The Iditarod Trail Race is like a poker game once Teams reach the Unalakleet area. Mushers strategize for 11 months of the year to come up with ways for a winning hand. They generally have several strategies up their sleeve and friends like Pete and Richie talk about them often during the year.
We see this playing out today in full force. Several strategies are playing out and really the games began once Teams left Kaltag.
Nicolas Petit made the run from Kaltag to Unalakleet in one long run. Expect to see him take a good long break in Unalakleet. He is in a really good place because he has one of the fastest Teams in the race and will know what Teams are doing once they reach the checkpoint. Some Teams are not going to stay and run up the coast to Shaktoolik.
Mitch Seavey stopped about half way between Kaltag and Unalakleet. He may break or he may head North.
Joar Ulsom stopped about 22 miles from Unalakleet and so did Pete and Richie. Will they head for Shak? I’m thinking they will because it will just be another 60 mile run. Since Ophir they have been doing a lot of 60 mile runs. Ophir to Iditarod, Grayling to Eagle Island, and Eagle Island to Kaltag. This latest 60 mile run is just another leg. And guess how far Shaktoolik is?? 60 miles…
Wade Mars pulled a fast one as did Ray Redington. They kept on going just out of sight of Pete and Richie. It will be a bit of a mind game for them as they’ll be wondering if those Teams kept running for Unalakleet. Both Wade and Ray will be able to keep tabs on Pete and Richie because if they leave early, they’ll have to pass Wade and Ray who can pull up stakes and be off in fairly notice.
It’s always a lot of fun to start watching the Gamesmanship happening. Long time fans will remember the Lance Mackey/Jeff King game in Shaktoolik when Lance snuck out of the checkpoint after acting like he was going to stay. King lept to take off after him, but Lance had totally pulled a fast one and went on to win the race.
Weather is much the same as it has been– Temps in the 20’s, light winds, and cloudy skies.
Go Team Kaiser!