Aliy Zirkle Scratches


March 9, 2021

Veteran Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle scratches from Iditarod 49

Anchorage, Alaska – Veteran Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle (bib #32) of Two Rivers, Alaska, scratched at the Rohn checkpoint last night at 8:05 p.m. Zirkle was injured while coming in to the Rohn checkpoint.

Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman, based on information provided by a volunteer with medical training, notified the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for assistance. The Alaska RCC arrived at the checkpoint at 12:14 a.m. today and transported Zirkle safely to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage for further evaluation.

Zirkle is in stable but guarded condition after sustaining a significant impact that resulted in a concussion and orthopedic injuries to her upper torso. Zirkle has been released from the hospital and is resting in Anchorage with family and plans to return home when they are able.

Zirkle had 14 dogs in harness when she arrived in Rohn. Her race team is uninjured and being well cared for by volunteers at the Rohn checkpoint where they will wait for the first flight out to be flown to Anchorage and driven back home.

The Iditarod would like to thank the race personnel at the Rohn checkpoint for their care of Zirkle, the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for their response efforts.


Excitement and Drama on the Trail into Nikolai

Nikolai Morning Photo

Nikolai Morning

I awoke this morning to an alert from Iditarod that Aliy Zirkle was being Medevaced from Rohn. “That’s not good,” I thought. Apparently Aliy in her last race before retirement was injured going into Rohn during the night and she and her dogs are being transported back to Anchorage. All of us at Kaiser Racing are wishing her well as this has to be devastating for her and her Team as well as her fans.

Then I checked the tracker and WOW! Ryan Redington was into Nikolai at an amazing 4:45am this morning. That is a very early hour for the first Team into the first checkpoint on the Kuskokwim. Then I realized that the Deshka Landing Starting Line trimmed at least 10 miles from the Start of the race which would make arrival times that much earlier. Ryan is definitely moving though and we’ll see how this all shakes out. With limited amenities and checkpoints, Teams are altering strategies and doing more breaks on the trail than usual. The race seems pretty fast and with a shorter length, Teams are most likely going to keep the pace up and this could be a fast race.

Richie Diehl was third into Nikolai at 6:40am just 25 minutes behind Aaron Burmeister, who traditionally is one of the front runners into that checkpoint.

Pete and the Team were just 32 minutes behind Richie in fourth position just in front of Gunnar Johnson, Travis Beals, and Joar Leifseth Ulsom.

Times into the checkpoint are pretty consistent with previous fast races with Teams either showing 12-13 hours with a break, or 9-10 hours without. One thing I failed to notice yesterday is that Pete had to drop two dogs so far on this first 263 miles of the race. I’ll find out who today and although it’s noteworthy, looking at past races, Pete has had to do this as well. There are many things that can cause a Team member to have to be benched for “the game.” It is rarely injury. Sometimes a female in heat or a dog that catches a bug from another Team.

While I’m on the subject of the Team, checkout our Team Page with the 2021 Kaiser Team.

Though some Teams may run through Nikolai, I am thinking Pete may stop and break here and take advantage of water and whatever amenities are available. Further on down the trail it is going to be slim pickins and no Pies in Takotna to look forward to at our traditional stop.

Weather today is looking beautiful, but warm. Temperatures were in the 30’s yesterday in McGrath, but dropped gradually into the teens. Great mushing weather right now, but by the time Pete and the Team head back to the trail, I fear it will be warm and possibly soft. A well packed trail from McGrath to Nikolai will help things, but today could be pretty warm with light snow.

Day two of the Iditarod and it’s another exciting drama developing on the Trail!

Have a good rest Pete! Go Team Kaiser!!



Long Night to the Kuskokwim

Good evening Race Fans!

A short update for us before a long night on the trail tonight for Pete and the Team.

After a 6 hour or so run, Pete and the Team are near Farewell with a group of mushers he’s been with before– Jessie Royer, Joar Leifseth-Ulsom, and Richie Diehl, among others. Instead of stopping in Rohn, Pete moved up the trail to this point to shorten the run into Nikolai.

This is generally the longest night of the race without checkpoints, but this year Teams will do it again on the return. It will be interesting to see how this race shakes out with a “backwards” trail.

Temperatures in Nikolai are in the mid-20’s, but Insider Video was showing wind into Rohn. Considering how the storm affected Bethel, it began with a bunch of wind and then subsided to warmer temperatures and eventually sunshine. Bethel may be giving us a front row seat to weather conditions, just delayed a day or two. If that’s the case, Teams can expect cooler temperatures and great sunshine as they move onto the Kuskokwim and towards the southwest.

It’s still way to early to see “leaders” of the race, but Nic Petit, Ryan Redington, and Dallas Seavey seem to be laying down the gauntlet for the Teams behind them. It’s always disconcerting to have a leader a ways in front, but right now we are looking at 20 mile leads which are really about 2-3 hours. Considering run/rest strategies, that really isn’t much at all. Fun to see the competition playing out.

We’ll see you in the morning with Tales from the Trail. Early Tuesday is generally when Teams reach the Kuskokwim. The Iditarod is calling this the Gold Loop Trail, but for all intents and purposes, this is the Kuskokwim Iditarod. No Yukon, No Coast, just down and up the Kuskokwim and back up the Alaska Range to the Finish!

