Lance Mackey and Sonny Lindner hit the trail to Shageluk in the 10′o clock hour last night, fresh from a 24-hour layover in the Iditarod checkpoint. Lance abandoned his original plan to push to Anvik for his 24, taking into account the long, hard run getting to Iditarod from Ophir. The trail was “demanding,” and temperatures are warm. He said his dogs were looking good, but he didn’t want to “take the wind out of their sails.”
Lance believes setting out on the trail after Martin Buser and the few other mushers ahead of him may, in fact, give him an advantage. Taking a 24-hour layover later in the trail gives him a fresh team from this point, and he thinks it wasn’t a bad decision at all to stop where he did. “In fact, I think it’s going to benefit this team.” But, he aims to stay within striking distance of the race leaders: “I have this gut feeling we’ll be seeing Mr. Buser by Kaltag at the latest.”
Temperatures are high for the race this year, into the 40’s during the day. In Iditarod, Martin Buser said his team is from a warmer area of the state than some of the others, and thought they could be more used to warm weather. But Two Rivers musher Sonny Lindner sees the effect of the warmer weather on his team and says they aren’t looking as fresh as he’d hoped after a 24-hour layover: “it automatically doesn’t look fresh, just because it’s so warm. But hopefully inside them, they’re feeling pretty good.”
After racing 40+ years, Sonny has seen a little bit of everything that the Iditarod trail has to offer. He is running this race according to the ability of his dogs, following his schedule, dealing with the heat and having fun along the way.