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Team Baker Iditarod Reports

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

Team Baker is proving to be solid and strong

Ashley Kelly

As suggested this morning, the list of contenders is starting to materialize as teams  approach Takotna.   The top ten teams on the current list have all earned contender status, and a handful more also deserve watching.   John Baker is certainly a factor with a strong  move up  today, currently  listed as 12th.  A handful of teams back in the pack also could contend including Martin Buser who will  likely regain the lead after doing his 24 hour rest in Nikolai.  Kelly  Maixner also bears watching based on his fast dash to Rohn before taking his rest.   Mike Williams Jr.  is not far off Buser’s  pace, but he is down to 10 dogs.

Katherine Keith is solidly  in the running for rookie of the year, currently in the top 20 and not that far  behind Baker.  Her move out of Nikolai after the obviously grueling run into that village shows her durability.

Sonny Linder was the first team out of Nikolai and also first into McGrath, where he  is doing his 24 hour rest.  Lindner is currently the oldest musher in the race at  64, and many consider him to be a serious contender for the top spot.  He has a previous second place finish, and has gradually improved his finishes in the past few years. His  day in the lead caused me to remember two  Lindner  stories that are worthy of sharing.  

One story involved  the Coldfoot Classic  dog race in 1986 when he and I shared a snowbank  for a few hours during a break.  As most  racers will admit, there are times that are less fun than others, and this one of those moments.   Lindner asked me that day to promise him that if he was still racing dogs after the age of 50 that I would  find him in some checkpoint and shoot him.  Of course I promised and I remind him of that every year around  March 1st.

The other story involves a visit to a bar in Nome after  the All-Alaska Sweepstakes in 1983.  Lindner  had helped  winner Rick Swenson  in the race and I finished back a ways.  We planned to have a couple beers to rehash the race. The young attractive waitress came by and  asked if we were dog racers.  Somebody  said yes, and while looking at Lindner she gushed  “Oh I recognize you, you’re the cute one.”    Guess who got stuck with the tab.

There won’t be a lot of movement tomorrow with a bunch of teams taking their mandatory rest, many at Takotna where the hospitality is unmatched.  Tomorrow’s report  will detail  how hospitality at Takotna has changed from earlier years.