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It’s Nearly Time

One of the holdovers from my time in Alaska is an appreciation of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. I covered it last year and will have another go when it starts this coming Saturday, March 1st.

Coverage on the ‘Net is provided by the official site, the Anchorage Daily News site, and Iditablog. I’ve added an Iditarod header, which will come up randomly.

This year also marks the Centennial of the All Alaska Sweepstakes which is a $100,000 winner take all race from Nome to Candle and back, the first of the sled dog races. In Alaskan fashion the entry fee is $2000 + an ounce of gold.

Last year’s winner, Lance Mackey is back, having just won the Yukon Quest race for the fourth time, but he may ease up looking to prepare for the Sweepstakes, and not repeat the Yukon Quest/Iditarod double win of last year.

Also back is Rachael Scdoris, the legally blind musher from Bend, Oregon.

Two who won’t be back are Tim Osmar, who severely broke an ankle fighting a fire this past summer, and Doug Swingley, who decided to retire after multiple broken bones in last year’s race.

The trail has had to be moved again because of climate change, but conditions are described as good with snow on the course of this year’s race.

5 comments

1 Cookie Jill { 02.26.08 at 9:58 pm }

I posted something up at skippy’s about the race.

http://xnerg.blogspot.com/2008/02/mushers-mushing-in-mush.html

What I thought was the real kicker of the story….

the competitive start is march 2, a day after the ceremonial start in anchorage, on trucked-in snow.

2 Bryan { 02.26.08 at 10:57 pm }

Even the traditional starting point had to be changed. There were even crappy conditions for the Yukon Quest, which is run further North and inland.

I had Arctic Survival in March, and it was -40° in the Tanana Valley. Forty years later you can’t get snow in Anchorage?

3 hipparchia { 02.27.08 at 1:21 am }

cool! i’ve been a fan of the iditarod for years.

4 andante { 02.27.08 at 9:35 am }

I know the Iditarod folks take hits from the opposition every year, but I am always impressed by the ‘put the dogs first’ attitude that seems to prevail, unlike many so-called ‘sports’ that put horrendous burdens on the animal. It’s a true partnership between man & beast.

Let the race begin, and may all finish safely!

5 Bryan { 02.27.08 at 4:31 pm }

Almost all of the mushers make their living as breeders, so having a sick or injured dog is very bad for their livelihood, as well as a threat to their life on that trail. Given the cost of gas, dogs are becoming more important than ever for moving around in the winter. The snowmobile may not start, but the dogs are always ready to go.

It is called a “sled dog” race, because the dogs are the real athletes and stars.