The lure of the trail hampered by the aroma of freshly baked pies…
Pete was so confident in his 24 location that he sent extra drop bags to Ophir and Cripple in anticipation of doing his 24 hour mandatory layover in one of those locations. The problem with strategizing a month in advance, because you have to make those plans in February, is that you never know how the trail will play out for you and your Team. In this case, Pete and the Team are camping out where the food is good, (Steaks, Pies, basically anything a musher wants) and the company is better (Richie Diehl joined him in Takotna last night as well).
As Teams marched by through the night, it had to be a bit stressful wondering if this was the best move, but the one thing about Pete is he considers every option before making his move. After three days of short breaks, the rest might be taking its toll on Pete himself, so this 24 hours off will be truly a recharge for Pete and the Team!
Sue Gamache sent us some photos of last nights action in McGrath and here’s a video as well. Team looks real nice.
If you live on a river, the terms Upriver and Downriver become parts of your daily vocabulary. This afternoon Pete and the Team took to the trail to head downriver to the other Kuskokwim Checkpoint, McGrath, 48 miles away.
After such a long rest in Nikolai, I am thinking Pete may have a new strategy in mind for 2016. In his past races he has taken his 24 hour layover in Takotna (remember the Pies!). Pete related to me before the race that if conditions were good and the Team felt okay, he might push out to a different checkpoint for the layover.
Why do this? Well, in a 1000 mile race it might do well to split the race into equal parts. Cripple, for example, is almost exactly halfway to Nome. He might be thinking that if his team has good speed all the way into Cripple, maybe he can get a recharge and keep that speed to the finish.
As I said, there are plenty of strategies and many years of mushers playing them out, so we will just see how this “plays” out!
Kuskokwim Mushing Weather today-
UPPER KUSKOKWIM VALLEY-
343 AM AKST TUE MAR 8 2016.TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S. EAST WINDS 5 TO
.TONIGHT...CLOUDY WITH FLURRIES. LOWS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE. NORTHEAST
WINDS 5 TO 15 MPH.
Thanks again to Kim Pravda for this short video from yesterday showing Team Kaiser leaving Rainy Pass. What a Great looking Dog Team!
The last couple of years I had been asking myself and been floating the idea of a live cam at checkpoints. Well, someone must have been thinking the same thing and it is truly awesome! I hope it improves to cover all Teams at some point. On this trial run, it appears to be of the front runners, but it really makes the Insider worth it.
I captured the video of Pete and the Team arriving into Nikolai. After a hard night on the trail through one of the harder sections of the race, the Team looks AMAZING! Barking and lunging to go. Real good speed. Nice Team!!
We are now into the section of the race that I think about a poker game. You are going to see all kinds of things happen here in terms of layover strategy. Some will stay some will go, and everyone is watching everyone to see the “hand” they play. More inexperienced mushers will be swayed by others, where old timers stick to their game plan. In any case, this is a fun part of the race as we see the strategies play out from here to the Yukon.
A tired Pete Kaiser and his Team of 7 dogs arrived to re-claim the 2016 Kuskokwim 300 Championship. Arriving just 8 minutes in front of Brent Sass who was gaining on him on the run from Tuluksak to Bethel, Pete and the Team looked tired but content that the contest is over.
“It was not easy.” Pete said about the race. “The run from Aniak to Kalskag was especially tough.”
Pete Kaiser wins for the second time in a row, Pete crossed the Finish Line to a great crowd of spectators who cheered on only the third time in the 37th running of the the race.
We will have more later, but we are celebrating at Kaiser Racing Headquarters with family and friends.