Mitch Seavey: 'First place. That’s the only goal there is.'

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KOYUKUK, Alaska (KTUU) Iditarod leader Mitch Seavey likes the pace of this year's race. After all, he says, he's setting it.

"Nobody forces me," Seavey said today before leaving Koyukuk at the front of the pack.

“I hope somebody looks over at me at mile 600 or 700 in a race and says, 'Oh, I think I’ll do what he’s doing.' The only thing you can do is what you've conditioned your dogs to do."

To the 57-year-old musher, good omens abound. He bought a new pair of boots in Huslia to adapt to the changing trail weather, he said, icicles hanging from his mustache in the 10-above "warmth."

“Every year I’ve won, I’ve bought a local pair of shoes," Seavey said.

As for his 2017 goal? Take a guess.

"First place," Seavey said. "That’s the only goal there is. Otherwise we've not succeeded. We can always change your story later. But there’s no point in coming in here the way we do, and talking about happy, healthy and all this stuff. That should be a given."

"But the goal is to win the Iditarod. We put a lot of work into that and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t win. Any sort of determination other than that, almost sort of guarantees failure, doesn’t it?"

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