Good Morning Race Fans!
OMG! Stunned again is all I can say!
Over the years we have seen so many situations happen that completely change the landscape of the race.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard that Brent Sass had scratched was– Fate happens again! I remember the year that Jeff King had the race in pure control with Aliy Zirkle in hot pursuit. A freak wind storm came up all of a sudden at Safety and pushed Jeff’s Team into the driftwood. He had to scratch. Aliy, just a few miles behind stopped and huddled her Team in the Safety cabin. The wind was crazy strong. And then, just like that, the wind subsided and Dallas Seavey cruised on by as if nothing ever happened. Fate drew it’s cards and the two leaders were out.
In this case, Brent has a dental issue and had to scratch at the Eagle Island checkpoint. Gosh!! We offer our extreme condolences to last year’s champion. It’s doubly disappointing for the former champ as in 2015, he inadvertently had an iPod with him that violated the rules at the time that banned electronic devices that could communicate. He mushed home to Fairbanks that year. In both cases, the Team was in fine shape and a musher issue caused the scratch. Super bummer.
But this is dogsled mushing and anything can happen and generally does. It has happened to countless mushers over the years and there really isn’t much to say but, “It happens…”
With one of the front runners and contenders out of the race, Pete and Richie are in great position at the very front of the pack. Ron and I were looking at run times and this year’s time from Grayling to Kaltag looks to be almost 5 hours faster than Pete’s win in 2019.
It’s already time to be looking at the Finish line, believe it or not!
In 2019 Pete left Kaltag on the trail to Nome and the journey took 3 days and 3 hours. In 2018, Joar Leifseth-Ulsom did it in 3 days flat. We are looking at the race leaders making it to Kaltag around noon. Add a four hour break and we are looking at a Tuesday early afternoon finish. That’s considering trail times from 2018-19. Considering a faster trail, it could undoubtedly be earlier than that.
Team Kaiser Super Host Bob Madden is reporting that the trails around Nome are hard and fast. Nome had similar conditions to Bethel with a super warm spell with rain that has now frozen trails into very hard packed and icy. That should make for fast times as well.
In the movie, “The Alamo” with John Wayne, there’s a scene where Gen. Sam Houston says, “The Fly in the Buttermilk…” referring to the problem with his plan. In our case, the “Fly in the Buttermilk” is that the weather outlook for the coast from Unalakleet to Nome is deteriorating. Strong South winds and snow are in the forecast for Monday. That could be a factor for a changing trail with snow, wind, and low visibility. Nothing lasts forever, and I fear that this great weather that Teams have been running in is going to me the next challenge for Pete and the Team. Luckily experience is in his back pocket and this isn’t anything he and the Team haven’t seen before.
Today- A 20 percent chance of snow after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 14. Calm wind.
Tonight- Snow, mainly after 9pm. Patchy freezing fog after 3am. Low around -5. South wind around 5 mph becoming north after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Tonight- Snow. Patchy freezing fog between 9pm and midnight. Low around -1. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming north 10 to 15 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Sunday- A 20 percent chance of snow before 9am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 4. North wind around 15 mph.
Sunday Night- Partly cloudy, with a low around -9. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming south after midnight.
Sunday Night- Increasing clouds, with a low around -13. North wind 5 to 15 mph becoming south after midnight.
Monday- Snow likely, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 9. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Monday Night- A chance of snow before 9pm, then a slight chance of snow after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -3. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Go Team Kaiser!!