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NORDIC SKIING

Iditarod Trail Invitational features tie finishes, a remarkable skier and some luck of the Irish

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Adventure, Cover Story, Cycling, Nordic Skiing, Running

For more than two weeks, Tyson Flaharty and Miron Golfman endured cold temperatures, high winds, plenty of bike pushing and a scary sea ice crossing while biking the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

Their intentional tie after 16 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes was a testament to the bond the pair forged in the 950-mile ride that began February 25 in Knik and ended under the Burled Arch in Nome.

A frosty Clinton Hodges III and Kevin Breitenbach celebrate their ITI 350 win in McGrath. Photo courtesy ITI.

Said Golfman on Facebook: “After what was hands down the most difficult physical challenge of my life, it was amazing to have some easy riding trail and beautiful weather as we rolled into Nome! To have shared this experience with Tyson meant the world.”

The ride to Nome was the first for Flaharty, of Fairbanks, who has won the 300-mile version of the event that ends in McGrath. Golfman, of Anchorage, also won the ITI 1000 last year in just over 17 days.

Kinsey Loan of Anchorage won the women’s race in 20 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes. She finished fourth overall while completing the ride with fiancé Mark Moeller.

The route featured another remarkable female performance: Ana Jager of Anchorage left Knik a day before the official event and toured the course solo in just over 19 days. A renowned ultra endurance biker, Jager mailed herself resupply packages along the way.

As of Wednesday morning, Danish skier Asbjoern Skjoeth Bruun was less than 20 miles from Nome. He’ll become the first ski finisher in the current rendition of the event although a small number of skiers have previously completed the route.

Mark Moeller and Kinsey Loan after the ITI 1000 finish in Nome. Photo courtesy ITI.

Four other skiers are also still working their way to Nome.

Irishman Gavan Hennigan was leading the foot division at Mile 900 on Wednesday morning.

So far, eight participants have finished the ITI 1000, 15 are still on course and 15 have scratched.

In the ITI 350, which actually measured about 306 miles this year, Kevin Breitenbach of Fairbanks and Clinton Hodges III of Anchorage finished together in 3 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. The win was Hodges’ first in seven attempts.

The pair raced head-to-head but finally called a truce on the outskirts of McGrath and rode in together.

“We honestly tried to crush each other on the way to Nikolai,” Breitenbach said on Facebook. “But neither of us could pull away and I’m not sure a weird sprint finish down a side road is much in the spirit of the race.”

The result must have been especially satisfying for Breitenbach, who several years ago suffered severe leg injuries in an ATV accident.

Lael Wilcox, one of the sport’s best-known female riders, completed her first ITI in a winning time of 4 days and 27 minutes after struggling with respiratory issues. Wilcox grew up in Anchorage and now lives in Tucson, Ariz.

Tazlina Mannix, riding in memory of her father Arthur who died unexpectedly last year, finished second about 2 ½ hours after Wilcox.

Nick Janssen of Fairbanks won the ski division in 6:03:42 while Ryan Fox of Nome won the foot division in 7:14:40.

Full results can be viewed at https://itialaska.com/tracking

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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