Pete and the Team are tired “Puppies” tonight! It was mentally and physically challenging running against the wind and across the ice to Koyuk. Pete in this interview, though, looks really great. You can just see through the tired and the wind that this young man that we follow each year is really in his element. THIS is long distance sled dog racing!!
Pete lost almost an hour over Ray Redington arriving into Koyuk at the checkpoint 171 miles from Nome at 7:02pm.
I’m expecting a 4 to 5 hour break before he readies the Team for the run west to White Mountain and a mandatory 8 hour break.
Weather tonight is windy but may subside as Team head west.
Area Weather for tonight:
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. North wind 5 to 10 mph.
A 40 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 17. Northeast wind around 5 mph.
Snow likely, mainly before 10pm. Cloudy, with a low around 4. North wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Just one look at the Insider Video tells us that this is a tough one for Man and Team!
The wind that was predicted to be so so not so bad a couple of days ago reared its head into an angry monster and Teams are face in and struggling. All of the Teams show much slower speeds than going into Shaktoolik.
Pete and Ray are still about 20 miles or almost 3 hours until Koyuk.
Go Team Kaiser! And good luck to all of the Teams out there today as we relax indoors and watch from our easy chairs!
Take a look at Pete and the Team’s speed before moving out onto the ice and then after traveling on the bay trail.
Pete and the Team arrived into Shaktoolik early this morning at 4:31 and have been resting since. Weather in Shaktoolik is pretty much as it always is– Windy! Ice fog is also a factor and visibility will be poor.
Teams will rest up for the 50 mile journey to Koyuk into the wind. Apparently the trail is following the coast rather than going straight across the bay as is usually the case. A warm winter has more than likely moved the trail which will make it a bit longer as well.
Teams are coming into Shaktoolik at this hour with Travis Beals, Wade Marrs, and Richie Diehl all in to the checkpoint.
This race isn’t over at all as there are a couple of hundred miles of hard trail and about 35-40 hours left on the race clock.
At the front Mitch Seavey is watching Joar Ulsom battle Nic Petit for the top position, yet Mitch has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve that could put him forward easily. Joar pulled in front of Nic over the ice, so we will see how it goes as rest becomes a factor.
Ray and Pete have at least 9 teams vying for the top 5, and many more are headed for Shaktoolik.
It is going to be very exciting to be sure.
One thing that I found so notable was the energy of Pete and the Team into Unalakleet last night. It looked like they were at the START of a race, not 800 miles into it. It was such a beautiful sight to see.
Mushing weather for today is going to be wind from the North gusting to 25 with periods of freezing fog and possible snow showers. It’s going to be a cold one as traveling in ice fog always seems to make it FEEL colder. Hopefully the trail is well marked for those periods of ice fog.
As expected Pete and the Team didn’t stop for a break in Unalakleet. Kale Casey Live was live at the checkpoint, so we got to see it live. Pete waited as the Veterinarians checked over the Team and then barking and lunging, they headed off into the night just after Ray Redington Jr.
Richie Diehl and Wade Marrs stopped and are putting out straw and taking a break.
So the Race is on for the top 5 as Teams jockey for rest vs trail.
After an epic 8 hour run, both Pete and Richie pulled their Teams off the trail for a 4 1/2 hour break. It is 62 miles to Shaktoolik and I am thinking that’s where they are headed. Wade Mars, who had been following the duo for the last day or so stopped about a mile up the trail from them and took 4 hours for his Team.
At this point in the race each minute of rest really pays dividends. Mushers are rolling the dice to give their Teams enough rest, but not too much as to lose position. I imagine Wade was watching up the trail and pretty nervous with the Kuskokwim Boys right behind them.
Once they reach the coast, Teams will then head up a fairly well used trail to Shaktoolik and then over the ice to Koyuk. Leader Nic Petit and his Team took only 5 hours 30 minutes or so in Unalakleet and was off to the North. In the Insider video the Team looked pretty happy with tails up and barking. A good mark for a Team.
Weather for this evening is not bad, but as luck would have it, winds will switch to the North and Teams will be looking into it a bit for the run across the bay to Koyuk.
Currently in Unalakleet it is 10 degrees, light winds from the East.
Mushing Forecast for Tonight
Increasing clouds, with a low around 7. Northeast wind around 10 mph.
Snow likely, mainly after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 22. Northeast wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
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.