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After 9 days 15 hours and 44 minutes on the Trail, Team Kaiser completes the 2015 Iditarod Trail Race. Congratulations to Pete and the Team and thank YOU, the Kaiser Race Fan, for following along. Tomorrow I will get an interview with Pete about the race from Start to Finish. Go Team Kaiser!
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:
Technology is a wonderful thing. One of my dreams is to have a webcam at every checkpoint. Not live video, just a once every couple of seconds or so webcam like the old days. It would be efficient, cheap, and we would, how do they say it, luv luv luv it!
In any case, the FAA has webcams all over the State of Alaska. They are very useful for pilots to see actual conditions of destinations. Today the webcam caught our own Pete Kaiser into Shaktoolik! Cool!!
Pete and the Team followed Wade Mars and his Team into the Checkpoint at 2:04pm after a 9hour and 9 minute run. Whooee baby! That’s a long tough time for this stretch of trail. I’m sure this will be a very good tale once we get it, but for now, we are glad to see both Teams safe and sound in Shaktoolik.
After such a struggle, I’m expecting a short break here. The thing on Pete’s mind, though, is Ken Anderson and Jason Campeau who are burning the trail up behind them. It will all be about the Team I’m sure, but it has to be looming in his mind.
At the front of the pack Aaron Burmeister was passed by Dallas Seavey who arrive into Koyuk at 12:34pm. Aaron arrived just 3 minutes later, but Dallas had made up an hour and 20 minutes since Shaktoolik. An arrival at this time today puts an evening finish tomorrow as my latest prediction and a finish for Team Kaiser in the early morning hours of Wednesday morning.
Pete is holding a solid 9th at this point, which has to satisfy him to some extent, but the ordeal on the trail is something that he will have to push from his mind and drive on up the trail to Koyuk and beyond.
Go Team Kaiser!
Current weather isn’t too bad actually. It is partly cloudy , temperatures have risen, and winds have subsided. It should be a fairly pleasant trip up to Koyuk. There is a chance of more wind later today as a front moves through, but hopefully it will remain at bay.
Shaktoolik Weather- Temperature 16F – North Winds at 10knots – Partly Cloudy Skies
Koyuk Weather- Temperature 16F – Northwest Winds at 7knots – Partly Cloudy Skies
Mushing Weather Forecast:
EASTERN NORTON SOUND AND NULATO HILLS- INCLUDING...UNALAKLEET...STEBBINS...ST MICHAEL...ELIM...KOYUK... SHAKTOOLIK 512 AM AKDT MON MAR 16 2015 .TODAY...CLOUDY. PERIODS OF SNOW THIS MORNING. SOME FLURRIES AFTER NOON. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION AROUND 1 INCH. HIGHS IN THE TEENS. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH. LOCAL GUSTS NEAR 40 MPH.
Earlier to day I posted an article talking about the lack of challenge to the race. Well, that was pretty short sighted!!
After listening a bit to mushers and watching some of the video, this may go down as one of the coldest Iditarods ever. The Mushers and Teams have had the same weather– its been deceivingly clear and brilliant, but it’s been very cold. Imagine each night for the last 7 days at -40 in the evening. Or even COLDER!! It’s taking a toll to fingers, faces, and other extremities. It is a tough go to take care of the Team, and that comes first. What was an easy chore at -10 is a challenge at -40F. No sleep or very little. At those temperatures, it is desperate, but that is the amazing thing! They keep going!
So the challenge was the unseen- The chill of the Arctic.
As Pete and the Team enter the checkpoint of Unalakleet, this blogger, secure in the warmth of my living room, has learned a quick lesson. What you see is not always there!
More soon as Pete and the Team bed down for a break in Unalakleet.
Go Team Kaiser!
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:)–
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.