Dallas Seavey First to White Mountain, Maintains Iditarod Lead

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Dallas Seavey was the first musher to arrive in White Mountain Tuesday morning. It’s the second to last stop along the Iditarod trail. Teams will take an eight-hour mandatory rest there, before the make the final push for Nome.

The church bell in White Mountain signaled Dallas Seavey’s arrival.

Seavey says he’s pleased with his run, but the defending champion says he’s not quite ready to credit his team with winning this year’s Iditarod.

“We’ve got so much on the line right now, so on the one hand I’m really excited to get to Nome, let’s just get this thing done with, get it in the bag, have it in the record books—you know? But on the other hand, I don’t
want this to end… This has been way too much fun with this dog team.”

Seavey has been in a chipper mood for most of the race. He says he’s never had as much fun driving a dog team, but he also says he’s worked for nearly half a decade to raise the kind of team he is driving this year.

“I mean coming in here today I was just looking at ‘em, up and down the team,” he said. “And every single one of those dogs is a super star. I mean I feel pretty privileged to be able to run with those guys.”

Seavey has won the Iditarod twice before. His dogs are known for their speed. He says his mushing style reflects their genetics.

“Speed is the name of the game for these guys, and most of the time I see people get good speed in their team they don’t hold onto it. They use it in the short term, and then they burn it up.” 00:14

But Seavey doesn’t like to run long, without giving his dogs some extra rest.

“So, you get ahead with the speed and then you give it back to them in rest. And that takes confidence in your dog team that they’ll get up and go fast again and again and again. They know if they go fast, I’ll give
them more rest… and I know if I give ‘em rest they’ll keep going fast, so  you have to trust each other.”

The final 70-mile run to Nome is not nearly as long as other runs along the Iditarod trail, and Seavey is unlikely to lose his lead, but the Bering Sea Coast is known for dramatic changes in weather and dog teams have been
known to quit unexpectedly. Seavey is well aware that the final push to the finish line s sometimes the most dramatic.