The dogs know the routine by now. They happily got out of their boxes to eat their breakfast with the crowds watching. Then, they received all of the petting, hugs and kisses possible from their adoring fans. They were the stars of the day, with people lining up to take photos with their "favorite SP Kennel dog". They waited patiently for the harnessing, and bootie process to be completed. As they were clipped to the main line, they suddenly transformed into
barking bundles of energy, ready to run. With everyone ready, holding the lines, we made our way slowly down 4th street to the Start line. Both Aliy and Ryne's teams behaved perfectly. It was a great trip down the chute, and very exciting to see all the people who come out to see the
start of the race.
The Idita-riders in both Aliy and Ryne's sleds were enthusiastic about their 12 mile
run. Ryne's rider was a young man from Wisconsin who recently graduated from college. His grandmother had bought the sled seat as a gift for him. It seems she grew up mushing, and wanted each of her grandchildren to have the experience. Several of us were able to watch Ryne andWes as they ran down the trail. We made it just in time to watch them as they went past our sponsors' Horizon Lines hot dog stand. This is an annual tradition for the Horizon Lines staff to hand out free hot dogs and water to hungry mushers, handlers, Iditariders, and fans who come to see them. Ryne and Wes decided to pull over and have a chat with us as we fed them hot dogs, fresh from the grill. It's a greatway to enjoy the race, and get lunch too! Both runs went without a hitch.
This evening, Aliy and Ryne enjoyed one of their last hot meals before the race with their families. Then, headed off to have a good solid sleep before the race really begins tomorrow. The dog teams are finalized, and the dogs are happily resting in their boxes. We leave early for Willow tomorrow, so we can get there in plenty of time to start the routine all over again. It's been a wonderful experience so far, and will be just as fun tomorrow. --WB