Life's rules are different on the Iditarod trail. Defending champion Lance Mackey said this month that the race is an escape from everyday bothers -- bills, squabbles, phone calls. For many mid-pack mushers like Ed Stielstra, whose best finish in five Iditarods is 29th, the race is both professional duty and 12-day getaway.Kyle Hopkins
Behind a team of dogs he calls "elderly," Sebastian Schnuelle of Whitehorse pulled out of the abandoned town of Iditarod just before sunset Thursday to face an uncertain trail and an uncertain future. Mike Campbell
Four-time Iditarod champ Martin Buser still appears in control but other teams are trying to knock his fast-moving team off its schedule. Canadian Sebastian Schnuelle has grabbed the race lead, at least on paper.
The oldest musher in the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race thought he was well prepared to take a dog team 900 miles. And then 65-year-old Kiwi Bob Storey met the real Alaska wilderness. Some of the best might make running the Iditarod look easy, but it's not.Craig Medred