Bethel dog musher Pete Kaiser arrived in Nome yesterday, taking 9th place in the 2017 Iditarod. It 's not the highest placing he has had in the race, but he was happy with it, and happy with the way his young leaders took his team into the chute under the burled arch on Front Street.
Kaiser dropped some of the older dogs he usually depends on to lead his team, and went with some two-year-olds instead.
"I didn't know what they were going to do, but a lot of them made it here and it was the silver lining in this trip was how well the young dogs did."
Kaiser, who left the Safety checkpoint yesterday minutes ahead of Aliy Zirkle, says the two teams ran close together until they got to Safety. Then, either Aliy hit the gas or he slowed down. When sunrise came, Pete decided to take it easy, go easy on his team, and take a nap.
"After a thousand miles I didn't feel like pushing them any harder. I was happy with my placement, happy with just getting here."
Race conditions were near ideal, which led to record breaking speeds on the Iditarod trail. Thinking back on the fast dogs and fast trail, Kaiser was a bit bemused that coming into Nome in under nine days would result in a 9th place finish.
"An evolving sport every year. You know there's those guys up front that are pushing the envelope every year, getting better and better at this. And you're seeing faster dog teams and they look more amazing than ever. Yeah, I mean, ninth place in under nine days. It's crazy."
Pete Kaiser completed the Iditarod about fifty-three minutes short of nine days with a total time of 8 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes, and 39 seconds.