Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buser Makes a Big, Bold Move in the Iditarod.

Looking at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race leader board (aka Current Standings) it appears as though all but one of the top 10 mushers in the race have chosen to declare their mandatory 24 hour layover at Takotna. The exception is Martin Buser, who has apparently come from behind, blew past the leaders and is now resting at the checkpoint in the Ghost Town of Ophir. about 25 miles up the trail.

I think this is a brilliant move on Buser's part, and helps confirm his reputation as a 'thinking man's musher'. All by himself up front of the pack, Martin's dogs can rest comfortably without the distractions of other dog teams and throngs of people that are likely hovering around their favorite mushers and teams back in the village. If needed he can have the undivided attention of race veterinarians at the Ophir checkpoint, and he'll be in a great position to observe his major competitors as they come through in the morning.

Perhaps equally important, he'll be leaving Ophir in the early evening, putting a team of well fed, fresh and healthy dogs onto the trail to run during the cool of the night, which always seems to increase the performance of racing sled dogs.

Basically, Martin Buser has jumped from 23rd place out of McGrath into 1st place, and while he won't be able to hold first place for long, it is a move that is almost certain to improve his standing considerably.

Meanwhile Aaron Burmeister, Hugh Neff, Sebastian Schnuelle, Lance Mackey, Jeff King, Mitch Seavey and Paul Gephart are all poised to resume their race within a couple of hours of each other, starting at about 2:45 this morning. From the looks of the leaderboard, any of the top 13 mushers in the standings could concievably be the first across the finish line in Nome.

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