2011 Iditarod, Day 5 - Martin Buser in the lead
2011 Iditarod News, March 10, 2011, Noon - The Alaska Dispatch reports that Martin Buser is the clear leader of the 2011 Iditarod race here in Alaska.
Mr. Buser, from a town named Big Lake -- which is just north of Wasilla and south of Willow -- is a four-time Iditarod race champion, and already holds the record for the fastest Iditarod race time in 2002 (eight days, 22 hours, 46 minutes, 2 seconds; a little more than an hour faster than 2010 Iditarod winner Lance Mackey).
I still have a hard time understanding the Iditarod leaderboard, as some people have taken their mandatory 24-hour breaks and others haven't, so here are a few quotes from the Alaska Dispatch to help explain the situation:
Martin Buser from Big Lake is the clearcut leader of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The four-time champ led the race into the old mining town of Takotna in the Interior on Wednesday, and there took the race's one required 24-hour rest. Several teams sped through while he was doing that. The fastest of them, driven by veteran Trent Herbst, went more than 100 miles on to win the Iditarod's halfway silver in the old ghost town of the same name.
Buser caught Herbst there just before 11:30 a.m. today. Herbst is now on his 24-hour break and will not be able to leave until hours after Buser's team has rested and is gone.
2011 Iditarod race and the Northern Lights
As I mentioned in an earlier story today, the Northern Lights were dancing in the Alaska sky last night, from Fairbanks in the north to Juneau in the south. That led to this wonderful encounter on the Iditarod trail which the Alaska Dispatch described:
With the northern lights dancing in the sky, he sped on until he met a skijorer -- a skier being pulled by dogs -- camped along the trail. There Buser stopped to feed and rest his own team. The skijorer was camping in a warm tent, Buser said, and it was fun to visit with her and be around some new dogs while his napped.
March 10, 2011 - 1pm Update
So much for being "clearly in the lead". The aprn.org just tweeted this information:
"Hugh Neff closing the gap on Buser. Arrives in Iditarod 45 minutes behind him. Lance Mackey arrived an hour behind Buser."
(See the full Alaska Dispatch article for the information reported earlier.)