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Old 03-04-2014, 12:24 PM
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The 2014 version of Iditarod kicked off last Saturday, March 1. So far, it has thrown up quite a number of challenges.

The trial is VERY icy, and the dogs, and sleds, really want to run. Apparently keeping them under control, and slowed down, has been a real chore, Many of the mushers talk about riding the brakes ALL of the way.

Such conditions can take their toll on the dogs, but apparently there have been just a handful of dogs taken out of harness for physical conditions. The pounding on the ice is hurtful to the shoulders of the dog, so some have been removed for that soreness. Apparently one dog stepped in a frozen moose track and wrenched its shoulder., Rather than run the dog further, it was put in the sled and dropped at the next check point.

Coming down the steps to the river, and then later on, getting across the farewell burn, apparently has been VERY challenging. No snow! the trail is completely bare of snow. Rocks, frozen ground, frozen tussocks...but NO snow. None.

Martin Buser ran all the way to Nikolai... Virtually without rest...small stops to feed, and rest the dogs...and constant watering as there is no snow for the dogs to eat along the way. But no real rest until Nikolai....which gives Buser a substantial lead. (He also sprained his ankle on the frozen ground trying to right the sled as it bounced along). He tried the same thing last year, but got caught in the end with HORRENDOUS weather (which the later teams did not have to deal with) and he gave up the incredible lead. This year? We'll see.

Two teams are out...one younger...and DeeDee Jonrowe...for reasons which I don't know yet, but she is NOT a rookie, and there must be serious issues for her to pull out. Broken sled? Danger to the team? Broken musher? We'll find out as the news dribbles out.

All in all it is challenging event this year. VERY difficult trail conditions. And a VERY competitive smaller field with all sorts of strategies, sled combinations, and training approaches to the best way to get safely and soundly to Nome.
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:48 PM
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Update...multiple teams beaten, bruised and battered by the Steps down to the river, and the Dalzel Gorge. Traveling 30 miles with no snow just was too much after everything else for several groups and they have called it a day.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:21 AM
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Martin Buser moving again....rested for 24 hours, and now on his way. He leads by about two hours after everything settles out...although right now he is 'technically' around 30th position. Those in front of him have not taken their mandatory 24 hour rest.
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