As Martin Buser pulls into Rohn checkpoint 30 miles ahead of second-place musher, Matt Failor, he’s leaving analysts scratching their heads about his unprecedented strategy. Pushing so far so fast with little rest hasn’t paid off for mushers in the past, and no one has done it all the way to Rohn. But Buser is a seasoned professional, a four-time Iditarod champion, and he hinted before the race that he would do something to shake things up. He’s certainly making this year’s race interesting. Time will tell if his strategy pays off. He’s almost certain to take a rest at Rohn, but the question is, will it be his mandatory 24-hour layover, or will he take a shorter rest and press on?
One bit of concern: witnesses at earlier checkpoints say Buser’s dogs haven’t been eating well. Unless he’s been feeding them on the trail, that could become a problem later.
Buser’s last Iditarod win was in 2002, and he hasn’t cracked the top ten since 2008.
Jake Berkowitz was more measured in his response: “Watch it work and we’re all going to have to do it every year from now on.”