Martin Buser once again ran a blistering race in an attempt to get out in front before teams start taking their mandatory 24-hour rest stops. He was the first team into Nikolai, after crossing the snow-less Farewell Burn, and immediately declared his 24.
Sonny Lindner was first to McGrath, followed by Aliy Zirkle, Jeff King, Nicolas Petit and Hugh Neff.
Aliy led the pack to Takotna, where Nic, Jeff and Aaron Burmeister blew on through.
Sonny, Aaron, Paul Gebhardt, Jeff King and John Baker went through Ophir on their way to Cripple.
Until all of the teams have taken their 24s, it isn't apparent who is "leading". Time will tell!
Meanwhile, the tough trail conditions have forced numerous teams to scratch. The primary difficulty it damage to sleds and the mushers, as the dogs actually benefit from the hard and fast trail.
These teams are listed as "Out of the Race" as of 2:20pm ET
Cindy Abbott (r)Ellen Halverson