Living Alaska — The Last Great Race
I remember as a teenager hearing about the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. I was fascinated with the race for some reason. I lived in California where it never snowed, or should I say snowed once a century. I loved to ski in the mountains, but my experience with snow and ice were limited to trips to the Sierra’s during the winter. It must have been my fascination with extreme sports that piqued my interest in the Last Great Race.
The Last Great Race
They call it the Last Great Race because it is the longest race in the world. Over an average of 6 to 10 days up to ninety mushers will test their mettle on a 1,000-mile journey across the wilds of Alaska. Starting in Anchorage on March 5th, 2022 and ending in Nome when the racers cross the finish line. They travel alone for the most part of the race along a well-marked course.
The well-marked course is subjective to the racers though as the markers can be blown off course by high winds or rendered invisible by stormy conditions. Trying to navigate during a white out can be an impossible task. Trying to navigate a dog sled over 1,000 miles of wilderness is tough enough.
High Endurance Sports
I ran cross country and mountain biked in California my whole life. I did both competitively and loved high endurance sports. The Iditarod fascinated me because it is the ultimate High Endurance Sport. Ultra-marathoners and triathletes are other forms of high endurance sports, but they do not cover a thousand miles over several days.
Traveling to Anchorage
I am traveling to Anchorage this year to watch the start of the Iditarod. It has been a life-long desire to watch the race in person. I rode my bicycle from San Francisco, California to Alaska last summer. It took me 28 days to travel 1,700 miles. The dog sleds make the 1,000-mile trip in about a weeks’ time. Faster than I rode my bike by far. They are traveling for up to 20 hours a day at some times. They have three mandatory rest periods. The rest periods are for the dogs though and not the mushers.
Long Live the Iditarod
My only fear is that I will enjoy the ambience too much and want to participate in the following years. Endurance athletes never say die, until we do. Such is life. Vive the Iditarod. From Ketchikan, Alaska with love.