Though the Finish Line for the Norton Sound 450 is 250 miles North of Team Kaiser’s home court, the excitement built to a fever pitch Friday night. I arrived to interview Jen, but found the Kaiser dinner table in a fever pitch due to Pete’s Tracker not moving. It was a nervous time as the unknown crept into everyone’s fears. Then a quick call to Unalakleet and the news came– The front runner had just entered town– It was Pete and the Team! Wahoo!! The mood quickly changed and then Laureli Kineen called to confirm. Pete was going to be first across the line. Then the next challenge- Would it be enough to keep Martin Buser in second.
Pete needed to have at least 4 minutes over Martin for the win. As we listened to the garbled phone in the bathroom we wondered. Coming down the trail was Martin. The clock was ticking literally as we listened to Laureli talk through his crossing of the line. Pete still hadn’t won at this point. Tick Tock and then it came– Martin Buser’s elapsed time was more than Pete and the Team. Officially Team Kaiser had won the race and cheers could be heard from the dining room across the house.
It was truly a fun night win or lose. Everyone gathered to cheer and be together to celebrate the finish.
Here are the photos from tonight’s Kaiser Finish Bethel style!
Final Run times and race results from todays final heat. Participants are placed in order. It was agreed by the mushers to a purse be paid for the race to Unalakleet. We are also paying out each musher a guaranteed amount of equal portions. Total purse on top of that amount is 10,000.00 Purse Break down:
Musher finish and placement listed below in order from 1st to 8th
Pete Kaiser into Unk @6:42:02pm Elapsed time 4hrs12mins2sec
Martin Buser in @6:51:10pm Elapsed time 4hrs15mins10secs
Aaron Burmeister @ 6:58:07pm Elapsed time 4hrs24mins7secs
Gerry Willomitzer @ 7:26:17pm Elapsed time 4hrs48mins17secs
Chuck Schaeffer @ 7:51-15pm Elapsed time 5hrs11mins15secs
DeeDee Jonrowe @7:41:40pm Elapsed time 5hrs11mins40secs
Ellitot Anderson @7:56:31pm Elapsed time 5hrs14mins31secs
Alex Otten @8:00:48pm Elapsed time 5hrs16mins48secs
Shaktoolik looking Southeast towards Unalakleet. Sunshine and Windy.
The front runners, including Team Kaiser have a 16 hour rest under their belt on the run back to Unalakleet. Also in their favor is the wind as it will be on their backs for some of the way. We’ll keep you posted! Go Team Kaiser!
Just in from Norton Sound 450. Trail crews had already made it to Koyuk this morning. They had to return to Shaktoolik to get ready for this new change to the race. They were delayed a bit, so race restart will happen at 2:30pm.
With marginal conditions and a looming Iditarod, everyone agrees that heading back to Unalakleet is the best decision at this time. What started as a 450 miles race is now a 40 mile dash to the finish. Strategy is out the window. This is a speed contest. The real strategy is how much teams will push for the finish. The trail is not in bad shape, but it is cold.
Today’s Mushing Weather from Shaktoolik to Unalakleet:
.TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING.
HIGHS 1 BELOW TO 9 ABOVE. NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.
.TONIGHT...CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE EVENING...THEN
SNOW LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. LOWS
8 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE. NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.
The Unalakleet community is feverishly making lemonade out of lemons as they prep for a finish this evening and a Banquet tomorrow morning. Such a small community doesn’t have the same air service as Nome or Bethel, and all flights Sunday and Monday are overbooked!
Middy Johnson and his crew are doing a good job of keeping everyone posted and up to date on what is happening. Thanks Middy!
Elapsed times yesterday between Unalakleet and Shaktoolik were under or close to 6 hours.
Here are a few stats from last nights run from Unalakleet to Shaktoolik- First is the Start Order for the Restart. Second is the Elapsed Time sorted. Team Kaiser has the fastest time.