Blogging on the I’rod website, Sebastian Schnuelle and Joe Runyon were both speculating about Martin Buser’s plan as he has literally streaked up the trail, running virtually non-stop from the start, blowing through Finger Lake and Rainy Pass. Buser finally planted his snow hooks at Rohn, approximately 170 miles from the starting line and set up his dog camp at 9:53 this morning. At this point it appears the only one in the world who may really know what Martin is scheming is his co-conspirator, Matt Failor. Running Buser’s “B” team, Failor is apparently mirroring his boss’ schedule as closely as he can. Failor arrived in Rohn at 2:11 p.m. According to interviews shown on the I'rod website, Buser is indeed planning to take his mandatory 24 hour (plus start differential) layover at this checkpoint.
Meanwhile, Aliy Zirkle stopped at the Rainy Pass checkpoint at 9:19 to let her team rest through the warmest part of the day. By 12:30 this afternoon there were 9 mushers parked at that checkpoint, with more on the way from Finger Lake. When I checked the leader board at 3:00 pm I was surprised to see that several mushers left that checkpoint during the hottest part of the day, including Paul Gebhardt, Lance and Jason Mackey, Aaron Burmeister, Jessie Royer and Gerry Willomitzer. Nearly all of these folks are very experienced racers, so I was a bit taken back by their movement.
At 7:00 pm, I saw that Lance and Jason Mackey, Jessie Royer and Aaron Burmeister were all in the Rohn checkpoint.
Aliy left Rainy Pass en route to Rohn at 3:08 pm, giving her plenty of time to make her way down the Dalzell Gorge and well away from the mountains before sunset. According to GPS tracking she is less than a mile from the checkpoint at 7:16 pm, so she is making excellent time. She was followed out of the checkpoint by DeeDee Jonrowe, Jeff King, Michelle Phillips, Justin Savidis and Sonny Lindner. Allen pulled in to Rainy Pass about 12:22, and left at about 6:50 in the evening, giving him just enough daylight to get through the roughest part of the trail.
While the mushers on the trail are heading into the night, I'm soon to be heading for the rack. Morning comes early when I'm at work, and those 12 hour shifts can be long. Tonight I had some additional duties to attend to, so it was a 13 hour day.