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!