Mike and his Team are out of White Mountain at 16:39 with 8 dogs. He has 77 miles in the light of the sunset as he makes his way West. The Top 3 Teams averaged 9-10 hours on the ride. We are expecting him at the Finish Line in Nome around 2:30am. We will be there to get some photos and a word or two!
Pete will be able to leave at 22:31 (10:31pm) followed 25 minutes later by Richie and his Team.
Weather Conditions in the White Mountain are overcast with a light breeze of ice crystals. Nome is very much the same, weather conditions-wise. Expected weather in the problem areas near Safety have calmed down substantially since last night, but it still will be a bit breezy.
After a good long break due to weather, Pete and the Team are barrellin’ down the trail headed for Nome. They just arrived into White Mountain with an astonishing time of 5 hours and 22 minutes. To put it in perspective, that is over 40 minutes faster than Jeff King’s super run! GO Team!!
They arrived into White Mountain and the mandatory 8 hour layover at 14:31 with 13 dogs.
Right on their tails, (just had to add that in there!) was Richie Diehl and his Team. Richie has been battling Matt Failor for position since Elim. Matt’s Team left Elim over 30 minutes ahead of Richie and Pete, but Richie was able to prevail and arrived in 14th position 3 minutes ahead. What is notable, though, is that Richie’s time into White Mountain was 5 hours 47 minutes, a whopping 48 minutes faster over the run. Go Richie and Team Diehl!!
Out Times for our Kusko Trio:
Mike Williams Jr. – 16:31 -
Guestimate Finish – Between 2am and 4am Wednesday Morning
Pete Kaiser – 22:31 -
Guestimate Finish – Between 5 and 7am Wednesday Morning
Richie Diehl – 22:56 -
Guestimate Finish – Between 5:30am and 7:30am Wednesday Morning
After 14 hours in Elim, Pete and Richie are back on the Trail. A long hard night of weather is improving luckily. The trail will also be much easier to deal with considering that it is now daylight.
The run of the night, in my book, was the EPIC run of Mike Williams Jr. He took off out of Elim when many Teams, including Pete and Richie, had decided to wait it out.
“Kitaki” (Yup’ik for Let’s GO!)
I can just imagine the thought process– Mike takes a look at the weather and the ice and thinks, “Just Like Akiak or Whitefish Lake.” Mike has been training on very similar conditions (And the wind knows how to blow in Bethel!)
As we saw this morning with Jeff King, lady luck can be the leader of the team at any moment. In Mikes case, Lady Luck led him through Golovin Bay by the weather improving where it had been so severe to the mushers in front of him.
Mike Jr. is now running in 11th position and is now taking his 8 hour mandatory layover.
Considering all of the layovers and delays, I am guestimating Mike Jr. arriving between 1 and 3 this morning. Pete and Richie, having left Elim at 9:09 am, I am guestimating a Finish between 10 and Noon tomorrow.
Mushing Weather for Today, It looks like the party is not over! Visibility isn’t great, but not bad.
855 AM AKDT TUE MAR 11 2014...STRONG LOCAL GUSTS EAST OF NOME TODAY....TODAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. PERIODS OF SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO
2 INCHES. HIGHS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH. EAST
OF NOME...LOCAL GUSTS 45 MPH WITH LOW VISIBILITY IN BLOWING SNOW.
.TONIGHT...CLOUDY. FLURRIES. LOWS ZERO TO 10 BELOW. NORTH WINDS
5 TO 15 MPH.
You can’t argue with success! The last three years the last names on the Finish Leaderboard have been 1. Seavey – 2. Zirkle. That is quite a record and one for both Kennels to be proud. Dallas wins his second Iditarod in 3 years broken up last year by his father Mitch. Aliy has been second all three years.
Dallas Seavey passed Aliy in Safety and didn’t know until the Finish that he had one the Roses in the 2014 Race.
Meanwhile, the leaderboard won’t have King on it after a impressive storm tore its way through causing most mushers in the Elim checkpoint to wait it out before continuing.
Our own Mike Williams Jr. though, is out of Elim, alone against the elements and just making his way onto what may be one of the biggest challenges of his mushing career. Mike and his Team were out of Elim at 46 minutes past midnight. Pete and Richie along with a slew of other mushers, including John Baker, are holed up in Elim waiting for the storm to play out a bit.
Good Luck Mike! Of all the mushers, Mike though, has trained in conditions nearer to what he will face– Ice – Wind – and More Ice.
Stay Tuned! Team Kaiser Pit Crew is headed for Nome this morning!
Joe Runyan’s words bring a chill to our collective spines as we have gone from a gleeful celebration of racing, through our digital world, to realization that this is the real deal. The wrong move could cost Mushers and Teams greatly. Alaskan weather often brings this realization to those unprepared. In this case, though prepared, these Teams are tired and weary and looking forward to the Finish. All too often simple mistakes can be too costly.
My Intent? Agreeing with Joe Runyan on the Status of the Race.
Posted by Joe Runyan Date: March 10, 2014 11:40 pm
March 10 nome 11:20 More info from the trail
Another call give us more insight to developments on the trail.
