by Kevin Wells
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
MCGRATH, Alaska -- Iditarod 37 looks different, from the snowy weather to some of the names atop the leader board.
Like Aaron Burmeister, whose best career finish is 13th. But he is hanging among the elites as a large pack of teams waited for the right moment to pounce on the opposition.
This is Burmeister's 12th Iditarod, but for the first time the Nenana musher was the recipient of a checkpoint award for being the first into McGrath.
"(The trail) was soft and wet, and I had a 70-pound dog in the sled, so it was a slow run," he said.
Burmeister was more focused on the trip ahead. Turns out, so were his pursuers.
"We'll see how it goes on the other end, but so far so good," two-time defending champion Lance Mackey said. "I have no complaints."