Things are happening pretty quick around here. I can't believe how the days are just flying by! Less then 1 week to go until the start of Iditarod - AMAZING! I think I am actually ready!
The dogs were in last Wednesday for their EKG's, bloodwork, and microchipping. Every single dog that participates in the Race gets this workup to make sure that they are in tip-top condition! The vet techs that do the collecting of information were just great - helpful, friendly, and full of ear and belly rubs for the dogs! Amazing patience, especially when you consider they will deal with 81 mushers and over 1600 dogs before they are done! Diane Johnson, the Iditarod's Teacher on the Trail for this year hung around to watch the process and did a really nice post to her Notebook on the team. You can read it by going to the Teacher or Student's section of the Iditarod homepage and clicking on 'Diane's Notebook'. Thanks for the nice words Diane!
Thursday was vet check day. Dr. Baetsle of the Big Lake/Susitna Vet Clinic carefully examined each of our 20 dogs for attitude, body weight, coat condition, joint soreness, foot problems, hydration, and overall health. All 20 easily passed his exams, as is necessary for them to be able to run Iditarod. That afternoon we also gave them a final pre Race deworming that Iditarod insists on.
We have had a few trips into Anchorage this week too! On Tuesday we drove our friend and handler, Bob into the airport for his trip home to Prince George. We are certainly going to miss his help around here. Friday found us back in town again dropping my second sled off for it's trip to McGrath, where it will be waiting if I run into sled problems on the trail. Guess I should get used to all the driving, as next week we will probably be into the city at least 4 more times - one final organizational trip, in for the Musher's Banquet on Thursday, back to visit with family that's in town for the Race on Friday, and the Start on Saturday!!! Luckily, I'm good at sleeping in the truck!
I almost forget to mention that Mark and I each ran a 10 dog team in the Goose Bay 120 last weekend, finishing 11th and 12th (out of 18). This was Mark's first time out on a long race. I heard him muttering something about 'Never again', but I'm pretty sure that he really did have a good time. The Race follows the first part of the Iditarod Trail, stops in Yentna, and then you turn around and run home. As a real treat, part of the trail was on the Historic Iditarod Trail. This is the real, original freight/mail route and it is just starting to be signed and cleared again. In fact, the Goose Bay Race was the first to run over this part of the trail and I must say - it was LOVELY!!! It's great to see this treasure of a trail being reclaimed and used!
Something happened out on the trail that weekend that could ONLY HAPPEN IN ALASKA. As we dropped onto Flathorn Lake, 30 miles or so into the Race, we had a head on pass with a guy on a MOUNTAIN BIKE! He was followed by more mountain bikes and throughout the day and night, cross country skiers and hikers! This was the Iditasport. Racers do 100 + miles, mostly on the Iditarod trail by bike, ski or foot. I thought it was kinda neat to be passing all these folks that were, basically, crazier then I am! But it did take the dogs a bit to get used to and it was DARN hard to find a private moment to pee!!!! :)
The dogs had a good race. At the turnaround point we had a mandatory 8 hour layover. About 5 hours into that the dogs were rested and ready to roll. Every time they could find an excuse they would start singing and letting me know that they wanted to GO!!! At the finish line, they were bouncing around and acting very fresh! That certainly builds my confidence that they are ready for Iditarod.
Well, I think that is about all the news for now. I'm going to teach Mark how to post to the page later today so he will be able to post once I'm out on the trail and keep everyone updated on what is happening. I must say that I'm delighted (and amazed) to be getting emails from so many people that are following my diary.
Thank you to all of you for your interest!