ANCHORAGE, Alaska. — Back in seventh place Wednesday after overcoming sled breakages, North Dakota native Kelly Maixner will re-evaluate his team after passing through the McGrath and Ophir checkpoints — and may soon be opting to take his mandatory 24-hour rest in the 2016 Iditarod.
Maixner told a television crew his dogs were doing “awesome,” but that something on his sled seemed to break during every run.
“Instead of getting to sleep, I have to fix stuff,” he said.
Mushers are required to rest their teams for one 24-hour and one eight-hour period during the 975-mile race that began Saturday.
Maixner, a pediatric dentist who grew up near Beach, has been plagued with equipment problems this week. He was listed in seventh place Wednesday morning, according to the official Iditarod website. Tuesday, he was in 26th place.
Maixner has passed the Ophir checkpoint, 352 miles from the start in Anchorage and is running with 15 dogs, down one dog from the start. His blind dog, Laura, named after Maixner’s grandmother, is continuing to run in her fourth Iditarod race. The dog is able to run in any position except lead, according to Maixner.
Posting on his Facebook page, Maixner’s wife, Margaret, said, “It’s a long, lonely run so I’m expecting him to stop and camp along the way and pull in to the checkpoint (Cripple) tonight (Wednesday). Maybe he’ll ‘24’ there …; maybe he’ll ’24’ in White Mountain. Nobody knows.”
Cripple is about 75 miles from Ophir.
Margaret Maixner said her husband nearly totally wrecked his sled, which set him back behind schedule. He had a backup sled and trailer in McGrath to use or pillage for parts.