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Team Baker Iditarod Reports

Updates on Team Baker during the 2014-2016 Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Myron Angstman.

Willow to Rohn by Myron Angstman

Katherine Keith

Lots of talk today about Martin Buser’s 19 hour run from Willow to Rohn, by the far the fastest it has ever been done.   What’s he up to?? Well from a long distance it looks like he may have gambled on weather and trail conditions.   The first team to travel on a recently set trail,  with a bunch of snow and warm conditions, can often have a much better traveling surface than the subsequent teams.  This is because the  thin surface that sets up, after the trail breakers go through, turns to mush after a few teams churn it up.  When it is cold and a trail is set for a while,  it holds up well to a bunch of teams. My guess is Martin discovered this was the kind of trail in front of him, and off he went. He was first out of the chute, he has a fast team, and tons of experience with which to pull off such a run.

Whether it will work or not remains to be seen.  If  he had noticeably better trail than the teams behind him  for 160 miles, he gained an advantage of course.  But did he use up so much energy that the team will not be able to compete at a high level the rest of the way?  We will watch that and other issues closely. It is worth noting that Matt Failor pulled off the same run in just two hours more time.  Using the above theory,  the second team to travel such a trail has the next best trail, and so on down the list.  Failor is a former handler at Buser’s kennel, and is running the Buser second team.  That’s some  kind of “B” team.  

What does that mean for the teams that are further back including John Baker?  If the trail is soft and the temps are warm,  I doubt John is happy where he is at as this is written, leaving Finger Lake in 45th place, at mid day, running in the warmest part of the day, up hill.   And the worst part of that is the number of strong teams that are a long way ahead.   Playing catch up is John’s forte, but if the catch-up is too long, the task becomes daunting.

Myron Angstman, lawyer, pilot, and dog musher, lives in Bethel, Alaska. Read more about dogs, law suits and rural Alaska gossip by checking