Redington Out of UNK at 5:40

Ray Redington Jr. is out of UNK. As the front runners head north they are surely thinking about Jake Berkowitz and wishing him well. It is that “Luck” thing that you never can tell what twist it will bring to Iditarod mushing.

Pete and the Team left Unalakleet at about 5:00pm, giving him just a small buffer between the teams. Last year Pete left Unalakleet at 11:30pm for the 40 mile journey and arrived in Shaktoolik at around 5:ooam for a Trail Time last of 5 hours 30 minutes. That would put Pete and the Team into Shaktoolik about 10:30pm this evening.

The trail conditions, including the bitter cold, seem to be slowing teams though and Dallas Seavey is not yet to Shaktoolik giving him over a 6 hour run on the trail.

It will really be interesting to watch Pete and Ray move forward on the front runners right now. It is not outlandish that they may advance into the top teams over this night. A 1 mph advantage over many hours will bring them into the mix of the top 5 teams.

So another night of gluing ourselves to the tracker! Looks like a Tuesday finish though!


Pete is on the Move – Onward to Shaktoolik

Looking North from Unalakleet Airport into the Hills and the Trail.

GPS shows Pete and the Team on the Move out of Unalakleet. After a 5 hour break, they head north into the wind and away from the sun.

He is currently in 6th position. Ray Redington Jr. doesn’t appear to be moving yet, but should be right behind him.

Current weather headed north is -27F with light north winds. Problem is that ANY winds when it is that cold plus the 9 mph that they will be moving will make for a pretty chilly run.

Good Luck Pete!

Berkowitz Audio from UNK

A short audio file from Unalakleet – Jake describing what happened.

Tragic News – Jake Berkowitz Withdrawn

The Iditarod just released this news:

Iditarod Veteran Jake Berkowitz (Bib #29) has been withdrawn from the 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race by Race Marshal Mark Nordman. Berkowitz severely injured his hand while using a knife between Kaltag and Unalakleet. Nordman determined that the injury was severe enough to warrant the decision.

The decision was made at 14:00 AK Time. Berkowitz was in 6th position at the time and still had 14 dogs in his team. He will be flown out of Unalakleet to Anchorage for treatment.

We here at Kaiser Racing Kennel are really saddened by this news. Jake is a class act and he has been a real friend to Pete and the Team. This kind of withdrawl is a tragedy and while we are not judging the Marshall’s decision, we realize how hard it must be for Jake to take this news. We wish him all the luck and positive thoughts at this very hard time. He and his Team were poised to do great things with this race and we appreciate the level of quality he brings to mushing.


From – Schnuelle’s Report on Pete and the Pack of Three

Read the whole article here:

It surprised me a bit so see that Jake Berkowitz, Ray Redington, and Pete Kaiser stopped in Kaltag after a short 4.15 hr run. They sure are eating up the trail. I thought they would have gone to Tripod Cabin, camp there and than run to Unk. I can see a very distinct difference in attitude from the Quest to Iditarod. Questers are much more likely to camp out, like Michelle Phillips and Ken Anderson, who both did that move and skipped Kaltag. Bruce Lee said that very well: “If there would be no checkpoint, those mushers would not stop.” But now all three once again did a super strong run into Unalakleet with running 1.5 hours faster than John Baker and even 45 minutes faster than fast moving Dallas Seavey. Jeff King and Mitch Seavey both camped on their way to Unalakleet. So for now the front pack has reduced itself to 4 mushers, which I do not think are safe from that hard pushing trio of Jake, Pete and Ray

–Sebastian Schnuelle

From Joe Runyan Blog – Baker Picks Kaiser and Berkowitz

From Runyan.

1PM-  I was in the dog yard as Burmeister and Dallas Seavey booted dogs, at the same time noting that Zirkle was behind in schedule to the two.

Burmeister noted his apprehension about leaving Unalakleet because the myriad of snowmachine trails provided a lot of excuses for errant leaders.  Sure enough, he pulled the hook and promptly ending up guiding his dogs  back on the trail after negotiating half a dozen intersection.   In time, he got them rolling.

Dallas Seavey soon followed, both leaving around 12:40PM, just for the record.  Dallas stopped, switched a few dogs and was soon back on the trail within sight of the checkpoint and already with Burmeister.  I didn’t see Aliy leave, but it must have been fifteen minutes later.

Concurrently, another development

More action.   With a grand entry of loping dogs, Jake Berkowitz and Pete Kaiser come into Unalakleet holding hands.  They are driving gorgeous teams , but, unfortunately they are essentially 6 hours behind.  More on that in a moment.

While aliy is nearly ready to depart, we are diverted to a small emergency.   Berkowitz cut his hand with a knife while separating chunks of fish on the trail.  I happen to be there and immediately tell comm to arrange a medic to sew him up.  Knowing that it was really stupid to allow jake to continue caring for his dogs with a cut made with a knife that was cutting fish,  Mark Nordman, race marshal, and Larry Weslake logically suggested he get sewn up.  Bruce Lee, your commentator, and I, with the permission of officials, put straw under the dogs.

Back with Baker

Back in the headquarters  see John at 1PM, where he tells me he is playing it cautious and resting his dogs.  I told him about Berkowitz and Kaiser.  “There is still time for them to win the race.  I’ll go with them,” indicating he was not taking chances with his team.  He is going to generously rest his dogs.

My brilliant reply was, “Really, Kaiser and Berkowitz.”  John opined, “250 miles in the race, we keep forgetting to identify the competition.”

Final Thoughts

An airplane waits to take the Insider to Shaktoolik to witness the fight at the front.  Next report, Shaktoolik.

Weather  remains cold but uncommonly calm for a region that is known constant wind.

Delving into our collective memory, we can think of plenty of examples of well prepared teams roaring up from behind to win a race.   The early history of Ric Swenson, the 5x winner, was instructional in the 70’s and 80’s.