Buser not bitter over middling Iditarod finish
Iditarod legend Martin Buser has finished the 2018 race in 28th place. It was an outcome the four-time champion was disappointed with, but like many mushers in this year's race, he was happy to cross the finish line.
"Well, that's -- you know, shattered Iditarod dreams, that's just the way it goes," Buser said. "Everyone that finishes (in) the front half of the pack has done a lot of hard work, trained really hard and prepared diligently and is expecting to do much better. Other than one guy, everybody wishes they had done better. So, that's why it's called racing... that's just the way it goes."
Bewilderment could be the word used to describe Buser's mood under the Burled Arch just after midnight Friday morning. After sharing a long embrace with his wife Kathy, he shared thoughts with the media on his team's performance.
"Well I was trying to wind them up and step on it for 700 miles and then...nothing happened," Buser said. "That's the weird thing. It took me 7 1/2 hours to go from Unalakleet to Shaktoolik. It was just totally bizarre. I don't know. They just never came out of it. Typically takes an hour to get warmed up at that point in the race and then they shift gears and go faster, but they never did. So the people I was traveling around gained an hour and a half on traveling time alone between Shaktoolik and Koyuk. I know it was two hours between Shaktoolik and Koyuk, I mean Unalakleet and Shaktoolik. Just totally bizarre. They never turned it on, they were never able to put their heads down and get going."
While confused as to why the dogs under-performed, Buser was pleased with how they finished the race.
"Well there was a good mix," Buser said. "Three old timers, Regit, Iver and Roll, they had been here many times. I relied on Iver and Regit quite a bit on this run. Then there are a whole bunch of young dogs in here as well. A bunch of rookies, one or two that did really well. You know, they didn't break any speed records, but they made it here."
When asked if he has another Iditarod in him, the Swiss native simply said yes. He'll continue to run, but with different intentions.
"We're now going to go into the have-fun mode," Buser said. "This was going to be one more real good try of being ultra-competitive. Took a lot of my fall and wintertime to hopefully have an ultra-competitive team and that didn't happen. That's OK. I mean...now I'm going to do some other experiments, and that will be really fun."
For Buser it's always been about enjoying the sport. And while his competitive days are behind him, he will go down in history as being Iditarod's "Iron Man" for 33 straight finishes and counting -- a record that will be nearly impossible to break.
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