Since we have waaaaay oodles more fans than ever, I'm sure there are some new peoples that have some questions about mushing in general, and about the Iditarod, so we asked on the Facebooks (and if you aren't a fan, you should get over there jiffy quick and like our page and stuff (and things) right now) to ask us some questions.
Here's the first round of questions
From Joli J: What are you most looking forward to? and is Todd going
Todd is indeed in the main string! A very hardworking and key dog, actually!
I'm most looking forward to just being out on the trail again. I love the Iditarod Trail itself - especially when it is filled with amazing, friendly volunteers!
From Shirley Y: When are you going to Alaska?
Musher: Leaving NorthWapiti around the 16th of January and it is a 3-day drive to Alaska.
From Monica F: What are you looking forward to the most? And what are you dreading the most?
Musher: See above - as for 'dreading', don't know that I'm 'dreading' any aspect of it.
From Mary H: Can Rocky still go to the Iditarod and ride in the basket?
Musher: No, Rocky will be staying at home.
From Todd and Sandra G: Do the kids seem to know that race day is getting closer? Mine definitely know when special events are coming.
Musher: Right now they all just have their heads down and are working hard.
From Kristin B: People keep asking me why all the dogs are always chained and not allowed to mingle when at the kennel. Can you give me the correct answer?
Bet: Hey Kristin B, here's why mushers chain their dogs instead of letting them mingle when at the kennel:
Fences don't do a lot of good if there's a lot of snow...
Even without snow, there's this:
|By the way, that's a 6 foot fence...|
Much like people, dogs have different personalities and don't always get along in a group. When dogs are in big groups, sometimes certain dogs get picked on, and inevitably, someone gets a wedgie
Feeding time would be a bit problematic
Also, hooking them up for a run would be a bit challenging...
From Janice T: Do you think Mother Nature will give the race good weather? Or -50 with strong winds. Hoping for the first not the second.
Musher Well, normally when I'm racing, the weather has some events in store!!! Good is a matter of perspective, I imagine, with almost all mushers wishing for something that favours their particular team. Our weather at home as been CRAZY this winter - going from -35 to 0C in a heartbeat. We've seen snow, ice, rain....you name it. Hopefully that will have the team ready for whatever Mother Nature has up her sleeve.
From Yvonne C: How do you keep your face from peeling in the cold?
Musher: A good fur ruff and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Protectant cream!
From Patricia P: How do you choose your dogs for the race? Don't have to answer, my question is pretty dumb! But maybe you do have a magic formula?
Musher: Not dumb at all. The decisions are strictly performance rated - which is NOT easy. Sometimes my head and heart get into some brutal wrestling matches over cuts/selections.
Most of the time, my head wins.
From Denise M: How many training miles will you put on the team while in Alaska before the start of the Iditarod? Does the trip to Alaska hinder the training schedule for the dogs and do they take very long to recover their stamina?
Musher: As many as we can. Not really. They will only be laid off for 4 or 5 days - and I try to put some solid runs on them before we leave. No, the lay off doesn't affect stamina at all. If I do 'it' right, they will come out of the truck and back onto the trail stronger!
From Helen J: Where are you staying in Alaska, and when are you heading up there?
Musher: NorthWapiti North this winter will be back with my dear, dear friends Jamie West and Harry Banks in Willow. Very much looking forward to that!