The drawing of the Kuskokwim 300 marks the start of the racing season for Kaiser Racing and many of the mushers gathered tonight in Bethel, Alaska. As old friends gathered to hear the rules and see what’s in store, it reminds me of “Old Home Week.”
Myron Angstman began tonight with a tribute to Rudy Demoski, who passed away earlier today. A mushing legend, Rudy Demoski left his mark on many races, but as Myron’s voice shook a bit as he spoke, it was evident that it left a lasting impression on him, and the Kuskokwim 300 trail race. A fitting tribute to an old time musher for the old breed. Tough, talented, and a bit rough around the edges, but a true musher and racer and friend.
The 2018 Kuskokwim 300 will be far different from any race that has started under its name to date. The starting line is near the airport on a trail Pete and the team have been using for training. Warm condition and dangerous river conditions canceled completely the upper regions of the trail. Bogus Creek will be the upper most checkpoint and Teams will run from the start to Bogus in two 150 mile “laps.” It should be an exciting weekend and a unique opportunity for Bethel mushing fans to see Teams at a checkpoint. The M.E. School will be the Bethel checkpoint as Teams water and feed their Teams and also get a quick bite to eat as well. Bethel has never hosted a checkpoint, so this will be a great opportunity for fans to see how it works “on the trail!”
Team Kaiser will have two Teams in the race this year as Pete and the A Team will be joined by Nik Wikstrand and the B Team out on the Trail. Pete told me tonight that training has been marginal with much of the time spent out on the tundra with little snow and much ice.
Pete chose bib #5 and Nik chose #3. Teams are placed on the lake with odd numbers on one side and even on the other. So by choosing these positions, Nik and Pete will be side by side on the same side of the lake. Logistically it is just much easier for it to happen this way.
18 Teams will leave the chute tomorrow at 6:30pm near H-Marker lake. I’ll have mileages and such soon on this complex race for 2018. It should be a great deal of fun for spectators and as always, I’ll have lots of photos and video for you to devour if you can’t make it or are one of our online fans.
Go Team Kaiser!!
Welcome to the 2018 Racing Season!
In a few hours we will know Pete and Nik’s bib number to start off our season!
Pete returns as ‘Three Pete’ reigning Kuskokwim 300 champion.
Lots of racing news!
It doesn’t get much better than rolling into Nome behind a great Team of dogs that you have lived with for over 8 days!
Traditionally, with Bob and Sherrie Madden as our host family, we get up and drive out about 4 miles out of Nome to be the first to greet Pete and the Team. Sometimes it is ultra-early and other times ultra-late. Today it was just right. Get up, have some coffee, Bob’s biscuits and gravy and head out in a leisurely pace to a beautiful bright morning.
It was about -10 as we made our way into the Finish Chute and a huge crowd of Fans showed up to welcome Pete and the Team under the famed burled arches and Pete’s 9th place victory. A cheer went up as he crossed the finish line and was welcomed by hugs from family and friends.
Pete and the Team had an official time on the trail of 8days 23hours 5minutes 38seconds. 3 hours off his best time last year, but a great running time overall. Pete was very upbeat and proud of his Team. They did really nicely although the finishing 10 dogs were split 50/50 veterans and rookies, he was very pleased with his performance.
After the Finish Line festivities is was off to the dog lot where Teams are checked by the Veterinary crew and snacks and loving from Team Kaiser. This year, Ari, Pete and Bethany’s little guy was helping every step of the way.
I have video to come, but for now, here are the photos from this morning’s Finish in Nome!
Out on the Snow
Passing Fish Cabins
Driving to Nome
What a nice Team
On Front Street
Close to Finish
In the Chute
A few more feet
Welcome from Mom
Congratulations to the Team
Tired but Happy
Nuzzle to Nuzzle
Ari’s Daddy is Home
Someone is Happy
Talking to Reporters
Cleaning Ice from Beard
Check in Duties
Mail from Fairbanks
Officially Signing In
Tired Pete Kaiser
Looking forward to Sleep!
Kaiser Fans in Nome
Donlin Gold Sponsors
Time to Go
Leading to the Dog Lot
Overseeing the Team
Dad and Son Time
Ready for the Runners
Hugs from Mom
Mom and Son
Kaiser Pit Crew
Kaiser Fan Kit
Stella is Tired
Soaking in the Sun
Too Tired for Dinner
Good Morning from Nome!
Pete and the Team have been running with Aliy Zirkle since being released from White Mountain early this morning just after midnight.
At this hour both Teams are out of Safety at 7:42 and 7:43 respectively with Aliy having a narrow lead.
The weather is cold, but the winds of last night have calmed a bit and conditions are pretty nice. We are expecting Pete and the Team across the Finish Line before 11am.
We will be there with photos and more!
Go Team Kaiser!
After a tough go of it, Richie Diehl and his Team are back on track and making for White Mountain. It was probably a bit discouraging for the Team as a whole, but he is now running nicely and just a couple of hours away from his 8 hour layover in White Mountain.
A good recharge and he will be off to meet a cheering group of fans here in Nome!
Go Richie Go!
Under a huge orange moon in White Mountain, Pete and the Team led Aliy Zirkle out onto the trail to Nome at 12:38am.
Closely matched, the Teams have been traveling together since Unalakleet. This should be a very exciting run into the Finish for those of us that are watching, but really, the Teams will do what they will do and both Mushers, after an 8 hour break are ready to reach the Finish Line and a nice warm bed.
Expect an 8 to 9 hour run into Nome, so at this point we are expecting a finish between 9am and 10am. We will update you as soon as we get a bit closer.
See ya early in the morning!
Go Team Kaiser!
The 2017 Iditarod started in Fairbanks a bit over 10,000 minutes ago. Yes- 10,000!
And it came down to ONE minute into the 8 hour break in White Mountain for Pete Kaiser and the Team. That’s how much of a lead over Aliy Zirkle.
Pete and the Team were into White Mountain at 4:38pm followed by Aliy Zirkle at 4:39pm. Both Teams will be able to leave the checkpoint for Nome in 8 hours at 12:38 and 12:39am for the 77 mile run to the Finish Line. They are pretty evenly matched, so it will be a long night for Kaiser Fans tonight.
Michelle Phillips must have had some trouble on the trail and made it about halfway to White Mountain and stopped to rest. She had been traveling very nicely all the way from Unalakleet just on Pete’s heels. The same thing happened to Richie Diehl just out of Elim. 4 miles after leaving Elim with no break, Richie had some trouble with a leader and had to turn around and go back into the checkpoint to rest the team.
Michelle and Richie are now moving again and making their way towards White Mountain. We feel for both Teams as we saw our own Pete Kaiser have a similar problem in 2015 in Koyuk. It is a bit discouraging to see Team after Team go by, but a Musher has to see the bigger picture and just keep everything in perspective. In the end, the Finish is the accomplishment, and sometimes there comes a time where Racing goes away and just completing the Iditarod is the final reward.
Team Kaiser Pit Crew just landed in Nome and we are feasting on fresh Norton Sound Red King Crab for Dinner (I know– It’s a tough life!) courtesy of our great Host Family Bob and Sherrie Madden. I told Bob, “I’m Home in Nome!” We’ve been so lucky to be their guests for 8 years!