Skip to comments.From lounging on the FL coast to running the Iditarod in 16d, 16h, 48 m: where'd I leave my boots?
Posted on 02/17/2014 5:10:51 AM PST by ElenaM
From lounging on the FL coast to running the Iditarod trail in 16 days, 16 hours, 48 minutes: where'd I leave my boots? Danny Seavey
For those of you who don't know, I'm not racing dogs this winter. My wife, daughters, and I left Alaska last fall and have been touring the East Coast, starting in Maine and moving south as the weather gets colder. I woke up in Pensacola, Florida this morning, am currently wearing flip flops, have as much of a tan as I ever have and a pocket full of Allikz's seashells. I think I've adapted quite well as a snowbird. We were planning on returning to Alaska this week for the Iditarod, but I can report from the warmth of the living room once there.
Life was Sunny and 75, literally and figuratively.
Then as I was sitting on the couch watching the Olympics with my kids Saturday night, my Siri said I had a text. One-liner from my dad. "Matt's foot's hurt. If it's broken are you ready?"
I don't need an explanation.
Matt is Matt Giblin, one of my co-workers in the summer, and he's running the puppy team this winter for my dad. He's been training 24 dogs all winter for his 5th Iditarod. The puppy team is a pretty integral part of the overall program, it provides dog mushing's equivalent of the draft for next season. Those dogs are two-year-old superstars that are one good race away from being on the A-team next winter. But they need to race.
Iditarod sign-ups ended months ago, but there is an exception for injured mushers. They can substitute an already-qualified musher with a doctor's note. That's how Nick Petit got in in 2011.
So the puppy team driver is down, they may need a substitute, and the list of qualified drivers who know our dogs and aren't already racing is decidedly short. Like Tyrell (my brother) and I short. Tyrell is already volunteering at Cripple checkpoint.
I feel a draft in the room.
Hopefully Matt will be fine. But Matt's no wimp, if he says his foot's hurt, it probably needs to be amputated. I sarcastically respond "I would freeze, I was cold at 60 in Tampa today," kill the screen on the iPhone, respond "oh, nothing," when my kids ask "what's up?" and return to the Olympics.
My flight home was cancelled due to the storms in Atlanta. They called yesterday to tell me my vacation just got extended till the weekend. My wife was elated, but they no sooner hung up than I get another one liner. "Matt's withdrawing, please call."
Life just got a lot colder.
That was last night. Since then, I've talked it over with my wife, Matt, and all three brothers, cancelled the original flight, paid double for 4 last minute tickets headed north, rented the last car in Pensacola, waited through an accident/man hunt on I-10, made food drop decisions via cell phone while driving 20 mph over the speed limit the rest of the way to the airport, pulled into the car rental an hour before the flight departed, and scrambled through security only to find this flight delayed too.
So I'm currently sitting in the New Orleans airport, blissfully ignorant kids and incredibly understanding wife by my side, waiting for the airplane to take me home. When I get there, I'm going to meet 16 dogs I haven't driven since I harness-broke them 18 months ago, hook up and drive a winter sled for the first time in over a year, and try to get ready for the Iditarod in 16 days, 16 hours, 48 minutes, 47 seconds according to iditarod.com. Snow bird or not, I'm an Iditarod musher at heart. If there's a team, I'm going to drive it to Nome.
I've run/finished the Iditarod twice. First in 2001, then in 2006. But I haven't run a dog race since 2011. That seems like ancient history. I'm trying to remember where my gear is; I don't think I have a real pair of boots, don't know where my sleeping bag is, and have never had a GPS. They say it's like riding a bike. I'm about to find out. Wish me luck. I'll try to keep posting.
I'm going to freeze my %&*# off.
Your body has certainly lost at least 50% of its "edge" and your first shiver will, uncontrollably flash your memory with that warm sand between your bare feet and your mind will say the words; "I LOVE this shit" , but .... DO you ?
I retired from driving big truck 3 years ago and I went out with a friend a couple of months back. He asked if I would like to take the wheel for a while. Of course I said yes, and he went back into the playpen for some sleep.
Let me just say I was very happy when he woke up.
I scared myself a couple of times with my diminished depth perception in the mirror and a couple of other glitches, not serious or dangerous, but ones I'd never made when driving.
Good luck, guy ... and happy sledding.
That is so cool
And he is taking his whole fam damily which is super cool
Uhhh.... They weren’t a pair of size 12 Sorels, were they?