The 2012 Iditarod will be decided today, we just don’t know who will claim victory in Nome just yet. The frontrunners have arrived in White Mountain, which is just two checkpoints away from the finish and at the moment they are serving out a final mandatory 8 hour rest before they begin the final run to the end.
As I write this, Dallas Seavey is in first place with a one hour and 11 minute lead over Aliy Zirkle. Racing in third place is Ramey Smyth who is another 52 minutes back. Aaron Burmeister is the only other musher to reach White Mountain at this point and Peter Kaiser is currently holding down the fifth position on his way into the CP.
Once they have completed their mandatory rest, the teams will head back out onto the trail. That means Dallas will maintain his lead as they resume the race, but what happens after that is what will ultimately decide the outcome. The leg from White Mountain to Safety, the penultimate checkpoint, will be a challenging 55 miles in length and from there it will be just 22 miles to Nome.
The wildcard in the top three is Ramey, who struggled at the mid-point of this race but has come back very strong now. Smyth has bolted past a number of very good teams and is now in position to contend for the win, something that seemed unthinkable just a few days ago.
Now it all comes down to who has the fresher dogs and sets the right pace. Nome is close but there are still many miles to go until these teams are done. Trail tactics can still play a role in who will come out on top. No matter who wins however, it is going to be an exciting finish.
The winner should arrive in Nome sometime early evening today.
For more Iditarod coverage be sure to check-out the Iditablog.
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