Nothing Like Your Own Private Airline! Ryan Air Alaska

Howdy Kaiser Race Fans! Pete and the Team are home safe and sound!

As I drove up to the airport to meet them, I thought of something and I want to share it with you now–

We at Kaiser Racing are so blessed to have friends like the Ryan’s. More like family, really, they always come out of the woodwork to help at a moment’s notice.

Consider today– It’s a bit traumatic to have to pull the plug and scratch from a race. But here we are less than 6 hours after Pete had to do that very thing and he and the Team are home relaxing and recovering. A Ryan Air Casa aircraft diverted from Holy Cross to McGrath to retrieve Pete and the Team. Just like that!! Words are really hard to describe how appreciative we are. It is just truly amazing to have support like that. Boyuk and Lee– Thank you!

What’s more, they have been there from the beginning. When Pete made the decision to be a professional dogsled musher Ryan Air was the first major sponsor to sign on and not only sign on, but provide Kaiser Racing gear as well as air support.

Every year that the Iditarod has ended in Nome, most Teams have to deal with airlines and make reservations. Not Kaiser Racing– The plane is ready when we are. All of the Southwest Teams have been able to get a ride back from Nome thanks to Ryan Air.

Then there was the time when we had all made reservations to go to Nome, but Pete ended up going faster than we anticipated and there were no flights to get there in time… Boyuk to the Rescue!! A Pilatus PC-12 showed up with Boyuk at the controls as the entire pit crew got a ride up to Nome.

I could go on and on, but I just want to say thanks Ryan Air and especially to Boyuk and Lee. We didn’t get to see you guys as we do each year at the banquet, but it’s not because you weren’t on our minds! See ya Soon!!

In terms of Pete and the Team? Well they actually look really great! A little accident in the plane had Pete cleaning up the plane after they deplaned, but other than that as they ran out into the Yard, the rest of the Team greeted them with barks of joy. Good to have them home again! A few days of healing up and they will be back at it on the tundra.

As we say goodbye to the 2021 Iditarod we are wishing Richie Diehl the best as he continues on toward the finish. Last year Richie also had to withdraw from the race due to the very same issues as Pete. A scratch isn’t the end of a career, it’s just a fact of racing, a speed bump, so to speak. Richie has done better this year than ever coming off a scratch last year, proving that saving your dog team for later is a very good strategy. Not for the race, but for the kennel as a whole. It is also what makes the career of Aliy Zirkle so incredible after finishing 20 consecutive races and we want to wish her well as she retires this year. Good luck Aliy! You have brought many good things the dogsled mushing and will be missed.

Lastly- Kaiser Racing Fans- You are the best! Thank you for all of the well wishes to Pete and the Team!

Go Team Kaiser!!


Ryan Air Alaska

Thank You Ryan Air!




In the best interest of the Team- Decision to Scratch

Howdy Kaiser Race Fans-

Pete has had to make the difficult decision to scratch from the 2021 Iditarod Trail Race.

This is always a difficult decision and one that Pete has actually never had to make before. In this case there are quite a few factors that went into Pete’s decision.

First, the Team is still dealing with a virus that started with a few dogs and eventually transferred to all of them. It would take a few days of recovery for the Team to be “race ready” and this just isn’t in the cards for Team Kaiser.

Second is the daunting Alaska Range that is going to require the best of any Team. Heading through that section of the race with a depleted or recovering Team isn’t something that Pete was willing to do in any circumstance.

The relationship between musher and the Team is a special one formed over many years, miles, and races. The Team’s mental health, in that they know that Pete will always take care of them, is something Pete never  wants to put in jeopardy. Of all things, this is probably the most important. Way better to withdraw and head home, than chance losing the trust of this great dog Team. It is disappointing for Pete, but this is always the focus for his training and all of the 365 days he takes care of his Team. In this case, it is really the only option.

We totally appreciate all of the support from our fans, sponsors, and family. None of this is without your support.

Our SUPER sponsor Ryan Air is at this hour prepping an aircraft to pickup Pete and the Team. They will be home in Bethel this afternoon.

Thanks to everyone from Kaiser Racing Kennel!

As Pete heads home, we still will maintain focus on Richie Diehl and the Finish of the 2021 Iditarod. Go Richie!!


