Sunday, March 12, 2023

We have a dog race

We've reached the West Coast of Alaska and you know what that means - the race is on! Ryan Redington chose to run the 85 miles from Kaltag to Unalakleet in one long run keeping his lead gained on the run from Eagle Island to Kaltag. Redington stayed in Unalakleet (his mother's "hometown") for just shy of four hours before heading to Shaktoolik Sunday morning. That's right, folks, a Redington is in command of the race... for now.

Pete Kaiser and Richie Diehl have kept pace with the lead pack from day one, and with their race strategy both are in good position to make a push on the Coast. This is their kind of trail as they are from the Coast (just a little further south as Barb Redington likes to point out). The famed winds are an every day no big deal thing for their teams and they thrive on the third leg of the race.

The weather looks... calm... for the front runners. Sure, there's the ever brutal wind, but they don't expect any snow storms or ground storms to wreak havoc on the leaders. There's still no word on trail conditions out of Shaktoolik, just that they expect some heavy wind (but when is that not expected) at a steady 25mph. The wind could play a factor as many sled dogs dislike running into the wind (does anyone?) and it could stall a team if they aren't on their game.

Richie Diehl just blew through Unalakleet chasing down his best friend and competitor Pete Kaiser. Both are hoping to keep within range to take the lead if Redington falters. The best chance of that is the run out of Shaktoolik. Redington is in somewhat unknown territory - he's never led this part of the Iditarod - but he's got an entire family's history worth of knowledge on the race his Grandfather started. As long as he can stay focused on his race and his dogs and not panic or focus on what the others are doing we could finally see what the entire IditaFandom has wanted to see since the beginning - a Redington just might take this race.

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