March 15, 2009

Iditarod 2009 Day 8

The 15-dog team of Lance Mackey was once more slogging its way north Saturday afternoon on a punchy trail up the frozen Yukon River.
The leader in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race since grabbing the halfway prize in the ghost town of Iditarod on Thursday, Mackey let his dogs rest for more than 7 hours
after hitting the minimalist, wall-tent checkpoint of Eagle Island along the west bank of the river Saturday morning. The long rest came after a tough 60 miles of trail in from Grayling that took his dogs more than 9 1/2 hours.

The race has become a slow crawl since the teams began hit the Yukon River. Deep soft snow has reduced Mackeys team to a 5 to 6 MPH (this ain't Nascar folks) slog. Even so Lance Mackey has managed to maintain a sizable lead which allowed him to take a seven hour break in Eagle Island. His closest competitor is about four hours behind which has to be demoralizing as Mackey pulls out of a checkpoint well rested just as you are arriving.

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