Iditarod Dogs Reach Checkpoint Without Musher

Linwood Fiedler fell asleep, toppled off sled
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2017 12:14 AM CST
Iditarod Dogs Reach Checkpoint Without Musher
This Thursday image taken from video provided by KTUU shows veteran musher Linwood Fiedler in Ruby, Alaska.   (KTUU-TV)

Add sleep to the already long list of hazards in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. A video posted on the official race website shows a dog team that arrived at a checkpoint without a musher. "Now you've seen it all, huh?" a man in the video says. As the video scanned the faces of the mellow-mannered dogs, a man could be heard saying, "Where's Linwood?" That would be Linwood Fiedler, a race veteran. He arrived at the checkpoint about an hour behind his dogs after falling asleep and toppling off his sled, according to information accompanying the video, the AP reports. Fiedler checked in at 4:09am Thursday and was back on the trail at 11:37am, race standings show.

He told Anchorage television station KTUU that he'd been fighting to stay awake. "I was doing a pretty good job, and then I lost," he said, laughing. "I'll tell you one thing. From the minute my body left the sled until my face smashed into the snow, I was still asleep," he said. Fiedler told the station he has fallen off his sled only a few times during his career. The last time it happened he was awake, so he simply said, "Whoa," and his dogs stopped. "I was really hoping for a repeat of that last night," he said. "You feel a little alone and naked walking down the Yukon River all by yourself in the middle of the night, looking at wolf tracks ... every once in a while, you go, 'Hmm.'" (Read more Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race stories.)

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