Iditarod Preparation - Two Weeks Out

Iditarod 2008 starts in downtown Anchorage on March 1, two weeks from today. The crew at SP Kennel is well into final race preparations.

‘Drop bags’ for both Aliy's and Allen's teams were delivered to Iditarod race officials on Monday. These bags, each filled with 50 to 60 pounds of extra supplies, are shipped to checkpoints prior to the race. Two bags per team are shipped to most checkpoints. Three bags per team go to major resupply stops along the trail. The heaviest items in the bags are special-formula dog kibble and dog snacks of salmon, lamb, turkey, fat balls etc. The remaining items include human food, dog booties, dog blankets and wind breakers, extra clothes and footwear for the musher, chemical hand and foot warmers, supplemental medical supplies, personal care products, extra sled runners and more! Each SP Kennel team will have 1500 to 1600 pounds of supplies along the trail when the race begins.

Aliy is ready to pack 'fat balls', a favorite dog snack, into drop bags.

Last week, mandatory blood tests and EKG’s were run on all of this year’s potential Iditarod racing dogs. In the coming week, all dogs must be wormed as specified by Iditarod’s Chief Veterinarian. Then, Jean Battig DVM, an SP Kennel major sponsor, will complete a pre-race vet check of each racing dog.

Jean Battig DVM performs a pre-race exam on Hoss.

The dogs are muscled, enthusiastic and healthy! But what about our mushers? Allen is steadily recovering from his Yukon Quest flu and bronchitis. Aliy is trying to stay healthy and well rested.

A bit of good news: Temperatures in Interior Alaska have moderated. The near future holds no more 50 degrees F below zero temperatures. Temps should range between 20 degrees F above zero and 20 degrees F below zero for the next week. That’s much better for final training runs, race prep and just staying healthy.