Racing into Rohn

Good evening Race Fans!

It was a fast run into Rohn from Rainy Pass for three Teams this afternoon. Richie Diehl, Lance Mackey, and Pete all arrived into the checkpoint about 8:20 this evening.

Aaron Burmeister was sitting by the fire by the time they arrived after reaching Rohn about 40 minutes earlier.

Richie, Lance, and Pete have been running with very good and similar times since the Start. Lance is the surprise for me as he was pretty leisurely during the Kuskokwim 300. He is having a great race and it’s good to see him at the front of the pack. Richie and Pete are probably happy as well, but will have to keep an eye on the 4 time champ. Lots of tricks up those sleeves!!

Weather is a bit brisk with North wind and cold temperatures. Tonight it’s expected to reach -25F in Nikolai.

The action is definitely heating up with many Teams headed into Rohn.

Insider analysts Heister and Lee remarked that there have been few dropped dogs. They mentioned that it just goes to show the quality of dog care for these athletes. They also mentioned that Beales and Sass looked really strong, so there’s definitely a plethora of Teams that are vying for the 2020 Iditarod Championship.

It looks like it’s going to be a great race!!

We are now 188 miles into the race with 787 to go!

Stay tuned! Go Team Kaiser!!

Out of Rainy Pass

After almost a 5 hour break, Pete and the Team are back out on the Trail. The weather is brilliant to say the least, with clear skies and light winds. The temperatures are in the teens right now, but as they move up across Rainy Pass, it should be a really nice trip to Rohn and the Kuskokwim valley.

Pete said in his interview that he short rested just a bit so he could take advantage of the good trail. So a good long break before the pass was a welcome time for the Team.

Pete was followed out by several Teams who haven’t had as much rest as Team Kaiser, but are not willing to stay too far back.

Aaron Burmeister arrived into Rainy Pass in 12th position, but didn’t stop, so Teams are following him as they move into the pass. I kind of expect Aaron to take a break, but with the great conditions, he may move all the way to Rohn before taking a break.

I would expect Teams all have the same thing in mind– Don’t get too far behind the leader and take advantage of the good trail before too many Teams cause it to deteriorate.

It’s going to get a bit colder and breezier as they move North. “Bethel Weather!”

Mushing Weather Forecast-
This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 8. Northwest wind around 10 mph.
Tonight
Clear, with a low around -15. Wind chill values as low as -35. Northwest wind around 20 mph.

To get an idea of what is ahead, check out Jeff King’s great video from several years ago. (Don’t worry- Trail conditions are not like this in 2020, but it will give you an idea of the terrain. I imagine this ride still gives Jeff nightmares 🙂

Rainy Pass in Sight- Can you say Perfect??

Pete and the Team are leading the pack into Rainy Pass Lodge with about a 2-3 mile (10-15min) lead over Travis Beals and Lance Mackey and about a 15 mile lead over Richie Diehl and many others (1hour 15min).

Looking at Pete’s run so far it just looks perfect.

Three six hour runs each followed by a two hour break. Pete will arrive into Rainy Pass Lodge with a good lead and the “heat of the day” which will allow a real nice break in the sun and easy snacks and food. I’m curious to see if he will move on out of the checkpoint, though, because with the good weather, I’m sure there will be media and tourists everywhere. We may see him move on up the trail and keep out of the sight of the masses. Our Insider friends will surely find him though, so we will hear how it is going pretty soon.

Of course it is really early. But Pete has to feel very good about this first 150 miles. Only 800 to go 🙂

What a great run! Go ahead… You know ya wanna…

Yell it out! Go Team Kaiser!!

Haha!

2020 Iditarod – Day 1 Morning Weather Report – Clear Skies

Clear Skies Ahead!

That’s welcome news for Pete and the Team as they head up to Rainy Pass.

Weathercam images are of a beautiful morning on the Iditarod Trail this morning.

Puntilla Lake (Rainy Pass Lodge) is reporting Temperature 5F, North wind at 6mph and a forecast for the same. Temperatures tonight should be in the -10 to -20F range.

Forecast-
Today
A 20 percent chance of snow before 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 5. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight
A 30 percent chance of snow before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -13. West wind around 5 mph.

 

Fast Trail into the Alaska Range!

Good Morning Race Fans!

As the time change makes morning feel early, it’s been an exciting time on the trail last night! Trail conditions don’t seem to be slowing Teams down as we are seeing speeds on the tracker close to 10 mph. Early word yesterday was that the trail was very snowy, but those speeds don’t tell of a slow trail for sure.