Veteran Iditarod musher Pete Kaiser scratches at McGrath (S) checkpoint

Anchorage, Alaska – Veteran Iditarod musher Pete Kaiser (bib #3) of Bethel, Alaska, scratched at 9 a.m. today at the McGrath (S) checkpoint.

Kaiser made the decision to scratch in the best interest of his race team.

Kaiser had 10 dogs in harness at the time he made the decision to scratch.



Taking Some Time for the Team

Sunrise in McGrath

Sunrise in McGrath

Good Morning Kaiser Racing Fans!

If you’ve seen the tracker, you see Pete and the Team still in McGrath. No, there’s nothing wrong with the Tracker.

Pete arrived into McGrath with 10 dogs, 9 in harness.

Primary always, for Pete, and all of the Mushers is the health and safety of the Team.

At this point, Pete is giving the Team all the time it needs before taking to the trail. During an Iditarod, a musher faces so many challenges– trail, weather, sleep deprivation, but mainly it is the health of the Team.

Consider that all throughout the year, Team Kaiser is pretty much isolated at their dog yard and running on the tundra. Then several times a year they compete in races culminating with the Iditarod. In these races, the Team are exposed to hundreds of dogs from all over the world. It is not uncommon for several different viruses to pass through the race and eventually Teams will encounter them and have to work through it. It’s kind of like sending your kids to Kindergarten for the first time– You just know they are going to catch something, but usually it’s just from not being around other kids very much.

In races past, Pete has had virus issues early in the race and in many cases they haven’t been too troublesome. They can be a challenge and now and then result in what is happening to day. Of course this is disappointing as Pete and the Team train together for this event, but in the end, there will be NO WAY that Pete would allow them to continue until they are ready.

So what this means now is that we can sit and watch the competition at the front of the race while we cheer on Pete and the Team to finish the race when they are ready.

This morning Richie Diehl arrived into Nikolai at 5:42 am after a 5 hour and 48 minute run in 7th position. Joar Leifseth-Ulsom arrived about an hour later in 9th position. Teams are steadily returning to the trail out of Nikolai on the long run towards Rohn.

One thing on Pete’s mind is a making sure the Team is solid for that run up the Alaska Range. McGrath offers amenities for both himself and the Team that should aid in speeding the Team’s recovery. Most of the time these virus issues are pretty short in duration, so we’ll see how it goes today.

McGrath weather is super cold right now at -33 and calm. As the sun rises it will get much warmer in the brilliant sunshine and things will look much better for Pete and the Team. Right now they just need some rest and moral support!

Hang in there Mr. Kaiser!


The Race Starts at McGrath

Howdy Race Fans!

Everyone is saying it– The Race Starts at McGrath.

All of the strategies and miles of the 832 mile race come down to what happens after McGrath.

Richie Diehl led the trio of Teams we have been following since McGrath on the outbound trail. He was into McGrath at 7:13pm followed 15 minutes later by Pete and the Kaiser Race Team.

Richie arrived in 9th position followed by Pete in 10th.

All of the 12 Teams in McGrath at this hour seem to have very similar speeds and times in from Ophir. It is really hard to see the condition of any of them, but watching the Live Feed, Pete and Richie’s Teams were lively and ready to go.

I am figuring a 3-4 hour break for Pete and Richie before they head out for Nikolai. That would put them out close to 10pm.

It’s going to be another cold run tonight, but more than likely not nearly as cold as it was last night.

It looks pretty daunting with the lead that Dallas has at this point, but in dogsled racing, anything can happen and the order we see right now will not be the order of finish. Comparing this race to a traditional race, McGrath is the new Unalakleet. It should be a very exciting next couple of days.

McGrath Forecast-
Tonight– Patchy freezing fog after midnight. Mostly clear, with a low around -28. Calm wind.
Saturday– Patchy freezing fog before noon. Sunny, with a high near 4. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph.

Go Team Kaiser!!


Trio Out of Ophir

Good Afternoon Race Fans!

Everything is warming up at this point in the Race. After a cold night on the trail, temperatures must be really warming up as we just saw Richie, Pete, and Joar leave Ophir in the blinding sunlight, but without the parka’s we usually see.

