Last year, Martin Buser turned heads with a somewhat-unorthodox mushing schedule, very early in the race.
Leading the 2013 Iditarod pack through Yentna, Skwentna, Finger Lake, and Rainy Pass (the first four checkpoints after the official start in Willow, Alaska), the four-time champion bedded down in the Rohn checkpoint – and stayed there for a while.
Iditarod rules stipulate that every musher must take a 24-hour layover somewhere on the trail, but Buser took his far earlier than most. When he left the Rohn checkpoint mid-day on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after the official race start, his 24-hour layover was already behind him. Very unusual.
Ultimately, the gambit didn’t pay off – at least, in terms of winning him the championship; the Big Lake, Alaska musher finished the 2013 race in 17th place.
This year, Buser recently told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen, he doesn’t anticipate repeating his 24-hour layover in Rohn. Trail conditions are figuring into his plans; it may not be wise, he says, to take “16 fresh dogs” out of Rohn with so much of a potentially icy, dangerous trail still to traverse to get to Nome.
But, he says, he has “an even more impressive move” up his sleeve – not to mention, a sled made mostly of plastic, which is perhaps all the better for a potentially rough trail.
With Laureli, Buser also talked about overcoming a dislocated finger just a few days before hitting the trail, as well as his worry of living up to his dogs’ expectations and potential.
Hear Martin Buser in Anchorage: