BETHEL -- For the first time in 29 years, a hometown Bethel musher captured the world’s premier middle distance race when Peter Kaiser’s team of nine dogs crossed the finish line before dawn Sunday to the whoops and cheers of dozens of emotional fans who turned out to cheer him home.
Kaiser crossed the finish line on the frozen Kuskokwim River at 5:31 a.m., capping off 35 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds on a trail shortened by a lack of snow. A miles-long stretch of jumble ice near Kalskag required a bulldozer and logging equipment hauling a 5,000-pound steel plate to make passable. In the end, mushers said the trail was surprisingly good. The course was about 267 miles long, according to mileage reported through GPS tracking.
|Lisa Demer / ADN|