12 March 2014

Battered and Bruised Mushers Stagger Into Nome

From the Anchorage Daily News:
The brutality of this year's Iditarod showed in Martin Buser's every movement and every word Tuesday.

A race-toughened veteran of 31 Iditarods, Buser looked ready to collapse, cry or do both upon reaching Nome in sixth place.
2014 Iditarod Nome
Martin Buser's wife Kathy Chapoton was waiting under the Burled Arch on Front Street for the Big Lake, AK musher to finish in place 6th in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in Nome, AK. BOB HALLINEN — Anchorage Daily News

He knelt beside his dogs, put his gloved hands on his face, took a deep breath, then stood to give his wife, Kathy Chapoton, a long hug.

Buser, 55, reached the finish line at 3:58 p.m. in sixth place, a welcomed end to the longest day of one of the Iditarod's longest careers.

It took him 35 hours -- twice as long as usual -- to travel the final 125 miles from Elim to Nome. And that doesn't include his eight-hour layover in White Mountain. A report from Iditarod.com said howling winds forced Buser to duck for cover in a cabin near Golovin, where gusts reached 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

... "All my bodily functions are gone," he said. "I can't balance, I can't steer the sled, I can't do anything.

"I can't do justice to the dogs, and that's what's so bad. I'm extremely disappointed in me for not being able to do better by them. I was the weak backbone (of the team), but they came through for me."

The trail has shown no mercy to either champions or rookies. It's been a thousand-mile race filled with thousand-mile stares.

Ninteen of the 69 teams had scratched by Tuesday evening, a list that includes some of the greatest names in the sport -- Jeff King and DeeDee Jonrowe among them.


PioneerPreppy said...

Heh he should be happy. 99% of us would still be huddled in that cabin crying.

Rev. Paul said...

I was thinking the same thing, Preppy. He's a tough guy, too.

Cathy said...

Awwww . . . bless his stalwart heart.
(Pioneer Preppy is funny. And I'd add that down here in the lower 48 - 99% of us wouldn't survive standing at the finish line :)

Rev. Paul said...

I hear you, Cathy. But the temp at the finish line was actually above zero, this year. You'd have been okay, for awhile. :)

FrankC said...

Cathy: or even the Start line.

Rev. Paul said...

FrankC, LOL!