Success in the Iditarod often turns not just on having a fast team, but, also, on knowing when to rest that team – and that’s just what mushers Josh Cadzow and Sonny Lindner were doing when they caught up with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen in Nikolai on Tuesday. For both competitors, their rest was part of the strategy.
The 25-year-old Cadzow is a newcomer to the Iditarod; he had to withdraw from last year’s race because of poor health among his dog team, and when he crosses under the Burled Arch next week, it’ll be his first time finishing the Last Great Race.
So far, so good, Cadzow says about his 2013 run. It’s been a “steady” race so far, and he’s “keeping on a schedule,” despite a run through some of the earlier checkpoints in which “everything was pretty bad,” with a lack of snow in places, especially outside Rohn, and “sugary” snow elsewhere.
In Nikolai, it was time to rest his dogs; the break was well-timed for the Fort Yukon musher, since it was during the heat of the day:
Like Josh Cadzow, Sonny Lindner was taking advantage of afternoon heat to rest his dogs and prepare for the trail ahead when Laureli Kinneen talked with him.
The 63-year-old Lindner (from Two Rivers, Alaska) held a good position coming into Nikolai, and with Laureli, he was hopeful to keep it. While he didn’t specify where he planned to take his upcoming, 24-hour layover, he ruled out the Takotna checkpoint (a favorite among mushers for the mandatory 24-hour break).
Questioned about his goal for the rest of Iditarod 41, Lindner’s concise answer was a bit playful: get to Nome next Tuesday. That’s the day when the Iditarod champion tends to arrive.
As of 7pm Tuesday evening, Sonny Lindner is in 11th position; he left Nikolai at 3:19pm with 14 dogs. Josh Cadzow is in 27th position; he left the checkpoint with 15 dogs at 6:39pm.