Go Team Kaiser!!


Working through the Alaska Range

Good afternoon Race Fans!

Well, the nice cold temperatures this morning were replaced by the spring storm coming in from the West. Pete and the Team are making their way through Rainy Pass as temperatures have risen into the mid 30’s. Weather cam photos at Rohn show light snow which is going to make the trail a bit punchy or soft after the top 10 Teams have passed through.

Pete seems to be on a 4/4 rest/run cycle, as he took about 3 1/2 hrs early this morning at 4 and then after a 4 hour run took another 4 that ended about 2:30pm. He may have “pre-loaded” some rest to make the run through the pass in one stretch. I’d expect him to take a break in Rohn this evening.

Team Kaiser is running in around the 10th position. It’s really hard to say what position is what as run/rest cycles are different at this point in the race and no true leader has been established. Joe Redington’s grandson Ryan seems to be the “Jackrabbit” and has moved out of Rohn towards the Little Egypt area. This is a common strategy each year and mostly just is a musher/Team preference.

Richie Diehl is playing a hand he talked about at the Kuskokwim 300. He related that often he holds back and with this Bogus and K300 championship Team, it is likely he is being a bit more aggressive with his strategy than we have seen before. Mushers look at past performance and dream all year about the strategy for an Iditarod run. I’m sure Richie has been thinking about this for months and I’d bet he is really happy with the Team so far. The gamble is whether a Team can be lasting for the entirety of the Race. Given this year’s race is about 100 miles or so shorter, we’ll see later how the gambles of all these world class musher’s plays out.

Weather for the evening is more of the same. A wet, warm storm has moved into the area and I’d expect warm temperatures for the next couple of days. Bethel temperatures are in the mid-30’s and this same storm appeared a couple of days ago.

Pete and most of the mushers will be less than happy to see warm temperatures as soggy equipment is never fun and requires much work to dry and keep everything going well. The Team won’t mind. They are happy always to be on the trail. Pete will be especially attentive to the dog’s feet and keeping them bootied and dry.

As the weather is warming up, so is the competition and Pete is loving it. This is what he trains all year for. Have a good time Mr. Kaiser!

Go Team Kaiser!

Weather Radar – State of Alaska – Mar. 8. 2021


21- Day One- Into the Alaska Range

Good Morning Race Fans and welcome to Day One on the Iditarod Trail!

It is going to be an absolutely gorgeous day on the trail if the weather will hold as it is right now. Puntilla, or Rainy Pass Lodge, is reporting 7 degrees, clear skies, and light wind from the Southwest.

Pete and the Team are doing exceptional after two breaks during the evening. At 8pm, they rested for about 3 hours and then upon arriving into Finger Lake, rested for another 4 hours.

At this part of the race, staying within the top 10-15 Teams is a good strategy. 132 miles into the race is not a time to be worried about leading the race.

Today should be an absolutely great day for mushing. The trail will lead Pete and the Team into the amazing sights of the Alaska Range and then towards Rohn.

Weather will soon be a factor as a storm pushing in from the West is bringing warm temperatures and mixed rain and snow. If they are lucky, it will subside before they have to deal with it. It will have an impact on trail conditions, but for today, it’s enjoy the moment of Iditarod Sled Dog racing and the world class competition.

A word of note concerning the standings at– At this point in the race, communications is always an issue and this year proves not to be the exception. Tracker shows Pete in 10th position, though the Standings page just has him out of Skwentna.

Though I’m not a fan of the Iditarod tracker as the K300 and other races have way better analytics, it is all we have and the only way to really engage with the Iditarod is through the Ultimate Insider. It’s just under $40, but for a week of entertainment, it really is worth it. Someday they’ll get the tracker on board, but the Insider gets you access as well as interviews from the trail. Here’s the link to get started.

For today, as we all get into Iditarod Mode, let’s sit back and watch Team Kaiser make their way up the trail.

Go Team Kaiser!




21 Iditarod – Photos from the Start

Ron and Sterling got a chance to take a few photos at the Starting Line. Not sure if you noticed, but none other than Bethany lead the Team into the chute. No kids at the Starting Line gave her a chance to help out on the big stage. She is always behind the scenes supporting Pete and the Team, so it was pretty awesome to see her as the lead handler.

The day was so very warm that Ron said he had all his jackets unbuttoned. The heat from the sun was intense in the mid 20’s air and everyone, including the Team were ready to get this party started.

On the way into Deshka Landing mysterious Go Pete signs were posted conspicuously. Thanks to our Greatest Fans!! Go Team Kaiser!!



2021 Iditarod Start – Pete and the Team Leave for Iditarod

With all of the Covid Restrictions, it wasn’t in the cards for Kaiser Media to accompany Pete and the Team to the Starting Line. I watched it at home with all of you. Here are a few shots (I actually shot photos of the TV- Haha!) But I did get the “Money Shot” of Pete giving Bethany his last kiss before the trail. It is going to be another exciting race! Stay Tuned!