What a day of mushing! For online spectators, today must have seemed long with little going on, but really this was a huge day for the Teams. Although there were few checkpoints, many miles have gone by on quite a tough trail. Luckily all of our teams have not had to break trail which gives their teams a bit of a break. The trail between Eagle Island and Kaltag is soft and sticky and Martin Buser, who had led the race for quite some time may have burnt all his advantage by slogging through the miles in the lead.
Mike Williams Jr. is the story of the day. He is truly burning up the trail. With some of the fastest times on the trail he is advancing steadily and is a team to watch from here to the Finish in Nome. In his last Iditarods, he tends to speed up the closer he gets to Nome. At press time, Mike is a bit over halfway to Kaltag.
Pete and our Team Kaiser have been slowly rebuilding their health and things seem to finally be clicking along. Their trail times have been excellent, but it has been at the expense of longer breaks between runs. Presently Pete and the Team are just into the Kaltag checkpoint. Many teams in front of them have had to rest along the trail, but Team Kaiser made the run with only one short break. This shows me that the team is in good shape and the longer breaks are paying off nicely. I expect another long break here before the run to Unalakleet. Pete has been on this trail earlier this year when he won the Norton Sound 450, so the next section of trail is familiar territory and that will be a definite advantage. Aaron Burmeister is back to the lead presently and he too has been on this trail before. His team may be the one to watch.
Mike Williams Sr. is no longer running with son Mike Jr. He is presently on the trail between Grayling and Eagle Island. It is going to be a long night for Mike and I expect him to take a good break once he reaches the checkpoint. Running in a sticky trail at night can be a burden, so we’ll see how this goes for him. He is still putting in very respectable times, but like Pete is taking a bit longer in checkpoints to recharge his team.
Richie Diehl got a boost today as he got to have dinner in Grayling with his dad, Dave and friends Ronnie Vanderpool and Erich Kubal. They met in Anvik, but Richie was in race mode and running from Shageluk to Grayling, so they drove up to Grayling and got to sit down together as the Team rested. Ronnie and Erich also drove to Iditarod earlier to cheer him on. In a long rookie race, it had to be good to have family and friends around. The middle western Alaska villages are really cheering Richie on as he is the local favorite in that area. Word has it he left Grayling, but had to turn around and drop a dog and then returned to the trail. Richie’s gal Em reports he is in good spirits and dogs are doing well.
Go Delta FOURce Teams!!