In addition to the mushers and Teams being warmed up, so is the competition! Teams with and without their 8 hour layover are scattered up and down the trail. Our trio of Teams are easily faster then most around them, but there will be jockeying and strategizing from here on out. Everyone has their eye’s on Dallas Seavey who really is in the cat-bird seat at this point. He has a nice lead and will leave McGrath with 8 hours of rest under his belt.

Pete left Ophir with 10 dogs, our favorite Lucy in the lead as usual. The little sparkplug doesn’t stand tall in stature, but she is an amazing leader. As they left she was interested in something or other on the trail and Pete just let her do her thing and within a few seconds, attention was back to the trail and off they went.

It is 41 miles to McGrath where we should see a short break and then our attention will be on tonight’s run into Nikolai and back towards the Alaska Range. Mushers are all wondering what this is going to be like. No one has ever done this in a race, but it is a traditional route in the old days, so though challenging, it isn’t like it’s undoable at all. I’m thinking the Teams that go through in the daylight will have an advantage and I’m thinking that all the front runners will do so.

Hard to imagine, but we are on the downhill swing of the Race. A few more days and it will all be a memory and as Joar said this morning, “Can’t wait for warm weather!”

It should be a real nice afternoon into McGrath with the sun and good trail.

Have fun out there, Mr. Kaiser!

Go Team Kaiser!!


Cold Trail into Ophir

Good Morning Kaiser Race Fans!

I’ve been writing lately about how “fun” it must be for Pete, Richie, and Joar. I guess we’ll find out how much “fun” it really was…

Last night after a break at the Moose Creek Cabin, Pete and the Boys got back on the trail and headed North to Ophir. As the evening progressed, temperatures dropped dramatically. Pete said the only thing keeping him warm was running back up the hills as temperatures dropped to near -60. When it is seriously cold, the air gets almost “heavy” and the colder air will drop to the lower places. You can actually feel the difference in just 100 feet or so. Down into a valley and into the cold temperatures. If feels almost like swimming into colder water and then rising up out of it into just a bit warmer air.

It was a challenging trail, but all 3 Teams had great trail times into Ophir.

Dallas Seavey, who is resting less on the trail, but switching out dogs into his trailer is having success with a steady trail pace. At this point he has about a 4 hour lead. It will be interesting to see how this plays out heading back into the Alaska Range.

Pete’s average running speed is 8.6 mph compared to 7.6 mph for Dallas, but this is due to Dallas remaining on the trail and resting dogs while still moving.

Upon arrival into Ophir, all three mushers declared their 8 hour layover. This is the last of the mandatory layovers until the last one in Skwentna. Unfortunately, as cold as it is, there is little respite for mushers as they only have one heated tent. Apparently the cabin they were expecting and stayed in on the first Ophir stop no longer has heat. The crew of mushers in Ophir are ingenious, though, and I’d think they would come up with a plan to get some heat going. It’s unfortunate, though, because time spent on getting heat is time they don’t get to rest themselves. Between the group, you have Aaron Burmeister, Pete, Richie, Joar, and Ryan Redington. All are very experienced mushers that will come up with something.

The sun will warm things up dramatically, so hopefully Pete will be able to get some rest and warm up before the run into McGrath.

Richie led the trio into McGrath arriving at 6:23, followed by Pete at 6:30, and Joar at 6:36. An 8 hour break will allow them to leave at 2:23, 2:30, and 2:36 respectively.

Today’s Mushing weather is more of the same– Clear and cold.

Today- Sunny. Highs around 3 above. Light winds.
Tonight- Mostly clear. Lows 13 to 25 below. Light winds.

I am tracking a storm on the coast that will have mushers glad that they aren’t running up to Nome. It’s a nasty low with wind, snow, and all of the fun that goes with it.

The outlook for the Alaska Range and Skwentna for the next few days:

Saturday Night-  Mostly clear, with a low around -4. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph.

Sunday- Snow, mainly after 9am. High near 18. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Sunday Night- Snow, mainly before 3am. Low around 6. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Monday- A 50 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26.

I’m thinking that rest in the tank is going to be critical headed up the Alaska Range with fresh snow. This race isn’t over! Here’s to Pete and the Team getting some of that rest for the upcoming day on the trail!

