.
Eric Johnson from Odgen, Utah, is on the trail, but either his tracker is not working or he forgot to turn it on. He left the McGrath checkpoint 2 days ago.
The trail is really remote beyond McGrath, and the 1000-mile race is different from the 350-mile race. It is a self-supported, winter expedition. The only news we get as race organizers is what racers post themselves on social media when they have access to wifi in the villages, or if they call from a village. The only cell phone that works close to or in the villages is the Alaskan GCI cell phone. Some racers carry satellite phones. They are not required to call the race organization. We get what information we get on occasion or through Iditarod news media on the trail. We will share information as racers pass through gateways/villages along the trail. There will be more places to find wifi once racers get to Kaltag and after Unalakleet on the Bering Sea Coast.
Hopefully, we will hear from them sooner.
race director, Matanuska Valley, Alaska