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.
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.
12 March 2014
Battered and Bruised Mushers Stagger Into Nome
From the Anchorage Daily News: