Veteran musher Charley Bejna is having a day
Every Iditarod race is different. Charley Bejna is a veteran musher. He’s finished the Iditarod three times, so he's well aware of this.
But as he headed to Rohn, his race was in jeopardy.
Simply put, he was having a day.
"Coming into Rohn, probably halfway, I'm trying to slow the team down," Bejna said during an interview in Takotna. "'Cause it's all tight turns, and I'm thinking to myself, 'jeez, this brake isn't going down all the way,' and I look and it was cracked."
Cracked? No brakes on the Iditarod?
"So I was just using this as a brake and it was kind of flabbing," he said.
He thought about scratching at Rohn.
"You can't go without brakes," Bejna said.
He made a replacement brake system on the fly. Problem solved, right? Not really.
"Leaving Finger Lake, my stanchion broke," he said. "Very difficult. I have muscles I never knew I had before. It was hard because I was bouncing off trees a lot."
And in this case, the brakes and the steering got the same last-minute fix.
"So, I had hose clamps on there and some wire. So now it works and it has character. I met a tree and that was it," said Bejna.
Of course, all of this could have been avoided. He had an extra sled sent to McGrath, which is well after Rohn but chose not to take it.
"I like this one better for driving," he said of his broken sled.
But don't bet against Charlie Bejna.
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