Open water on Chena may change Iron Dog finish line

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010

FAIRBANKS - The director of the Iron Dog snowmachine race is looking at finish line options if open water on the Chena River prevents the use of Pike's Landing at Fairbanks.

Director Laura Bedard told The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner she hopes colder weather will freeze the 30-foot-wide channel by Saturday's finish, but she has a contingency plan.

Even if racers finish at Pike's, Bedard said activities will be staged in the parking lot, not on the river, to keep people off the ice.

Race officials plan to make a decision on the finish line Friday when racers reach Tanana. They'll restart Saturday for the final 200 miles of the 1,971-mile race to ensure a daylight finish.

"We're watching the ice out here and crossing our fingers it's going to get colder," Bedard said. "It's our goal to do the finish at Pike's unless something prevents us from doing that."

One option is to end the race about at the Pump House restaurant, about a half-mile downstream of Pike's. Another option would be to finish on the Tanana River at the Chena Pump wayside and boat launch.

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