Although many mushers breezed through Takotna today, headed toward more solitary checkpoints for their 24-hour rest, Pete Kaiser and Aliy Zirkle are among a larger group who decided to put their snow hooks down; giving their dogs and themselves some well-deserved rest.
Takotna is about 300 miles into the 1000 mile race to Nome, and Aliy Zirkle says it’s a great spot to evaluate her team. Zirkle’s team won this year’s Yukon Quest with husband Allen Moore, and also finished 2012’s Iditarod in second place. So far, she tells Laureli Kinneen, “they’re not perfect, and they’re not poor. We’re doing great, which is a good place to be at, at this point in the race.”
Seems that change is in the air, and the 2013 Iditarod is about mixing things up and trying new strategies. Aliy is enjoying that about the race this year, and doesn’t count herself out of spicing things up later down the trail. But for now, she’s sticking to her plan and running according to her team’s ability.
Mixing things up himself this year, Pete Kaiser is working at staying a little closer to the head of the pack. In Nikolai yesterday, he told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen that he was considering pushing toward Ophir for his 24-hour layover. But he decided to stop in Takotna, due to some “little things,” with his dogs he wanted to tend to. “I want to stay closer, but at the same time, I want to give them enough rest and take good enough care of them that I have a strong team in the end.”
Pete is interested to see how these new strategies continue to pan out as mushers come off their 24-hour layovers and hit the trail again. “The next section all the way to Anvik is going to be a pretty big shake up. And then we’ll finally see the order and the time difference in Anvik probably.”
Aliy Zirkle arrived in Takotna at 9:35pm last night, followed by Pete Kaiser at 11:21pm. Both mushers will be back on the trail tonight after their 24-hour layovers are up, taking into account the differential for their respective starting times from Willow.