Go Team Kaiser!!




Good evening Race Fans!

After some considerable thought, here’s what I think is happening on the trail tonight.

I’m thinking that Pete, Richie, and Joar, have come up with a strategy that basically splits the McGrath to Iditarod and back trip into 5 segments.

McGrath to Ophir – 40 miles
Ophir to Moose Creek Cabin – 60 miles
Moose Creek Cabin to Iditarod (No Break) and back to the Cabin – 40 miles
Moose Creek Cabin to Ophir – 60 miles
Ophir to McGrath – 40 miles


So tonight, while many are wondering “What are they doing?” I am thinking they have come up with this plan to split the trail into even segments with good rest points so when they get back to McGrath, they are ready to race for the Finish.

This is a complete unknown in terms of the Nikolai to Rohn to Rainy Pass trail. It is going to take a good fresh Team to go UP through the trail that normally goes DOWN. All of the most challenging portions of the trail TWICE in one race. That’s a challenge.

I’m thinking, with that in the back of their minds, the Trio of trail hardened mushers, Pete, Richie, and Joar, are thinking that this even rest/run schedule will conserve their Teams for the last challenge of the 2021 Iditarod.

We should see them return to the trail very soon and then it’s on to McGrath!

Trail conditions are a question mark given so many Teams traveling through the area, but the cold temps should harden them nicely.

McGrath is reporting -4F temp with a slight wind from the Northeast. Outlook for the morning remains similar.

After 11 previous runs on the Iditarod, this new 2021 trail has to be fun for Pete and other mushers and Teams that have become used to developing strategies over the years on the trail to Nome. This race is certainly much different and has an entirely different flavor. Many mushers have developed and studied the traditional Iditarod Race. The 2021 Iditarod throws all of those strategies out the window and no one really has an advantage in terms of that secret sauce that will bring them to the Finish. Everyone is on equal unknown footing and we are seeing that tonight with mushers doing many different things on the return to Deshka Landing.

One fun thing as well is the amount of meteorites I have been seeing here in Bethel. I’d bet that mushers and Teams are seeing them as well. The light show of the sky should be pretty dramatic tonight

See Ya in the Morning!

Go Team Kaiser!!


Homeward Bound! Iditarod Turnaround Complete!

Pete Kaiser is headed back to Deshka Landing!

A short 6 minute stop to grab a few supplies and Pete was back on the trail. As expected, the long layover on the trail was the plan to effect a quick turnaround bound for Ophir. Pete is still traveling with Richie and Joar, as the trio chases Ryan Redington and Dallas Seavey.

As Pete left Iditarod, Seavey had a 16 mile lead and Redington had a 6 mile lead. The fly in the buttermilk is that Seavey has more current rest, having spent almost 4 hours in Iditarod and Redington has already taken his second mandatory 8 hour layover. Over the course of last night, Pete and Richie were gaining on both Teams, so we will see how this all plays out. Dallas knows who is on his tail and can’t make any mistakes. Ryan as well has the Kusko mushers in his rearview mirror and it’s never good to see Pete or Richie getting close like that.

There are over 400 miles to the finish and we are just at the halfway point, but eyes are now on the finish as each move becomes more and more crucial to a win. Take too much rest, run too hard, encounter bad trails? All of the factors can cause Teams to lose minutes. It seems odd to be counting minutes when there are at least 55 hours to go in the race, but they add up quickly. In the early days, Pete learned the hard way about losing minutes at checkpoints. Today his is brutal in his timing and each move is calculated and orchestrated for efficiency. Richie as well has really come a long ways to that end. It is super-cool to see these two guys that started as just young men, now veteran Iditarod competitors. All the cooler for Myron Angstman, surely watching with pride that this dream of keeping mushing alive, very similar to Joe Redington’s dream, is playing out on the world wide stage.

Tonight will be full of action as Pete moves North to Ophir. I’m expecting a break at some point to split the Iditarod to McGrath segment. We shall see!

Weather again is supposed to be phenomenal. Cold and clear, just like Teams like it. It will be interesting to see if the trail holds up after so many Teams. Way better to be at the front of the pack than at the rear in this race for sure!

Stay tuned! Go Team Kaiser!