Getting into the finishing chute in Nome is always a surreal experience. The emotions are big and confusing; your body is exhausted but your mind in overdrive; you are used to being mostly alone and now multiple people are wanting your time and attention.
In his normal dependable and reliable manner, Richard was there waiting. Everything was organized and under control, which was a huge comfort.
Our time in Nome was quick, which was a bit of a relief to me. I was still struggling with accepting congratulations for a race I wasn't particularly proud of. At every opportunity I sought to switch attention to what I was proud of - my dogs. Tess had really come into her own on this race. She ran lead - double or single - for so much of it. Huge responsibility!! Young Smartie and Turtle did fantastic. Astro, who I seem to not often give the credit he deserves, forever silenced the doubts. The amazing Jinx - still one of the best storm leaders I know; young Boo; my 'trail Casanova' Wifi; handsome, quiet and dependable Wolvie; silly Bang Bang; and Crunch. What can I say about Crunch? Still gives me a knot in my throat to think about how incredible that boy is.
And of course...I'm just as proud of the six dogs - Charge, Tramp, Roscoe, Q, See and Rocky that gave it their all, but for one reason or another didn't finish this time.
In addition to my dogs, there are always others that need to be thanked for an event like this. Truly, no dog team ever gets to Nome on their own - especially mine. I'm so blessed to have so many wonderful, kind and capable folks around me.
Richard and Penny were HUGE in allowing everyone to follow me. A few months back I was clearing up my iPhone and got a huge kick out of reading the texts that went back and forth during the Race between the two of them. "Thanks guys" for all you do for those that follow Facebook and the blog - and especially for all you do for me.
And to all my wonderful Musher Minions; my family; my long suffering husband, Mark; Richard's patient wife, Kim; Donna Quante; all our Sponsors; our supporters; and readers....you all make it possible, for which I am very grateful.
Now the question comes about the future.
I think if one more person asked me about my future plans this spring/summer I was going to scream. While it is a fair question that I owe folks an answer to, I needed to just let things 'simmer' for awhile so I could sort them out.
Honestly, I had gone into this Iditarod thinking it would be my last and planning on announcing that in Nome - and right up to ..... oh..... about Shaktoolik.....I was okay with that decision. However, over the past 8 months or so I know that I can't 'hang my hat' on this particular race.
Sadly, that doesn't mean that Iditarod '13 is in the cards. Unfortunately, personal finances (like a $12,000 new roof for the house and garage that was about 3 years overdue) dictate stepping back from Iditarod for this year. I will, however, be back in 2014 - and yes, it will be my final Iditarod (yeah, yeah...I know....Mark doesn't believe me either.... but I believe me).
But, no Iditarod doesn't mean no racing. The dogs (and I) need to race, so we are excited to announce that we intend to go back to the 200-mile Eagle Cap Extreme in Joseph, Oregon and the 300-mile Canadian Challenge in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan this winter.
I am also looking at potentially, depending on schedules and finances, doing a few other races this season.
No fear, we will be Facebooking and blogging as always...and may even have a few surprises in store.
I hope you will 'join' us - one way or another!!!!!