King, we are told, was apparently moving in strong winds, when a gust blew sled and team off the trail into driftwood. King was there to untangle the team, and did in fact got them back in line but failed to get the team rolling again. According to our information, Jeff has been wadded up in the drift for an hour and a half.
Aliy passed and didn’t know she passed. She continued to Safety and proceeded to drop several dogs. The wind, having increased, she decided to stay in Safety cabin and regroup. Whether someone told her that she had passed Jeff is not relevant, as she most certainly would know that Jeff had not signed into Safety.
Meanwhile, if all these developments weren’t enough, we are told that wind on the trail ahead around Cape Nome to the finish is absolutely brutal.
Now, to the question astute fans want to ask—What about Dallas Seavey? According to the tracker he is 12 miles from contacting King .
Of course, the development is bizarre when considering the race weather for the last eight days. The weather has been mild for the last 8 days, but the last six hours have developed unimaginable weather.
We’re informed with the best information we can get that winds are horrific at Safety and describe conditions and visibility as strictly marker to marker. Also, according to our sources, the trail going around Cape Nome (further on the trail to Nome) is head-on and will be very strong.
With this new information we learn that Aliy is still in the Safety checkpoint and not continuing in the wind.
What do I think about the wind? Rarely do I insert my own direct personal anecdotes into the dialogue, but I think this race is shut down. The winds into Nome are legendary and life threatening. They have killed people, and its not joking around. If you have ever been caught in the wind, you will understand that wind is the ultimate weapon of an arctic winter. In my racing days, I actually sat down and decided what I would do in a big blow. My decision was to not test it. Sometimes you can make it, but often you can’t. To go into the wind and expect others to risk their life, or risk frostbite, to save your decision is foolhardy.
The excitement of the Iditarod doesn’t end until the last musher crosses the Burled Arches in Nome. But the fever pitch is building to crown the 2014 Iditarod Champion for sure!
When Team Kaiser Pit Crew boarded the Jet to Anchorage at 8, Jeff King seemed to have the race under control. Well as our turbulent flight arrived in Anchorage, it was no match to the turbulence of the race up near the Safetly.
As the Jet pulled into the gate, my phone started to buzz, and Buzz, and BUZZ! Tiffany Tony is Screaming in my Ear- SHE’S PASSED HIM!!!
Aliy had passed Jeff? Naw, I said, that can’t be true.
Apparently it is.
Whatever the reason, Aliy and her Team were into the Safety checkpoint and Jeff has not made it there. The winds now near Safety are Brutal. Reports have it close to 45mph. It’s bad enough that Sebastian Schnuelle said he’s just not going back out there to check.
Cape Nome this Afternoon
My phone wasn’t the only phone ringing. As I called Myron Angstman, he also had a hot hand from fielding calls. I got a call in and he said this has happened before– The Finish has had it’s lore of exciting times in the last bit of the race.
Thought the news of the day is of Jeff King and the Win at the Finish Line, conditions are brutal on the trail tonight.
Fast Teams have been reduced to a crawl as they attempt to make the crossing of Golovin Bay. The wind has been gusting over 30mph and top teams from yesterday are posting times that are pitiful, yet an indicator of the terrible trail.
Martin Buser, the jackrabbit for much of the race made the journey into White Mountain this afternoon in well over 12 hours compared to Jeff King, who last night made the trip in just over 6.
As usual, when Alaska Weather rears its head, pay attention because often it has a temper!
Tonight’s Weather doesn’t look for much improvement and our Teams are going to have their work cut out for them for sure!
432 PM AKDT MON MAR 10 2014.TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. LOWS 2 TO 7
BELOW. NORTH WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH. EAST OF NOME...AREAS OF BLOWING
SNOW WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH.
.TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON.
HIGHS 4 BELOW TO 1 ABOVE. NORTH WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH. EAST OF
NOME...AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH.
I just got a call from Myron Angstman concerning the conditions and he has a great trail report and some insight as to what Teams are facing out there tonight.
Pete and the Team are out of Koyuk on the Trail to White Mountain. It’s going to be an interesting trail, with no snow and such, but it will be memorable!
They were followed out by Richie and his Team, and Wade Mars, who has been traveling with them since Kaltag.
Temperatures in Koyuk this hour are just below zero with light winds. That won’t be the case for the entire journey, though, as Golovin is calling 20 mph winds and several areas that are called “Blow Holes,” or natural wind tunnels.
From Bush Pilot’s Forum:
Mushers move through a series of natural wind tunnels, called “blow holes”, any of which (or all of which, or none of which) may be blowing at any given time. You can easily move through a hurricane-force gale with blowing snow & come suddenly into a calm area—or vice versa. Moreover, the wind can start up within minutes & reach hurricane force within an hour, or quit just as quickly. It can make or break champions and Teams.
Mushing Forecast for today:
.TODAY...SUNNY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW DEVELOPING IN THE
AFTERNOON. HIGHS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE. NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH.
Mike and his Team are into Koyuk. Looking at the Leaderboard, Mike had a very impressive run into Koyuk. Mike trained on nothing but glare ice and the very same windy conditions that this trail had in store. It obviously paid off! Way to go Mike!