Pete and Nik are off into the night in the 2018 Kuskokwim 300. Nik and the B-Team left just an interval ahead of Pete and the A-Team on the way to Bogus Creek and the turnaround to head back to Bethel for the first ‘lap’ of the race. The weather was expected cold, but it was actually very nice. An expected icy wind was just a settling breeze and to those of us experienced Kaiser Fans, this was just a walk in the park.
If I was to put into one word, comparatively speaking of course, I would say– Relaxed. The Startline had a relaxed, almost casual feeling as Teams made their way to the line and off onto the trail.
Andy Angstman annouced the Start line activities and this year was joined by his Dad, and Father of the K300, Myron. Having the two talking to the crowd of onlookers was a fun addition and hopefully it will continue.
Nik Wikstrand, our star handler, had no trouble at the line and was much more relaxed than last year. “I know the trail now and have been on it several times,” he told me as I chatted with him. “The trail conditions have been horrible, but at least this year I know what to expect.” Carrying a recently acquired Norwegian flag for the motherland, Nik was out with Bib number 3 for the 300 mile journey.
Watching Pete now in his 10th run of the race is like watching a machine. Hands to line, dog to snap. No wasted movements. Just a relaxed, experienced Dog man and the Team responds to his slightest movement. “Heeyyy,” Pete looks at the Team as they get a bit boisterous and noisy. They all look at the master and calm down immediately. Evident that the true leader of the Team is wearing Kaiser Racing Gear and soon they will be a well oiled machine putting miles down the trail.
It was a great deal of fun and this new trail will be a great experience for Bethel fans. For almost 40 years, fans are used to seeing Teams off, watching the fireworks, take in a fiddle dance, and maybe some basketball, and then watch Teams at the Finish Line. This year the whole weekend will be filled with DOGS-DOGS-DOGS! A real checkpoint where all the fans can see what really happens on the race trail. If you are in town, watch the tracker and head on over to the ME school to watch the action.
One note of caution– Leave your pet dogs at home and when watching the Teams give them ample room. They are in full competion mode, way different from how they are at the Start and the Finish. You are going to see the best of the best compete this weekend!
Your Mushing Weather forecast- Dress Warm!–
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around -9. Wind chill values as low as -30. North wind around 15 mph.
Saturday: Increasing clouds, with a high near -5. Wind chill values as low as -30. North wind 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday Night: Scattered snow showers, mainly before midnight. Cloudy, with a low around -12. Wind chill values as low as -30. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near -7. Wind chill values as low as -35. North wind 15 to 20 mph.
Here are the photos! Go Team Kaiser!