If anyone ever tells you that long distance sled dog racing isn’t competitive, they need to look at what’s happening in Elim this morning! While all eyes are on Mitch Seavey at the front, the ACTION is for the Top 10!
Ray Redington arrives into Elim at 7:14am with a 26 minute lead over Aliy Zirkle who arrives at 7:40am. Pete and the Team arrive just 32 minutes after Aliy at 8:12am with Michelle Phillips just 11 minutes behind Pete at 8:23am.
Ray drops a dog after a 2:38 break and returns to the trail at 9:52am, but Aliy takes off with him out of Elim just a minute later. Pete sees the action and he breaks out as well at 10:05 with Michelle in hot pursuit at 10:23am.
This is SO EXCITING! Basically all of the differentials have been erased and now its a Race to White Mountain and an 8 hour rest.
These 4 teams are pretty evenly matched with Ray having the slightly faster Team, but Pete, Aliy, and Michelle are paw to paw equals in terms of speed. They have been traveling together since Unalakleet and pretty much have the equal speed between them.
SO FUN! With a 5-6 hour run time to White Mountain, it’s going to be all hands on the refresh button to see how it turns out!
Team Kaiser Pit Crew are leaving on the Noon jet to Anchorage to connect with the 4pm flight to Nome. Hopefully we won’t miss too much of it!
24 hours from now we will be either at the Finish Line or getting ready to head that way!
Pete and the Team made good time down the trail from Koyuk last night and arrived into Elim this morning just in time for breakfast at 8:12am with 10 dogs in harness. After leaving Koyuk at 1:46am, he traveled with the same group of Teams (Redington, Zirkle, and Phillips) with about the same time differential. Michelle Phillips is just on his heels and the Top 10 is at stake, but at this point, as Pete said in his interview, it’s just what the dogs can handle and get to the checkpoints safely. She arrived only 11 minutes behind Team Kaiser, so the race is truly on!
The weather has just been outstanding. This morning Teams were treated to a full moon and light winds. Much different from some trails in the past.
I am really curious whether Pete will elect to rest or water and go in Elim. I looked in his archive for past experience and it is a mix of rest or go. It really depends on the Team, and so we will wait and watch.
The monkey wrench in all the calculations is Paul Gebhardt, who left just after Pete and then rested just up the trail. I can’t help wondering if he is thinking to go through Elim. He is currently just ahead of Richie, who is traveling in 12 position. He could be thinking of gaining a position by skipping Elim, knowing that an 8 hour break is waiting in White Mountain.
So another day of racing is ahead of us, Race Fans, and then it will be a night of hitting the REFRESH button until it’s all over.
We have to mention that this Team of Mitch Seavey is truly something amazing. His times are record setting on virtually all of the Checkpoints and he truly has to be proud of that Team he is managing. Mitch is out of White Mountain, so a Finish looks to be in the afternoon for the 2017 Champion. Good Job Mitch!
For us, it is actually quite a bit more exciting as, once again, Pete is in a shootout for position. Stay Tuned!
Transportation… It’s the key to success for a Mushing program. Kaiser Racing is proud of our association with Northern Air Cargo. Their support is very much appreciated. When Team Kaiser needs to get into Anchorage, Northern Air Cargo flies them from Bethel. Last year they also let us document the trip by photographing the unloading process in Anchorage. The Anchorage crew bent over backwards to make sure we had what we needed and of course to make sure the Team was comfy on their ride. Thanks Northern Air Cargo!
Here are the photos from the 2015 unload at the NAC Anchorage terminal. This is something that road system Teams don’t have to do very often, but every Team in the Iditarod does at least once on the return from Nome. Enjoy:
Pete and the Team are into Koyuk at 9:42pm with 10 dogs. They are surrounded with very good, fast Teams and at this point, it is too close to call.
In front of Pete is Aliy Zirkle and Ray Redington. Ray is having the race of his career with a very fast Team. Aliy isn’t having so much luck, but still is moving well. Ray is leading Aliy by almost an hour and Pete picked up 23 minutes on her on the run in from Shaktoolik and trails her by an hour.
However, there are a full string of strong Teams following Pete very closely– Michelle Phillips, who made up 11 minutes on Pete is only 23 minutes behind him.
Following Phillips is a whole slew of Teams including John Baker.
It’s going to be strategy, gamesmanship, and speed; no one better look the other way!
This harkens back to the Lance Mackey – Jeff King battle so many years ago when Lance went out to “check his dogs” and left his jacket hanging on the door, but then took off with his dog team, leaving Jeff holding the bag.
It’s going to be an exciting finish to this year’s race. Ron and I were doing some calculating Pete’s finish and I am thinking near to 6am on Wednesday morning.
Drew’s Foundation works to spread the message of Suicide Prevention throughout Alaska. Pete has proudly carried the Drew’s Foundation Banner on every race and last year was in Drew’s production, “Never Give Up”. The Foundation has been very helpful each year contributing dog food for the Team. Thanks for being there for us Drew’s Foundation and Paul O’Brien! You truly are one of the Team!
In case you missed it, here is the PSA- Pass it on!
Lynden has been a supporter of Pete and the Team since the beginning. Their support is so crucial and so appreciated. Not only does Lynden provide support for the mushing program, but when Pete isn’t training or mushing dogs, he is working for Lynden in one of their local companies. In the past, Pete worked as a deckhand with Captain Took Laraux for Bering Marine. Lately, as the mushing program has required more attention, Pete has worked for Knik Construction in Bethel.