As Iditarod mushers continue trickling into Nome, onlookers got a treat as Brent Sass roared at about 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
Running beside his energetic, alert team, Sass sounded surprised to learn he’d placed 20th.
“Just super proud of those dogs,” Sass said. “I mean, grateful, proud—they poured their hearts out for a thousand miles.”
For most of the race Sass was positioned to finish between first and third place. But after an aggressive push up the coast, his dogs had had enough.
“I am proud of myself for not just dragging them out of that checkpoint in White Mountain,” he said. “As soon as I turned around after we went 30 yards, and I looked back at 10 of my best friends and they’re all saying ‘I don’t think we want to go anywhere Dad, I think we want to just hang out here.’ That’s a pretty powerful force.”
“And there was no way I was gonna make my dogs do that. I could have easily drug them out of there down the trail and got them moving again. But it just wasn’t worth it.”
Sass says that turning his team back at White Mountain after getting ready to depart was the most embarrassing moment of his life, but it was eased slightly by the company of a few fellow mushers.
“I walked into the musher’s quarters and Wade and Pete are sitting there and they’re like congratulating me for running a great race, and nothing better than peers there to pump you up at the lowest time you could,” he said.
Sass says his competitive edge sprinting alongside the Seaveys got the best of his ability to read his team and that he plans to refine his competitive strategy in the race Iditarod for years to come.