Well my friends, by now you have heard the exciting news that the 2015 Iditarod will be starting in Fairbanks. Just in case you haven’t seen the offical press release with information about the new route and checkpoints you can read it here. “2015 ReStart: Fairbanks Press Release and Information About Checkpoints“. And in spite of the fact that it adds some driving to our hectic pre-race routine, and that I will be filing away my most recent game plan for the southern route for use in future years, I am still very excited. Plus I completely support the decision made by the Iditarod Trail Committee, the ITC Board, and Musher Representatives to alter this years race route in favor of a better trail.
Photos like this one from the Iron Dog (a snowmachine race that shares the trail with the Iditarod) go a long way to illustrating why this years trail re-route was a good choice.
Of course the new trail means that Iditarod mushers are all needing to rethink their game plans, and make adjustments to their drop bags and adapt. And I would be lying if I said that didn’t add to my recent workload, but let me say again, I am OK with that. I have been working all day today to come up with a race plan that suits my team, and make a new packing list based on that plan. Also to be perfectly honest I am looking forward to seeing new trail and visiting new villages. Since this is a new trail, in a sense everyone will be a rookie, seeing it for the first time. And as far as I am concerned that will make for an exciting race.
Along with drop bags, and race plans, I have also been working hard to make final decisions about which race dogs will be joining me on Iditarod. This is no easy task, and an important decision. In an effort to figure out who I will be racing with Dan and I recently took some time away from home, loaded up all the race dogs, and headed out to Willow for some long training runs and camp on new trails. With much help and hospitality from our friends at Odaroloc Kennels, TC and Dave, we were able to get every race dog out and evaluate them. TC and I ran teams, which freed Dan and Dave up to haul the straw and gear we used for camp and scout new trail by snowmachine. Along with being the perfect opportunity to do some serious training it was also a Ton of Fun!!! Got a great look at all the race dogs, and am closer to making the final decision. Of course I will wait till right before the race for my final choice, but now I have a better idea. I strongly suggest you go read TC’s Blog post “300 Miles in 3 Days” for her wonderful insights and perspective on the marathon training trip that became known as the “Puffy Pants 300 Invitational”. Which by the way, we hope to make an annual event, location to be determined by where we can find decent weather and miles of trail.
TC got the good photos, but I was able to make a little promotional video of the “Puffy Pants” using the images and videos Dan took with his iPhone:
While we were out training good things were happening, Holleyman Cattle Company sponsored the Unalakleet checkpoint, Mush Thanks!!! That is one checkpoint closer to reaching our goals for this years race.
On a related note, our Checkpoint Sponsor program is still looking for more interested companies, individuals, or groups to help us make it all the way to Nome. To reflect the race change we have edited it to add the new race checkpoints, but are keeping the framework of the traditional southern route shown as well.