March 13 7:05am Koyuk Mitch continues to Guard Lead

March 13 7:05am Koyuk Mitch continues to Guard Lead

 Joe Runyan

Despite thrusts and parries by Dallas Seavey, NIc Petit, and Joar Ulsom,  Mitch Seavies continues to guard a five hour lead.  NIc Petit is on the runners 25 miles behind, but MItch is far ahead on rest and practically speaking—–is the cookie man that can’t be caught.

Our two insiders on snowmachines, Ian and Jeff came into KOyuk at 7:15am and reported that Nic Petit was moving along nicely but that “MItch put the after burners on” and dog team is really moving.  Fans that follow the Insider tracker won’t be surprised because they have been watching him hit 11mph.

Ian told me they waited at the Shaktoolik checkpoint so they could  get footage on the trail.   “I went to sleep for four hours and woke up in a panic.  Someone was supposed to wake us up.  It turned out he rested five hours.”    That big rest bumped up team speed and has tightened Mitch’s position  to the front.

Mitch and team rumbled into Koyuk at a lope prompting one of our cameramen to say, “I thought it was another snowmachine coming into Koyuk.”

In the Koyuk dog yard I was able to talk to Mitch as he popped open six pints of alcohol for his hot water cooker.  We had already watched him bed the dogs down on beds of straw

A channel 11 camera with a flood light was blinding Mitch so he asked that they film after he completed his chores.  With the light out of his eyes he told me that the run was “wonderful’ with dogs surging at every opportunity.  “This team loves to travel fast.   They’re getting so crazy out there it’s almost like discipline has broken down.”  In some parts of the trail, snow machine tracks diverge and come together in intertwining ribbons—-“The leaders were so excited about getting to the next trail lathe they would have arguments about the best trail”—meaning they  pulled in opposite ways to get on the best ribbon.

On approach to Koyuk, the trail crosses a virtual mine field of upended ice—-a feature our snowmachiners noted.   Mitch said he nearly the lost team as the sled careened over concrete hard buttresses of ice.   “Any little curve is an excuse to go faster,” a behaviour that just about got him.

Before I headed back into the checkpoint to post a report Mitch asked, “Do you think I have five hours?”   My opinion only—-I think he has five hours and growing.    Mitch stated that he would rest for a while and continue direction Elim.   “I dont want to screw it up.  I could have broken my arm or lost the team in the ice jumble.   I hate to complain, but somebody could lose it.”

Final Thought

Nic Petit is 25 miles behind but also needs to rest.  Mitch SEavey firmly in control of the race.