Pete is sticking to the 6/2 – Run/Rest schedule and staying out of the checkpoints as well. Resting on the trail has advantages that require more work from the musher, but protect the Team. Consider the first month of Kindergarten and all of the kids ending up with the same virus. The same thing happens with dog teams and staying away can pay dividends. Another advantage is staying away from all of the activity of a checkpoint which allows Pete to focus on his chores and keep the Team relaxed and happy. Checkpoints, especially closer to Anchorage can be a flurry of activity that can cost precious minutes that even now Pete is tracking. Every lost minute adds up on this great race to Nome!

Richie Diehl is having a great race! His Team checked into Finger Lake at 6:50 where he is now taking his break.

Pete was first out of Finger Lake on the Trail to Rainy Pass followed closely by Travis Beals and just 30 minutes later by Lance Mackey.

It is 30 miles from Finger Lake into Rainy Pass. Pete has been on the trail for 2 hours, but this next section into Rainy Pass doesn’t offer as many places to stop and take a break. The first section of the Iditarod could be described as Mountainous and for the next 100 or so miles Pete is going to be right in the middle of it. This section is a tough trail that takes skill from Musher and Team to traverse well. Team Kaiser has 9 dogs that have seen this before so that is a huge advantage for Pete this morning.

From the Fan perspective, it is easy just to look at the tracker and times, but you have to put your mind into what the Teams must be encountering out there on the trail. We sit in our easy chair and watch times and speeds, while Pete and the Team are encountering many different conditions. Weather, Complex Trail, and the wilderness of Alaska is what they see. Way different perspectives to be sure!!

Here is Aliy Zirkle’s footage from 2010

Read the Iditarod Article here about the trail to Rainy Pass.

 

 

Willow Restart Photos!

A Start and a Finish! That’s what the Re-Start in Willow is all about.

Mushers are ready to get back to what they do best, so it is the Finish of the week that has worn many of them down! Don’t get me wrong, Mushers love their Fans, but they spend most of the year as solitary people out in the wilds with their Teams. Fans, Banquets, Sponsors, and the Big City are way out of the comfort zone of a musher. They are ready for the Start of this year’s adventure!

You see a lot of family at the Re-Start. It’s the last time families will see their beloved Moms, Dads, and Friends as they head out into the wilds of Alaska. Families are the backbone of a mushing lifestyle, so just a few last moments before off on the trail they go. Kids are running and playing. Wives and friends are socializing and waiting for the big event.

Pete is pretty calm for the most part, but once it get’s time to stretch out the line and get dogs in harness, the mood changes and its all hands on deck to get going.

In the early days you would see Pete checking his watch and pacing nervously. Not on his eleventh run. He’s got a very efficient plan and once we are about 15 minutes from having to move, an efficient orchestration of dogs, gear, and people form the Team into a ready unit. Kaiser Racing is so lucky to have a cadre of folks that help out year after year. They also know what to expect and what to do. Pete hardly has to say anything as handlers take hold as the Team forms.

Pete and Ron do all of the Bootie duty (haha) putting booties on the Team. There are a few tasks that he and Ron do themselves, but for the most part everyone pitches in as needed to help get ready for the Start.

Then the Staging Chief signals it’s time to go and off the Team goes towards the Starting Line.

At this point, Bethany and the Kids and anyone else that isn’t handling has already made their way towards the Starting Line. The Team moves way to fast on soft snow for a person to keep up. If you want to be at the Start to see Team Kaiser leave– Take a hint! Start Early!

It was snowing so hard today that it filled the parking lot with lots of snow. It really came down all the time we were in Willow.

At the Starting Line, for the last time, Pete was introduced as the Defending 2019 Iditarod Champion. It was quite a moment.

Pete walks down to check the Team one last time and the handlers back away from the Team. Handlers are just there to help the Team get into position, for the most part the dogs know what is going to happen and stand ready for Pete to give them the “ALRIGHT- LET’S GO”

Pete makes his way back to the sled and gives his kids Ari and Aylee a kiss and then one last hug from Bethany and his Mom.

“5-4-3-2-1- GO” Pete grabs the handle of the sled and “Alright” and the Team heads off!

There were thousands of folks on the sidelines cheering the Teams and a big cheer went out as Pete and the Team made their way out onto the lake.

Good Luck Pete! Go Team Kaiser!