So I am by NO means an expert on the Iditarod. I think I am learning teeny tiny bits at a time, but I am obsessively watching the internet for updates.
It looks like most people stopped in Takotna for a rest because everyone is arriving and so far no-one is posted as leaving. All of a sudden from WAY in the back Martin Buser flies in and out of Takotna and is already into Ophir.
Ophir is checkpoint number 12 out of 26 and is a ghost town, (I got this info about Ophir from www.iditarod.com). Ophir took its name in 1908 from a nearby placer creek, one of a dozen streams in Alaska to be named by Bible-reading prospectors, for the lost country of Ophir, the source of King Solomon’s gold. Many items and artifacts still remain untouched. The checkpoint is at Dick and Audra Forsgren’s cabin.
The two other mushers that I "know" Lance Mackey (winner from the past two years) and Jeff King are in 5th and 6th place respectively, being bumped from 4th and 5th when Martin Buser flew through.
This is the part of the race I REALLY love because this is when the strategies start to come in. These mushers are tired. They have been hard at it now for almost 5 days and nights. They have mandatory rest periods they HAVE to take (two eight hour and one 24 hour) but some of them wont make it to the end with just those mandatory rests. So they start to think about how far they will go, when they will stop, how long they will stop for etc.
Last year (in my opinion) the race win was sealed by Lance Mackey during one of these rest periods when he "snuck" out past fellow resting musher Jeff King who was hot on his trail the whole way.
Certainly statistics don't tell the whole story, but I am checking the iditarod website as often as I think of it (that's pretty often) and i am getting excited about the story the stats are telling.