Wow, wow and wow. I can't quite believe it. I couldn't be more proud of Milos and the dogs right now. They had the fastest time between Skoganvarre and Levajok as well as Levajok to Karasjok. Although Ole Wingren was behind Milos by one minute into Karasjok. Katy Meier and Eline Lihagen also had good times on this last section just a few minutes behind Milos.
The time gets equalised at Karajok. That means all the different starting times are accounted for and each musher is given a start time to leave Karasjok. From here on, first on the trail means first in the race.
Milos left at 20.40 with Ole Wingren just 4 minutes behind. This small but vital time advantage had been gained last night in stormy conditions through the mountains. Today's run along the river was a much better and faster trail which allowed all the mushers to push the speed a bit and things were pretty equal between the top teams. I think Milos was really pleased to be going at a more natural pace for the dogs and to be on the trail for only 5 hours on the longest stretch of the race (85km).
All the dogs look good and went off in fine form tonight (out of Karasjok towards Jergul 67km away). Grony and Gina are perhaps showing a few signs of being tired but he can give them a longer rest here at at Jergul as there's a six hour mandatory rest for all the teams. Toby is performing great after his little blip earlier in the race.
So we are waiting for Milos now. The stage follows some hills and mountains through the valley so we know that this is a place Milos can gain some time on his competitors... And it looks like he's taken the chance. Although the live GPS tracking can give a slightly confusing picture with different GPS's being updated at different times it looks like Milos is doing well. I'm glad, as he looked in worse shape than the dogs at the start line tonight! I think the lack of sleep is taking a toll on him now but he will also get a break on arriving later this evening.
Meanwhile it looks like Taisto is struggling a bit. He's down to 7 dogs and the weather and storms have definitely made the trail more challenging and he's finding himself out for longer periods of time. This in turn adds to his exhaustion. But he skipped some rest at Skoganvarre so maybe he can add some rest time at Karasjok and recover a little.
So, we're in a position we never thought possible right now... Although we have heard so many people say "the race starts at Jergul" so it is a really long way to go still and the competition is fierce!
Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Pictures of Milos arriving at Karasjok and leaving a few hours later.