This year’s Iditarod is shaping up to be a year for risks. Martin Buser surprised everyone early on, racing hard out of the gate 150 miles straight to Rohn. Possibly inspired by Buser’s bold move, a handful of mushers, led by Lance Mackey, are pushing beyond Takotna, a favored checkpoint for the mandatory 24-hour layover, to Iditarod and maybe beyond for their long rest. Lance Mackey told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen he’s shooting for Anvik for his 24-hour layover. Mackey is the only musher since 2007, according to ADN’s Kyle Hopkins, who has been able to win this race by pushing beyond Takotna for this long layover. He chose to stop in Iditarod in 2007.
But Nome’s Aaron Burmeister is sticking to his plan and staying in Takotna for his “24.” He’s running a safe race at this point, keeping his dogs slow and steady, and has been continually amazed to be the first to arrive into checkpoints: Nikolai, McGrath, and now Takotna. Burmeister told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen that taking a 24 in Takotna “…is not taking any risks or gambles at this point.”
Burmeister is sticking to his schedule, because he has a plan: a plan to win. He’s prepared to kick it into gear when he needs to. He knows competition will pick up on the Yukon River and once the trail hits the coast. “When it gets to a point where I need to turn up the heat a little and apply some speed, I’ll put some different leaders up front, and cut the team numbers down; because I’ve got something I usually haven’t had in the past. I’ve got a really fast core team here.”
Hear more from Burmeister:
Aaron Burmeister arrived into Takotna Tuesday night at 8:48pm, and anticipates getting back on the trail around 10:00pm tonight, after completing his 24-hour layover and taking into account the differential for the staggered start time out of Willow.