Finger Lake, 4;45 Am
A Flurry of activity with three mushers in and out. Lance Mackey in about 4 19 Am ,Matt Failor (driving an adult second team from the Buser kennel) and Jason Mackey 4 37 am.
Lance was all business and went directly through the checkpoint, stopping just long enough to grab straw. Matt stopped and mirrored Martin by checking boots, marching to the water hole, and offering water. He left after no more than ten minutes and did not take straw. Jason grabbed straw and some Heet, a alcohol based fuel, commenting that he would see Lance a few miles up the trail.
What to think
Lance is classical Lance. Jason told me they rested about three hours on the trail by Skwentna.
Matt, who is a relatively green musher to the sport, may have the quote of the day. Insider Greg Heister (see the whole video at the Insider), attempting to get the interview rolling, said, “What are you doing up here Matt?”
Matt, who has impressed everyone with his alert, fast moving, style in the checkpoint, quickly responded, “Between the three people here, we have 8 Iditarod championships” a statement intended to validate his unusual strategy. Of course, we know that Buser has four, Lance has four, and Matt has zero.
WE are all still wondering about Martin’s strategy, but whatever it is, Matt seems to be duplicating it and intends to follow Martin to Rainy Pass.
Another mob of mushers is approaching Finger Lake with Allen Moore, 2013 Yukon Quest Champion (and husband of Aliy Zirkle) leading the charge. Aliy, we have been told, is driving the best team, including eleven of the dogs from allen’s winning Quest team.
This group is running a more conventional race, to include rest on the trail. Besides Martin, Lance, Jason, and Matt, the rest of the field is acting predictably.
The Wild Card is Martin Buser and the spotlight is on him. Some of our camera guys on snowmachines just pulled into Finger Lake. I could hear Bruce Lee talking to them outside the tent, “Take a little break, but you guys have to get rolling. We have mushers almost to Rainy Pass.” These guys have been filming and moving since 2PM and must be exhausted. But, the travelling instructions were to stay ahead of the lead pack, but I don’t think they expected martin to pull the plug.
They will head to the Happy Valley Steps, take a few shots of teams descending into the valley, and then go in direction Rainy Pass. If they are not careful they could get caught behind teams, and in the narrow trail, may never get back to the front until Rainy Pass.