The Daily 5: Mushers close in on Nikolai, a bird's eye view of the trail & an Iditarod forecast
Here are five things to know for Tuesday on Day 3 of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race:
1. Race Outlook: Mushers close in on Nikolai
Mushers on the trail to Nome are closing in on the checkpoint in Nikolai, which is 263 miles into the 1,000-mile trail.
Going into the night, Nic Petit was holding onto his lead, but according to a GPS tracker on Iditarod.com, the 2018 second place finisher stopped to rest along the trail around 11:30 p.m.
That allowed Joar Leifseth Ulsom to take the lead, with Peter Kaiser, Jessie Royer, and Aliy Zirkle headed into Nikolai behind him.
Mushers are approaching a point in the race when they need to make a strategic decision about where to take their mandatory 24-hour rest.
2. An aerial view of conditions on trail
The trek to Rohn takes mushers through the Dalzell Gorge, which has the potential to be one of the toughest stretches along the trail.
In 2014, multiple mushers scratched after traversing a barren — and in many spots snow-less — Dalzell Gorge. However, this year, conditions appear to be more favorable in the area.
KTVA's flight from the checkpoint in Skwentna to Nikolai on Monday afternoon offered aerial views of the trail mushers and their teams will travel as they barrel towards Rohn, and then on to Nikolai.
3. Iditarod Forecast
As musher Nicolas Petit pushed through the Rohn checkpoint Monday evening, temperatures were in the 30s and he had a strong wind at his back. Clear and mild is the best way to describe the weather for the first 36 hours of Iditarod 2019, but that is going to quickly change.
As teams are now transitioning out of the Alaska Range and into the Interior they're going to run into colder temperatures, stronger winds and increased chances for snow. A series of storms will move across Alaska this week and winter storm warnings and advisories are already in effect for the western side of the state.
4. Along the Trail: The Skwentna Roadhouse
The Iditarod's second checkpoint, Skwentna, is a hub of winter activity that draws people to the village off the road system.
Mushers are celebrated as they come into the community, like a surprise party for an old friend.
The Skwentna Roadhouse usually hires a band to play for mushers, but this year money was tight after temporarily losing their liquor license. Even without it, business is steady and visitors are happy to be a part of the race atmosphere.
5. Dog of the Day
Matthew Failor's 3-year-old lead dog Pink Floyd is running his third Iditarod.
Failor said Pink Floyd was born with a pink line on his chin, which has since turned black. He's part of Failor's "Heavy Metal" litter, with siblings named Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Led Zepplin and Ronnie James Dio.
"He's really playful, but he's also really serious too," said Failor. "I guess I really like that attitude, where they can be a dog but at the same time they turn into an athlete and they're actually really, they like to get going."
Failor planned to start with Pink Floyd in swing, then move him into the lead position soon into the race.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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