For the first Iditarod musher to reach Ruby, the checkpoint brings the promise of a gourmet meal. For the rest of the field, while there's no champagne, Ruby is still a milestone, marking the beginning of a long stretch of mushing along the Yukon River.
In the beginning, this year's Iditarod was more about surviving treacherous conditions, but it has shifted to a chess match as the leaders reach Ruby. Whose moves will pay off biggest is anyone's guess.
While Aaron Burmeister collected his gold nugget prize at the halfway point of Cripple, Jeff King and Sonny Lindner were looking ahead to Ruby, where both plan to take their 24-hour rests -- an unconventional move that could pay off or backfire, depending on how things unfold along the trail.