For several weeks now Iditarod mushers have been
stockpiling fish, cutting meat and assembling suppllies for their
drop bags to be sent along the trail. When you hear a musher say,
"We're in the middle of food drops," they are usually
pretty stressed, especially if it is their first time. Food drop
is a major expense of the race. There are seventeen checkpoints
to which food and supplies can be shipped.
A few weeks ago, the mushers were distributed large poly bags
marked with each checkpoint name. These bags were labeled by the
mushers with their own name and some distinguishing mark so they
can be easily spotted in the "pile." Each musher has their
own special secret recipes for doggie treats, supplements and personal
items that are included
in their bags. Other items shipped would have included plastic sled
runners, repair kits, extra dog booties, medications for the dogs,
leg wraps, dog coats, change of layers for the musher, dry socks
and gloves, Capri Suns and human meals that have been vacumn sealed.
Every musher has a system of packing so that they can easily find
what they need out of each bag when they need to quickly prepare
their dogs a hot meal and be able to do this while cold, tired and
sore. Once the drop items are organized and packed, they are taken
to a large warehouse in Anchorage, lumped into stacks according
to checkpoint by dozens of volunteers and then flown out by the
Iditarod Airforce to their destinations. From some reports, ravens
seem to know when this happens and follwo the shipments to try and
break into the bags to steal the dog food. A large collective sigh
of relief can be felt and heard as food drop is over.
Junior mushers are finalizing their strategies and getting in
some last minute training miles. The Junior race begins on Saturday
morning February 28, 2004 at Settlers Bay Golf Course. Many names
entered in the race are familiar, such as Seavey, Buser (times 2),
King, and Ellie Claus. What is interesting about Ellie is that she
will turn 18 right after this race which qualifies her to run the
Iditarod as one of the youngest ever to compete.
Check this page often
for daily updates.
2004 Jr. Iditarod Coverage will
begin here on February 27th.
2004 Iditarod Pre-race Coverage
will begin here on March 3rd.
Full 2004 Iditarod Sled
Dog Race Coverage
begins here with the
race start on March 6th