The Willow Restart
The weather was perfect for spectators, 30 degrees F and sunny! The restart was mobbed with many thousands of well wishers, at least a thousand race volunteers, hundreds of vehicles (dog trucks, snow mobiles, single engine planes, helicopters, ultra lights…). Add to that the 95 Iditarod racers, their teams of handlers and over 1500 dogs. It was organized bedlam.
The SP Kennel handlers gracefully led our teams to the starting chute. Both Aliy and Allen started at their assigned times, amid cheering crowds , blaring loudspeakers and clicking cameras. Their dogs were so eager to run and they were immensely relieved to be on the trail, after 4 days of pre-race hoopla.
Of course, we had the best team of handlers at the start. Bridgett was in charge of dog logistics and she excelled at telling us all what to do (that is a compliment!). Ray and Doug drove the dog trucks, safely transporting the dogs and equipment from Two Rivers to Anchorage, then around Anchorage and to the Willow restart. Thanks for the professional attitude and performance of the entire gang…Judy, Janet, Marla, Leslie and Dave (a special thanks for the muscle).
Just before the restart, Aliy’s sled was equipped with a GPS tracking device. She and 19 other mushers are testing new technology that could be used to track every racer next year. To follow her progress in real time, go to Iditarod.com and link to the Ionearth website.
Episode 3 of the audio podcast is now available. Click on the link to the right. Aliy discusses the trail from the start to Rainy Pass.