Martin Buser is moving into the lead this afternoon, the first to hit the trail heading from Iditarod to Shageluk. For the moment, he’s in the lead of this great race. The question everyone has on their mind is if he can maintain that lead. Buser acknowledges the risk he’s taken this year: “Anytime you make an unprecedented move of course, you don’t know what’s going to happen, and we’re there. Nobody has ever done that particular strategy in the modern era of Iditarod.”
Years ago, many mushers did take their long 24-hour layover in the Rohn checkpoint as Martin did this year. But he tells Laureli Kinneen that it would take those mushers 2 days longer to get to Rohn in the first place, due to the trend for much slower dogs and slower run times. So this is the first year in the history of this race that someone has run the first 150 miles in the amount of time that Buser just did.
But winning the Iditarod requires more than a new strategy. Weather is a big contender. Trail conditions play a huge part. Factoring in high winds, 40-degree temperatures, a “sugary” trail, and other fierce competitors with strong, healthy dog-teams, Martin Buser has his work cut out for him. And with 29 Iditarod races under his belt, he is aware of this: “That’s the gamble of course, now we gotta see who has the staying power. The middle game is happening, and we’re slowly but surely setting up for the end game.”
There is still a long race ahead.
Martin Buser left the Iditarod checkpoint at 2:00pm, currently in first position for the 2013 Iditarod race.