Petit mushes to crown at Tustumena 200
Nicolas Petit blazed his way across the southern Kenai Peninsula over the weekend and outraced 17 other mushers en route to claiming his first Tustumena 200 crown. Petit mushed his team of 10 dogs across the finish line at Freddie's Roadhouse near Mile 16 of Oil Well Road at 2:26 p.m. and officially penciled his name into history.
An Iditarod veteran, he covered the revamped Tustumena 200 trail in a time of 25 hours and 52 minutes.
Due to lack of snow in some areas, race officials re-routed part of the race — a move that created a course that was actually 167.3 miles in length. As part of the new trail, mushers departed Freddie's Roadhouse at noon on Saturday and then made a roughly 100-mile trek to McNeil Canyon Elementary School on East End Road before turning around and finishing at the roadhouse.
Seward's Travis Beals finished second in the overall standings with a time of 26:04. He mushed his team of 10 dogs across the finish line at 2:38, just 12 minutes behind Petit.
The Tustumena 200 is one of several races, including the recent Kuskokwim 300, that serves as qualifier events for the Iditarod, which begins March 3 in Anchorage.