You have to be tough #iditarod

Lance Mackey, four time Iditarod champion, four time winner of The Quest (Yukon Quest – if you don’t know then google it) is back and wants to make it a fifth time. Only other person to win the Iditarod five times is Rick Swenson. One of the toughest and humblest (?) men I have met. Last year Rick completed the race having raced more than half the race with a fractured collar bone. To attempt to imagine the gravity of the situation, this entailed feeding and looking after himself and sixteen dogs with one not only non-functional but painful arm. Each dog, besides feed and bedding requirements, needed to have a bootie placed on each foot prior to leaving each checkpoint. Do the Maths…

20120304-192900.jpg Rick taking a break last year at Eagle island, fractured collar bone an’ all.

Back to Lance. Incredible to watch him work with his dog team. They epitomise a professional sports team.

This is what the Alaska Dispatch has to say:

An interesting fact: more people have summited Everest than have completed the Iditarod. I know which I would prefer to be able to do.

Dan Seavey. Finished third in 1973. Do the Maths (again). One of the original tough guys. Headed out of Anchorage yesterday, at 73 years old, is racing along with his son, Mitch, and grandson, Dallas. Tyrel, Dallas’s brother, and his wife, Tekla, worked on the trail at two of the same check points as me last year. Eagle Island (Yukon River) and Shaktoolik (up the coast). They all have a genetic bond to the sled dogs, combined with a great sense of humour.

20120304-193231.jpg Finger Lake, the first real stopover. First team will probably arrive at 02:00 Monday morning (AKST). For those at the checkpoint it will be about an hour or two shy of 24hrs of checking teams constantly. Hopefully Stu (Chief Veterinarian) has put five vets there. They will be working with three or four handlers and being supported by two Comms guys. The latter will ensure that the teams in and out times, number of dogs and flights are all co-ordinated with Anchorage and Rainy Pass. Total number of teams to be checked: 66. Each has sixteen dogs. Over 1000 dogs in less than 24hours.

Expect the next update to be when the leaders are traversing the infamous Steps.

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