Iditarod 2013: Martin Buser rests, Gebhardt and Zirkle race past

Martin Buser's dogs were excited to start on Saturday. -

Martin Buser opted to take his mandatory 24-hour layover at the Rohn checkpoint, giving his dogs some rest after a record-breaking first day in the 2013 Iditarod. Tuesday's leg is a long stretch until the Nikolai checkpoint.

After Monday's unprecedented run by Martin Buser on the first full day of the 2013 Iditarod -- he took his team nearly non-stop from the restart in Willow to the Rohn checkpoint, a distance of 188 miles -- the four-time champion opted to take his 24-hour layover. Buser arrived in Rohn at 9:53 a.m. local time, roughly four and a half hours before the next team, driven by Matt Failor. All mushers are required to take one 24-hour stop along the trail, and with Buser laying over in Rohn, it's allowed numerous teams to catch-up, with 30 teams already on their way to Nikolai.

"The strategy is to get away from everyone else and try something new that's not been tried before," he said. "It might work. Then again, it might not."

The plan, he said, is to go fast and furious, stop for a day, then go fast again.

"The goal is to get off the 24 with as much speed as we started the race," he told Iditarod Insider. "When we take our 24 later, we never seem to be able to do that. So I'm gonna try that. I think it might work."

It's still very early in the race, but it appears Buser may have a sort of super team -- he took six dogs from his son's team when he withdrew from the Iditarod last month.

Paul Gebhardt was the first out of the Rohn, spending just 11 minutes at the checkpoint before pulling out at 7:26 p.m. local time. He was quickly followed by Ally Zirkle, last year's runner up, and Jeff King, a four-time Iditarod winner. While they're running past Buser, they all still have to take the mandatory 24-hour layover, which all are expected to do somewhere along the Yukon River.

Tuesday brings with it the 75-miles between Rohn and Nikolai, a run that will likely take teams 10-15 hours to complete.


Downtown Nikolai, via

The temperatures thus far have been downright balmy -- one musher even claims to have seen mosquitoes -- and while it will get colder as teams continue, the weather should cooperate, with highs still in the low 20s.

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