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Iron Dog Update Day 1 - Fastest Times To McGrath

February 19, 2012|By Tim Akimoff | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Weeks of heavy snow followed by warmer temperatures left many Iron Dog racers wondering what the 2012 trail was going to be like.

Turns out it's fast, at least for the first day of racing.

The 2012 Iron Dog got underway just after 11 a.m. on Sunday under partly cloudy skies on Big Lake.

Dusty VanMeter and Marc McKenna were the first team out of the chute, followed by the rest of the field.

Team 2, Ryan Sottosanti and Andrew Zwink led much of the way, according to the Iron Dog GPS tracker, but it was team 39, Tyler Aklestad and Aaron Loyer, that recorded the fastest time to Puntilla that race marshall Chris Graeber has ever seen.

Team 39 decided to take the optional six-hour layover in Puntilla, after Graeber reported that Aaron Loyer got into some water. The sleds are reportedly fine.

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Team 8, Chad Gueco and Tyson Johnson, reportedly had clutching issues, according to Graeber, but at last report they were up and running again.

Trail conditions are reportedly fast, with racing speeds of up to 75 miles per hour being reported by the GPS tracking system.

"Those are some of the fastest times I've ever seen to McGrath," Graeber said.

Some strategy is already playing out in McGrath, as teams are declaring layovers. Team 16, Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad declared an 8-hour layover and will be eligible to leave McGrath by 3:40 a.m. on Monday.

The first two teams to arrive in McGrath declared 14-hour layovers, and will not leave McGrath until 10 a.m. on Monday.

Team 20, Jana Peterson-Pevan and Carl Swenson, had trouble right off of Big Lake and had to return to repair a sled. They made the repairs, according to Graeber, and were back on the course as of early evening Sunday.

Team 25, Race Price and Eric Watson, officially scratched after they were unable to make timely repairs to one of their sleds.

For compete Iron Dog coverage, click here.

Email Tim Akimoff

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