Good Morning Race Fans!
It appears to be a slow trail up to Ruby this morning. Where Teams were making pretty good time into Cripple, speeds dropped off dramatically after they left the checkpoint. Looking at past races, the times of Teams into Ruby is pretty consistent with previous races and I figure that this section of the Iditarod Trail is always a little slower. Lots of snow and it’s not a traditional transportation route so the trail is most likely a little softer than those that are packed down after months of snowmachine traffic. Even Cripple has quite a bit of traffic as the Iditarod preps to setup the Checkpoint.
What I am seeing in terms of trail times is consistent with what happened yesterday. Brent Sass made the run up to Ruby in 9:28. Thomas Waerner took 10:32 to make the same run. But who is the faster Team? Waerner by about 10 or so minutes because Waerner took an 1 hour 10 minute break on the trail to snack and water his Team.
Pete and Team Kaiser are doing a good job of keeping rest in the tank, so to speak. He will have a good trail time as well as he split the run into two runs with a 2 hour 30 minute break. Pete is looking “big picture” I’m sure and keeping in mind that there are over 500 miles to go to the Finish Line. A Team with “rest in the tank” will have more power down the stretch. He also will always do what is best for the Team. Sometimes they need a little more rest. It is all about the Team and what they need to keep them happy and barking! I was so happy to see them come into Cripple yesterday. What a fun group!
I was just thinking about something that Pete said in Takotna. “I feel like a kindergarten teacher.” My mom was a Kindergarten teacher for over 20 years and she would talk about certain years classes and how they were so fun and others, well not so fun. I would imagine that Dog Teams are pretty much the same and Pete has said that before. From year to year the mix of personalities in the Team, from a spunky Leader like Frieda to a to a goofball like Bjork must make each year just a bit different as they all work together to make it to the Finish Line. (Team Photos Today for sure.)
Weather this morning is good with Northeast winds at 12 and temperature at 5 degrees. This is the last of it though as a Winter Storm warning has been issued for the rest of the day. It’s going to get snowy folks! Rest in the tank is really going to be useful through the weekend. The Portage into Unalakleet could be really challenging…
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 AM
* WHAT…Heavy snow and blowing snow expected. Travel will be very
difficult to impossible. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 10
inches, with localized amounts up to 14 inches, are expected.
* WHERE…Lower Koyukuk and Middle Yukon Valleys.
* WHEN…Midnight to 6 AM Sunday.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Winds gusting as high as 20 mph will cause
areas of blowing and drifting snow. Heaviest snow north of
Kaltag to Ruby.
Here is the Aliy cam into Ruby giving an idea about what Pete is seeing this morning.