The top 10 Iditarod teams are all still in the hunt as they converge on Alaska's Norton Sound coast. From that point forward, the race becomes a match of will and determination. Expect more teams to fall off the torrid pace as trail conditions deteriorate.
Led by Aliy Zirkle, the frontrunners came speeding into Unalakleet Saturday afternoon. With no more mandatory rests, the rest of the Iditarod will simply be a 265-mile race to the finish.Suzanna Caldwell
Teams that cannot keep pace in the Last Great Race are regularly -- usually politely, but not always so -- asked to abandon the adventure. Usually, it is because they are judged to be in violation of dreaded Rule 36 -- the "competitiveness'' rule. Craig Medred
Nine months after the worst flood in 100 years left the Yukon River town of Galena struggling to rebuild, things are slowly coming back to their regular pace. One thing that's helping? The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for Galena came from mushers. Generally, Iditarod dog drivers arrive in the community of 400 Friday night or that afternoon at the earliest, but with this year's blistering pace, volunteers running the checkpoint were surprised to see two-time runner-up Aliy Zirkle pull into the checkpoint just after 6 a.m.Suzanna Caldwell
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.
Aliy Zirkle took advantage of great river trail conditions last night to extend her measured eight-hour runs all the way to Galena, temporarily taking over the overall race lead Friday morning; by midday, though, Martin Buser's calculated early run had put him back at the front of the pack.Zack Steer
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.
Long runs, short rests, high speed -- there are as many Iditarod game plans as there are mushers. As the race progresses and strategies become clear, mushers assess their own strategies -- and those of their competitors.Suzanna Caldwell