Mushers Continue To Gather At Iditarod Halfway Point

Mar 12, 2020

Richie Diehl mushing into Nikolai.
Credit Zachariah Hughes

There are seven sled dog teams at the Cripple checkpoint, which is the halfway point of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. None have completed their mandatory 24-layover yet. 

There are 18 teams on the way from Ophir to Cripple, all of whom have completed their 24-hour rest. Some are camped out on the trail and resting, including Pete Kaiser from Bethel. Richie Diehl from Aniak is still on the move, though. His dogs have been running fast and well.

“I mean they are definitely showing me a lot,” said Diehl. “These inexperienced ones that I took to the Kusko[kwim 300 Sled Dog Race], you know, they definitely showed me they could race.”

Kaiser's team is a couple of hours behind Diehl's. Kaiser says that his dogs have been distracted this year. Some are in heat, and the dogs have not been eating or running as they should. 

“I’ve done the best I can to manage it to this point,” said Kaiser. “Let’s just wait and see if they kind of get their heads screwed back on straight here at some point and all get on the same page.”

Kaiser was glad to see his team finally eat better during its 24-hour rest in Takotna.

Jessica Klejka is on her way to Takotna, having finished her 24-hour rest period in McGrath.