Mackey, Gatt, and King- On the Move

Set your DVR’s or keep your ears on the news. Sounds like Mackey will be in Nome today in the  afternoon.

Lance Mackey took an Exactly 8 hour layover and was on the move at 4:43am this morning. Yesterday he made the run from Elim to White Mountain at an average speed of close to 7mph. This run is a 77 mile run, but probably a snack in the middle or so. I am predicting (As if I know anything) him to be in Nome between 4 and 5:30. But a safer bet with this guy would be between 3 and 5. Those dogs know when it’s almost over!! In fact they are blazing along at over 9mph right now so stay tuned!

Out of Shaktoolik.

As luck would have it, I double checked the tracker before I hit the PUBLISH button and after I did, it updated and Pete was out of the checkpoint!

Pete and the Team just left Shaktoolik. Not officially of course, but the GPS Tracker has them ON THE MOVE!!

171 miles to go!!

Yahoo!

Day 10- Almost There! Still in Shaktoolik

Pete and his Team got into Shaktoolik last night at 12:39am with 11 dogs. He trailed musher Thomas Lesatz by 6 minutes.

GPS Tracker doesn’t show him out of the checkpoint yet this morning.

He should be leaving fairly soon on the trip across the ice. This is going to be a mentally challenging run as once you get going and leave the shore it seems to take forever to get anywhere.

–From Iditarod
There is only one thing to say about this leg—bleak, flat, and deadly monotonous. Locals say the actual distance is under 50 miles, but it always seems like a hundred. There is not so much as a shrub on this stretch, most of which is over the sea ice of Norton Bay. Plan on five to nine hours for the crossing, more if the wind is blowing hard.

The trail runs almost due north from Shaktoolik, overland across very low rolling terrain for about nine miles to Reindeer Cove, then across the ice for five miles to Island Point, then back onto the ice immediately for the last 45 miles to Koyuk. There are no hills.

The trail is also the main snowmachine trail to Koyuk and is well used. However, winds can wipe it smooth in hours. It is well marked with Iditarod trail stakes, spruce boughs, or both. The trail can range from a groomed speedway to rough ice to drifted snow to glare ice. The wind is usually blowing, and almost always right in your face. Days with less than 20 or 30 mph breezes are uncommon.

Another problem is that some dogs are put off by the white expanse and won’t go or will try to turn back. Every year teams stall here; some drivers are able to get their teams going after a rest, and some can get their leaders to follow another team across. Some have to scratch. This is where a “coast leader” is invaluable; these are leaders used to running in this environment and who aren’t fazed by winds or wide-open spaces.

The “Bush Boys” are pretty separated from where they were earlier in the race. To give you an update, Mike Williams Jr. is in 28th place and is currently about 4 miles from the Koyuk Checkpoint. Quinn Iten is in 38th place and into Unalakleet last night.

Temperatures may start to be a factor as Pete and the Team will begin to see a warming trend for the rest of the race. The cold weather mass that has kept the mushers in the deep freeze, but great sunny days, is finally weakening. A warm air mass has been pushing up the Bering Sea and today will spill over into the area between Koyuk and Nome. Hopefully it will stay Sunny and Clear as predicted and not get too warm!

Weather this morning:

EASTERN NORTON SOUND AND NULATO HILLS-
INCLUDING...UNALAKLEET...STEBBINS...ST MICHAEL...ELIM...KOYUK...
SHAKTOOLIK
233 AM AKDT TUE MAR 16 2010

.TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS 10 TO 20. EAST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH.
.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE.
EAST WINDS TO 15 MPH.
.WEDNESDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS 20 TO 25. EAST WINDS TO 15 MPH.

AKZ211-170100-
SOUTHERN SEWARD PENINSULA COAST-
INCLUDING...NOME...WHITE MOUNTAIN...GOLOVIN
233 AM AKDT TUE MAR 16 2010

.TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS 10 TO 20. EAST WINDS 5 TO 10 MPH.
.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE.
EAST WINDS TO 10 MPH.
.WEDNESDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS AROUND 25. EAST WINDS AROUND 10 MPH.  
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS 10 TO 15. EAST WINDS 15 TO 20 MPH.
.THURSDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS 25 TO 30.
EAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH.

Trail Photos (Past):


1/2 Way to Shaktoolik

According to the GPS tracker, Lesatz is just a bit ahead of Pete and the Team.

He is about 1/2 way to the next checkpoint. Teams have been making this trip in 5 to 6 hours, so I expect he’ll be into the checkpoint by 1am or so. He’ll probably want to rest the team again. Teams have been resting about 4-5 hours here. The section from Shaktoolik to Koyuk is like no other in probably any race ANYWHERE! They will head out over the ice with no real ground reference except trail markers. Mushers say that it is hard to judge your speed and it seems like it goes on and on and on. It appears from the GPS tracker that teams head for the northern coast and then actually track east back to Koyuk. If Pete follows my forecast, I expect by tomorrow morning he will be headed out from Shaktoolik onto the Ice of Norton Bay.

What an adventure this has been for all of us!! Blogging my way from Anchorage to Nome has been an adventure of it’s own and a great deal of fun. When I used to do the K300 website, I always said that I felt like I had done a race of my own, as you are there for every checkpoint and all of the stories. (Way warmer though!!) Thanks everyone for participating. We are almost there!! Tell your friends and cheer on this young man as he gets closer to the finish line!

Schnuelle, Get your Scissors Ready!

Mackey is into White Mountain and into his mandatory 8 hour layover. He is about 2 1/2 hours in front of the second place musher and Yukon Quest winner Hans Gatt, from Whitehorse. The roles are reversed as Gatt is following Mackey into Nome. Mackey followed Gatt across the Yukon Quest finish line.

Sebastian Schnuelle and Mackey had a “hair” bet with the loser also losing his hair. Say bye bye to your hair Sebastian! And that is some Hair!

Sebastian Schnuelle

Unalakleet to Shaktoolik Trail

The team is on the coast now and things are going to be FAR different! The winds will blow, but what a sunset they will see tonight!!

From the Iditarod Description-

The actual distance on this leg is usually about 37 or 38 miles. The race follows the main snowmachine trail to Shaktoolik; it is normally well traveled and well marked. The first 25 miles cross a mix of woods, taiga, open areas, and exposed ridge tops; the last 12 miles are completely in the open on the barren coastline. This leg usually takes four to six hours, but can be much longer if the weather is bad. The trail leaves Unalakleet northbound and runs just in from the beach, turning inland after five miles to pass behind rocky 850-foot-high Blueberry Point. It comes almost back to the shore at the fishing camp of Egavik before climbing up the Blueberry Hills, reaching the thousand-foot summit at the 18-mile point. At the top the trail turns west and makes a three-mile drop back to the beach, then follows a slough and the dune line northwestward for the last 12 miles out to Shaktoolik.

Weather-
Koyuk, Alaska (Airport)
Updated: 8:16 PM AKDT on March 15, 2010
Clear     3 °F
Windchill:     -15 °F
Humidity:     36%
Dew Point:     -18 °F
Wind:     14 mph from the North
Wind Gust:     21 mph
Pressure:     30.18 in (Rising)
Visibility:     10.0 miles

Northbound for Shaktoolik

Team Kaiser is on the move Northbound. It appears that they must have left about an hour ago as they are about 8 miles north of Unalakleet. He is still traveling with Lesatz. 219 miles to the Finish!

Shaktoolik is 42 miles up the trail. Trail images coming.

Calling all Team Kaiser Members!! Do you have someone that could take photos in this section of the trail?? Have them send the photos to photos@kaiserracing.com! thanks