“We Can’t Go Anywhere!” Stopped on the Trail to Shaktoolik

Insider captures what we have all been speculating about. Wrong place at the wrong time had Pete and Wade Mars walking their Leaders after running into a non-existent trail. After looking and not gaining any ground, they finally found a band of trees that could protect the Teams and bed down until they could see anything. Pete and Wade sound in good spirits after their ordeal which cost them positions, but made it safely to Shaktoolik. Good Job Men! Listen in:

Video – Andy Angstman Moves Up

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Generally at this point in the race, we have commentary from Andy Angstman. In fact, one year he had a column on Kaiser Racing called Andy’s Corner. An Iditarod and Kuskokwim 300 veteran, his analysis has been fun. It is almost ironic that his dad, Myron has filled his shoes, usually its the other way around!

Andy has been announcing the start of the Kuskokwim 300 for several years and this year the Iditarod asked if he would do the Restart in Fairbanks. He also was called on to be a Race Judge in Unalakleet. Having young people move into the race with roles that make a difference is what will keep this sport alive. Congrats Andy!

Here’s the interview I got with him just after the restart (unfortunately he’s taller than I am and the camera was, so we are looking up at him:)–

Last Morning on the Yukon – Toe to Toe in the Race

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After an exceptional run downriver from Koyukuk and Nulato, Pete and the Team are putting a few last minute touches on a snooze in that last Yukon river checkpoint of the 2015 Iditarod. Arriving just before 6am, at 5:48, Pete and his Team of 12 dogs are resting a bit before heading west onto the portage that will take them to Unalakleet. Traveling with Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Pete and the Team looked frosty, but good as they entered into the checkpoint and signed in this morning. Some food and a rest will have them back on the trail, probably by 10 or 11.

When I contemplated the 2015 Iditarod, after learning of the trail change from Fairbanks, I wondered if this race might just be a drag race. In other words, equally matched teams that just give it all in very consistent trail conditions. For the most part, I think that was spot on to this point in the race. There have been little in the way of trail challenge as it has been mostly a river race. The temperatures have been the challenge, but they often are and all mushers had identical challenge.

You can see what I’m talking about by looking at the top 10 teams into Kaltag. It is an wondrous and amazing sight to see as each musher is still racing at speeds that are so similar that only a few minutes separate trail times between the top 10. Very similar to a horse race– Only 1 hour separates trail times in the top 9 teams from Nulato to Kaltag. If you drop the high and the low, only 30 minutes separates 7 mushers, and many are just a few minutes different. This is truly incredible considering we are at mile 633 this morning. It really shows the quality and dedication to training for these Teams. I for one am pretty excited this morning.

Let’s talk about the lowest time, though, that we dropped from the calculation– Dallas Seavey. From what I am seeing, his is the Team to beat. You can’t argue with performance, and his Team is putting down some real fine numbers.

The great equalizer, though, could be about to rear its head. Weather conditions are about to change, as they often do when the race enters the final coastal push to Nome. Today Mushers and Teams will encounter areas of blowing snow and increasing winds. The benefactor is that those winds will be at their back. The issue is the loose fluffy snow that can change a delightful winter romp over the countryside to a gnarly windblown drifted trail.

Go Team Kaiser!

 

EASTERN NORTON SOUND AND NULATO HILLS-
INCLUDING...UNALAKLEET...STEBBINS...ST MICHAEL...ELIM...KOYUK...
SHAKTOOLIK
501 AM AKDT SUN MAR 15 2015

.TODAY...SUNNY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS
AROUND ZERO. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 MPH INCREASING TO 25 MPH AFTER
NOON.
.TONIGHT...SNOW LIKELY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION
OF 1 TO 2 INCHES. LOWS AROUND 3 BELOW. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 30
MPH.
.MONDAY...SNOW LIKELY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION
UP TO 2 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE UPPER TEENS. EAST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH.
.MONDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS IN THE
LOWER TO MID TEENS. SOUTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.
Teams Resting in Kaltag. I think the Team on the Left is our own Team Kaiser

Teams Resting in Kaltag. I think the Team on the Left is our own Team Kaiser – By Sebastian Schnuelle