Martin Buser led the Iditarod into Nikolai early this morning at 1:09am with a swollen, blue, ankle, declaring his 24-hour layover. Not remembering the specific instance he was banged up, Buser comments the trail is as bad as he’s ever seen it.
The run specifically from Rohn to Nikolai has “a lot of dirt, a lot of brown, a lot of tussocks, a lot of rocks wearing the runners totally down, lots of bad ground.” Buser chats about the rough trail, commenting that his dogs are handling it well, looking good, as he maintains his full team of 16.
Planning to recover and rest up over the course of the day, Buser will be set to leave Nikolai and hit the trail again early Wednesday morning, after taking into account the time differential for when he started in Willow. Considering the warm weather, leaving in the cool, early morning hours may be exactly what he was planning for.
As more mushers declare their 24-hour rests and complete them on down the trail in McGrath and Takotna, the standings will begin to shake out a little more clearly, and we’ll see just how much of a lead, if any, Martin was able to secure by pulling, yet again, another unorthodox move.