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Patience in Nikolai: Ken Anderson and Pete Kaiser

audio by Laureli Kinneen; text by David Dodman

“Be patient” and “go slow”: that’s the mentality of Ken Anderson for the race he’s run so far. It’s a view that Bethel musher Pete Kaiser seems to share; despite all that’s been said about this year’s “fast” trail, Kaiser says he’s “taking it easy” so far and not pushing his dogs too hard, lest they burn out.

KNOM trail reporter Laureli Kinneen caught up with both veteran mushers in the Nikolai checkpoint last night.

The 23-year-old Kaiser noted the “pretty punchy” conditions of the trail, which – on top of the warmer weather – have kept his dogs at a relatively slower pace. Kaiser also shared his thoughts on taking a 24-hour layover, as well as how he’s dealing with less sleep than last year:

Ken Anderson, like Pete Kaiser, is consciously trying to keep his speeds in check. Anderson says the trail’s tailor-made for fast running, but he wasn’t content to let his dogs go faster than 10 miles per hour: at least, not yet. He’s hoping his patience will “pay dividends”; some of the faster-running teams, Anderson expects, will start falling back in the rankings sometime soon.

With Laureli, Anderson also talked about the exceptional circumstances – 3 lost dogs from Martin Buser’s team – that had him running a string of 18 dogs into Rainy Pass:

Both Pete Kaiser and Ken Anderson arrived in Takotna overnight, in 24th and 26th positions, respectively. Kaiser arrived at 2:28am with 15 dogs, Anderson at 3:55 with 14.