Buser Takes Iditarod XLII Reins Out of Rohn
A day after the 42nd annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race’s departure from Willow its first mushers have departed Rohn, with the race’s lead still up for grabs.
As of 9 p.m. Monday, Iditarod XLII race standings show Martin Buser in first place, overtaking previous leader Kelly Maixner in Rohn; Buser blew through in three minutes, arriving at 12:42 p.m. and leaving at 12:45 p.m., while Maixner and eight other mushers are still there.
Only four others have left Rohn in an attempt to meet Buser’s relentless pace. Aliy Zirkle, 2012 and 2013’s runner-up, spent 10 minutes at the checkpoint and was back on the trail at 5:22 p.m., with Sonny Lindner staying 26 minutes and out at 6:10 p.m. Hugh Neff and Jeff King took it a little more slowly, with Neff clocking three hours of rest time and King two before they left at 7:23 p.m. and 7:54 p.m. respectively.
A lack of snow on the trail is slowing many mushers down, with Pete Kaiser -- currently in 17th place out of Rainy Pass -- saying the welfare of his dogs is his top priority.
“I think just trying to keep the whole team healthy and -- keep going slow on this type of trail,” Kaiser told Channel 2. “I think the slower the better -- for now, I think just trying to get to Nikolai and Takotna with a healthy team.”
The Last Great Race’s first scratch of 2014 came in Skwentna, with Cindy Gallea leaving the field at the Skwentna checkpoint shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday. She had 16 dogs in her team at the time.
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