The Iditarod Race Standings page has incorrect information this morning out of Iditarod. Pete and Richie have been running together since Nikolai and they left Iditarod together just before midnight.
The Race Standings page has Pete and the Team out at 22:50 with 12 dogs, but the tracker shows the actual time at just before Midnight.
After a 4 hour break in Iditarod the duo headed West for Shageluk in front of a passel of Teams bearing down on them and waiting for just the smallest mistake to overtake them. The times between Teams is extremely close and very exciting.
Nic Petit is finally showing what I really anticipated would happen after watching his Team this year. He has an extremely fast Team and seems to be burning up the trail and should be enjoying the 5 course First Team to the Yukon this morning.
Mitch Seavey and Joar Leifseth Ulsom are several hours in front of Pete and Richie, but then it becomes a tight group of Teams.
Consider that Pete and Richie left at 23:50, but by the next hour 9 Teams had left also. Some of those Teams had pretty fast Times including Jessie Royer, Hugh Neff, Linwood Fiedler, and others. In any case, it is pretty close and everyone is looking over their shoulder.
From most reports in Iditarod, the trail has been a bit soft and snowmachiners are really not doing the Teams any favors. A nice fragile trail that can support a Team is no match for a 5-600lb snowmachine. What happens is the snow can be a couple of feet deep with a crust of frozen snow on top. It is fairly hard and if you’ve ever walked on such snow it will support you pretty well. But under the first 6-8 inches of snow is soft fluffy snow that hasn’t been exposed to cold and rain and the elements. It’s kind of like an eggshell and once its broken, you fall right through. That is what Teams are having to deal with as well as wind blown stretches in exposed tundra valleys and open areas. It is pretty tough in these wild areas that aren’t used by local people.
After they reach Shageluk, the trail should be pretty nice as the Villages of Shageluk, Anvik, and Grayling have trails connecting them. But then tomorrow, as they leave Grayling headed North, it is going to be much the same with the addition of a cold North wind as they head for Kaltag.
Pete is down to 12 dogs in the Team having carried one in the sled some of the way yesterday, but consider that he starts the Kuskokwim 300 with 12 dogs and there is 566 miles to go. 12 dogs is a bit less work in the checkpoint and during breaks and this is something we see many times in many races.
Go Team Kaiser!!
Mushing Weather for today:
The Low that we have been watching for days is set up of the whole State of Alaska. Low pressure rotates counter clockwise. Generally as they pass through the State they suck up warm weather as they approach and then as they pass the south wind turns to the North and the very cold interior temperatures are drawn into the areas. It’s a double whammy and we get it all the time. Rain and then extreme cold. Exactly what happened during the K300 this year. Rain and then Ice. As the low moves Eastward winds should subside and leave Teams with cooler temps, but not anything dramatic. The coast is calling for light winds during the weekend, so this may be our only weather event of the race. Let’s cross our fingers!!
Anvik– 20 degrees, NW Wind 20mph, Partly cloudy, Windchill 8 degrees.
A 40 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 23. North wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 11. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph.