2011 Kuskokwim300 Update #5

There is only one way to describe this year’s K300–blindingly fast!

Last night, Paul Gebhart & Mike Williams Jr. were the front-runners out of Aniak, and also the fastest teams overall–I made the foolish prediction that the lead would change hands somewhere around Kalskag Downbound, favoring Seavey & Baker who seemed to be holding back; those two always come on strong in the homestretch, and I figured they would make their move at some point before Tuluksak.

Boy was I wrong!

Mike Jr. & Paul blazed through the night, blew through Kalskag and lit up the trail all the way to Tuluksak, taking a lead that was already substantial and shattering it wide open–the only driver to emerge from the main pack with any chance whatsoever to upset them (and it is a very slim chance indeed) is young Pete Kaiser.

As the top three stand right now:

1: Paul Gebhart–due to leave Tuluksak @04:48

2: Mike Williams Jr.–due to leave Tuluksak @05:10

3: Pete Kaiser–due to leave Tuluksak @06:12:

I think they will finish in that order in Bethel, Paul due to arrive at approx 09:00.

There is quite a pile-up of great drivers all in Tuluksak & within minutes of each other–Baker/Buser/Smyth/Seavey/Neff, due to depart around 08:00.

Though not all of my predictions are coming true, I am very pleased with how this race is shaping up–it does my heart good to see those “young guns” Williams & Kaiser doing such a great job!!!! One special note, and this is really surprising to me (because it’s usually not the case), is the size of the teams in the top ten this year–it seems like everyone in driving a 13-14 dog team still; usually, mushers are down to 6-9 dogs by this point in the race. Very impressive!

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….


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