The morning of the Jr. Iditarod Race start went by in a blur. My dad woke me up and left me with just enough time to throw on my race clothes and eat some oat meal (oat meal is the only thing relatively close to healthy that I’ll eat the morning of a race start, because I’m always kind of nervous). We got to the race start with two hours until my scheduled starting time, and I had fun going around and talking to some of the other mushers and getting everything ready for the race. Before I knew it my dogs were directed into the starting chute and I needed five or six people to help hold my team back until the countdown was finished. The dogs started going crazy when the countdown began, they know what that means. 3, 2, 1, GO! The dogs shot out of the starting chute and we were off blazing down the trail.
The trail to Yentna was beautiful, and I traveled with other mushers almost the entire way. My dogs were running strong in 6th place until we got to the Yentna River. My dogs got mixed up in snow over their heads and it took me close to a half hour to get the dogs back on the right trail and untangled. In that time two teams had passed me and I ended up behind two positions.
We got into Yentna just before it started getting dark and I bedded my dogs down and started heating the water for their food. Originally I planned to get out my sleeping bag and try to get some sleep, but as i finished taking care of my dogs I realized I probably wasn’t going to get any sleep. Conway and Bailey (two other mushers in the Jr. Iditarod) had built a fire and I decided I may as well go and hang out with them by the fire. We had a good time and I didn’t start to get tired until it was almost time for me to go.
I started out of Yentna at around 4 in the morning and I had to run in three hours of darkness. I fell asleep a few times during that early morning and I was very relieved when the sun came up. It snowed all day and everybody was running slow because we were all pushing a lot of snow and breaking a lot of trail. At one point I came up on a trail volunteer that had lost the trail. It was windy and the snow made it hard to see anything. I put my best lead dog in single lead and let her choose which way she thought the trail went. After a halfhour we started seeing trail markers again and I knew we were on the right trail.
By the time we reached the finish line I had been running for almost 14 hours straight! By far the longest run of my life! We got the the finish line and I ran inside to catch the awards banquet. I ended up placing 8th with a total time of about 1 day and 16 hours. It was a great race and I’m already planning for next year! I have to give a special thanks to my team; Deluxe, Hawk, Schnitz, Kymani, Mason, Warrior, Bonanza, Bo, Sprite, and Dingo.
I’d also like to thank my sponsors, my family, everyone involved in the 2012 Jr. Iditarod, and all the support I’ve gotten from my friends and the community!!! I couldn’t do this without all of you!
Photos from the finish coming soon!! :)