Mushers who have been competing in the Iditarod a long time have relationships and traditions they re-visit each time they run the race. For Martin Buser, when he gets to Unalakleet, that means a bag of muktuk.
Competitive jockeying is happening up and down the Iditarod leaderboard as mushers begin to traverse the Norton Sound coast.
Smoke, a sled dog from the team of Iditarod musher Scott Smith, died Friday while being transported by the Iditarod Trail Committee. In Kaltag, Smith reflected on the incident.
Poor trail conditions on a lengthy stretch of the Iditarod route may be giving a boost to mushers at the top of the pack.
The “human powered ultramarathon,” in which participants bicycle and walk the traditional Iditarod route, has ended prematurely. All of its competitors have scratched, some of them facing severe frostbite injuries.
The flat, consistent, “treadmill”-like trail conditions of Iditarod’s alternate route in 2017 may have contributed to the relatively low number of dropped dogs — so far.
At this point in the Iditarod, rest becomes a strategic calculation: both for the energy involved and the potential plans it discloses to other competitors.
Because of sick dogs, Iditarod veteran Aliy Zirkle has had to upend her race plans and declare a 24-hour rest in Galena, rather than in her intended checkpoint of Huslia.
In 2016, Martin Buser had his worst-placing Iditarod in his career, and was troubled by injuries both to his son and himself. But in 2017, things are looking up.
A worthy advantage or a “lame rule”? Iditarod mushers aren’t all of the same mind regarding the decision allowing two-way communication devices, like cellphones, on the trail.