Race Update : Can Anyone Catch Mitch Seavey?
We have 10 teams en route from the Yukon to the coastal town of Unalakleet this Sunday afternoon. The 85 mile stretch between checkpoints is one of the most daunting on the trail and has in past races separated the more powerful teams from the rest of the pack. There are some hilly stretches and the coastal winds can be brutal as the teams descend down to the Bering Sea Coast. Snow squalls are in the area hampering some of the pilots from flying as readily as they would like. Who knows if there will be enough snow falling to affect the leaders by forcing them to break trail in the soft, loose snow.
Two time champ Mitch Seavey was the first to leave Kaltag but he was followed just 5 minutes later by his son, Dallas. Wade Marrs left 43 minutes after Dallas and Nicolas Petit left about an hour after Marrs.
We should keep in mind Mitch’s team is the most rested of the top teams as he took his 24 hour layover in Huslia while Dallas and Marrs used their layover back in Ruby. Petit took his 24 in Huslia but his 8 hour layover was in Galena while Mitch waited until Kaltag to use the 8 hour layover. So if you add all that up, the current leader of the race has the most rested team.
The Seavey’s method of rotating dogs in and out of the towline certainly has to begin to show its advantage at this stage of the race as Marrs’, Petit’s, and Ulsom’s dogs have run the entire way. Dallas arrived in Kaltag with two of his buddies resting in his state of the art carbon fiber sled. But he left toward Unalakleet with a smaller, lighter sled. I’m not sure if he plans to haul dogs from time to time with that sled.
Nicolas Petit still has 15 huskies in his team while both Seaveys have pared their teams down to 12 dogs each. As far as times between the recent checkpoints go Petit is the fastest but Mitch very close to his time of 12+mph.
This tough 85 mile portage from the Yukon to the Coast will likely cause some separation among the top 5 to 6 teams. It is going to be interesting to see how this unfolds folks. Stay tuned with The Alaska Life.
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