Jessica Klejka into Takotna

From Iditarod –

Jessica Klejka made a short stop in Takotna, long enough to offer her dogs a snack, grab a couple things from her drop bag, and snag a bagged lunch from the wonderful folks in Takotna that love to feed the mushers. Her dog team was one of the strongest I’ve seen through the checkpoint, she could easily move up in the pack if her team stays that strong on the coast – and she’s from Bethel, her team is likely to be very strong on the coast.

Jessica is one of the nicest people anywhere and as a Veterinarian, always helpful to Kaiser Racing! Good Job Jess!

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Action on the Trail to Iditarod!

Good Morning Race Fans! Welcome to the Race to Unalakleet!

That is where we are this morning. 24 hour layovers complete, the next section of the race will take us out through Iditarod to the Yukon River. Then we will head North through Eagle Island to Kaltag and over the portage to Unalakleet. Mushers will be focused on a different set of challenges for the next few days as they make for the coast and the run into Nome.

While we slept, action is taking place on the trail and it is apparent that the Jackrabbit is still Nicolas Petit. Fresh of a 24 hour rest, he is moving faster than everyone on the trail and also is going to parlay the run into Ophir before his rest into a non-stop run into Iditarod.

Teams leaving Takotna are doing the run broken into two runs. All of the Teams so far are resting at mile 388, with the exception of Petit who arrived at the 388 camp just as Joar was leaving. The race was on at that point with both Teams seeing very comparable speeds, yet at this hour (9:00am) Petit is leading and slowly pulling away.

Aliy Zirkle’s play for Iditarod has cost her valuable time, unfortunately. She also camped at the 388 camp and while other Teams are making that run in about 4 and a half hours, Aliy’s Team made that run in 6 hours. Richie Diehl is having a great race again. His times are some of the fastest on the trail and he made the run in 4:25, about 10 minutes faster than Petit.

It is shaping up to be another exciting day on the trail! Will Petit have enough in the tank to maintain this blistering pace? Or will Joar or Pete or any other of the Teams in hot pursuit hit the coast and make their way to the roses in Nome? Stay tuned!

Mushing Weather for today:

Today-
A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after noon. Patchy freezing fog before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 34. East wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight-
Snow likely, mainly between 9pm and midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 27. East wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

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Takotna was a Good Choice

Community Center waiting for the next Arrival or Departure.

Pete will be thinking about getting ready to leave in a couple of hours or so. The Time Differential is based on the last musher leaving. In this case there were 52 Teams. 52-9=43 x 2 minute interval = 86 minutes, or 1 hour and 26 minutes. Pete arrived at 21:59 or 1 minute before 10pm. That means he can take the Team out towards Ophir close to 11:30pm.

I was thinking about how the Iditarod is really four sections of trail. Throw in a 24 hour layover and an 8 hour layover and it becomes somewhat of a chess match.

You have the Alaska Range, The Kuskokwim, The Yukon, and then The Coast. That is wildly simplistic, but separating each into parts really is what we see. We are transitioning into the Yukon tomorrow that will lead us from Shageluk to Unalakleet via Kaltag. In some ways each part of the race has a separate personality. The Alaska Range with dramatic scenes and mountains. The Kuskokwim with river and mining trails. The Yukon river and the Portage. And then the Coastal Run to Nome. Mushers need to be in the moment, but also remain vigilant for the next section of the race.

Takotna ended up being a good choice for his 24 hour layover, but listening to Pete, that was the plan all along. It’s easy and they are used to it. So no problem there.

Even if he would have wanted to go last night, Takotna was still a good choice. Slow times between Takotna and Ophir indicate a slow trail. Nic Petit made the run into Ophir and his 24 hour layover in 3 hours 3 minutes. Compare that to last year when Pete made the run in 2 hours 17 minutes. That’s almost 45 minutes slower.

For those camping in Ophir, it isn’t a bad choice either. The only problem with Ophir or even Iditarod, is that a Team cannot drop a dog there. So if in the morning a musher awakes to a problem in the Team, he must carry the dog with him all the way to Shageluk. Another plus for Takotna. This is incorrect. Teams can, in fact, drop dogs at these checkpoints. Sorry for the mis-information!

Leaving Takotna tonight temperatures will be below freezing. It may be the last of the cooler weather. Last night it was snowing pretty heavy, but tonight the ceilings have lifted and it is just a dark night. An advantage for Pete and his Leaders is that the trail over to Ophir has been packed down with the Teams that decided not to stay at Takotna.

Aliy Zirkle made an interesting move and did not stay in Ophir. Martin Buser also has joined her on that trail. A fully rested Team that is making 7-8 miles per hour may be able to go to Iditarod with just one stop. Aliy is seeing speeds of only 5-6 miles an hour. This means maybe 3 breaks for her into the goldfields of Iditarod.

For some reason, the last 3 years I have gotten a cold when Pete is laying over in Takotna. Not sure how, but it happens quite a bit. So I’m going to hit the hay and we shall all arise to the next challenge of the trail.

Go Team Kaiser!

Mushing Weather Forecast-

Tonight
Cloudy, with a low around 19. Calm wind.
Thursday
A 40 percent chance of snow after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 27. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday Night
A 50 percent chance of snow. Areas of freezing fog before midnight, then areas of freezing fog after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 21. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
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Fan Fotos – Johnson Family – SO SO Cool!!

This Fan Foto really made me smile! Regina is John Riley’s daughter and the whole family is rockin’ for Team Kaiser every year! “Most of all we are Kaiser Fans!” she said. They rushed home from her son’s game to get in a photo to send Pete off to the Yukon.

Thanks You Guys!! SO SO Awesome!

Starting at the Top on Down we have:
Kennedy
Ashley
Don
Regina
Emory
Aaron

Go Team Kaiser!

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Fan Fotos – John and Ruth Riley!

Last year, longtime Kaiser Racing Fan and even longer time sprint musher was sidelined in Anchorage due to a serious medical condition. His daughters, Dorothy and Regina, report that he was just in Anchorage again for a checkup and they have given him the ALL CLEAR! John and his lovely wife, Ruth are breathing a sigh of relief and able to follow Pete along the trail this year. (As long as someone can get that dog gone computer working!! Haha!)

Go Team Kaiser!

John and Ruth say Go Team Kaiser!

Here are a few photos of John when he was burning up the sprint trails (Click to enlarge)-

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Fan Fotos – From England! Olivia Moore!

Olivia is 7 from Gilmorton School in Leicestershire England, says her Dad, David. Every pupil in her class is following a Musher and Olivia picked Peter. “Good luck. Pete!” says Olivia!

Thanks so much Girlie! Go Team Kaiser!

Here’s what her school looks like- just a bit different than Rural Alaska!!

Olivia’s School

And here is where she is from… It would take over a day to fly from Takotna to her school!! Now THAT’s a SUPER FAN!!

Cheering on from Far Far Away!

 

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Fan Fotos – Kuskokwim Campus Cheering on Pete, Nik, Victoria, Richie, and Jessica!

Kuskokwim Campus has always been a proud supporter of Kaiser Racing! Thanks Gang! Of course Kaiser Team Mom, Janet works there, and so does Kaiser Granddaddy Ron, but it doesn’t take any extra effort for the folks to come out and cheer all of the Kuskokwim Mushers in the Iditarod! Thanks to Cindy for making it happen! Look at all those smiling faces! Go Team Kaiser!

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