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Monday, January 18, 2010

Number 17

This is the last batch of pictures that I want to post about the K300. It is over. I went to the mushers banquet and awards ceremony tonight. It was long, but fun. The mushers always have funny stories to tell about things that went down out on the trail. The picture above shows the start of the k300 from a distance. All the vehicles parked out on the ice always amazes me.
Here is the start of a couple of the teams. The teams start in pairs every two minutes and their times are adjusted accordingly later down the trail when they take their layovers. They are required to stop and rest twice through the race. A mandatory 6 hour layover on the way there and a mandatory 4 hour layover on the way home. Aside from that, they can stop whenever they like to rest either in a village or just out on the trail.
Here is what the trail looked like as I was waiting to check in the last Bogus Creek 150 musher on Saturday. You can see that there is hardly any snow at all on the river and the ice is showing through in big patches. The mushers told stories of how this was one of the worst year's for trail conditions that they've ever seen. There just is NO SNOW out there. Many of them told stories about sand blowing in their faces.
Here is the finish line from the opposite angle. With the setting sun in the background, it was very pretty. And since I was just about the only person out there at that time, it was very quiet and serene.
The dogs that came through the finish line all looked really good. For the most part, the mushers said that they had relatively few problems with their dogs. It was mostly the wind and ice that caused the problems.
You can see how the frost from their breath accumulates on their snouts. Most sled dogs are fairly small, not like the big, bulky, furry huskies that you see on TV. The kids and the people in the crowd enjoyed greeting the dogs back in the finish line.
Here are the dogs all loaded in the truck for the ride home after their long race. They get bedded down with straw for warmth.
Here is me working my shift at the K300 headquarters. The K300 definitely kept me busy this year. I went down friday night for the start of the race and the fireworks. Then I checked in a Bogus Creek 150 musher at the finish line. Checking in a racer at the finish line means you have to get their time. The clock stops as soon as the first dogs nose crosses the finish line. Then you have to give them a bottle of water and collect their bib number. You have to count their dogs. They have to have at least 5 dogs in harness at the end of the race. Then you have to check to make sure they have their ax and sleeping bag. Those are the only two pieces of gear they are required to take with them.
Then on saturday night, I worked the headquarters from 10pm to 3am. It was pretty dull at that time for the most part except for some guy that came in and stole a jacket from the merchandise table and we had to call the police. Most of what you do at headquarters is just answer the phone and try to answer peoples questions. As each musher goes through the checkpoints in the villages, the checkers there call in to give you their times. You also have to update the leader board and input new information about the mushers into the website.

Then on Sunday, Avery and I went down for the finish of the winner of the K300 and I got to help handle the lead dogs for the winner. I also stopped by headquarters periodically throughout the weekend. It was fun!

So, I think I've met Number 17 on the birthday list. I have also volunteered and made all of the arrangements to be a dog handler at the iditarod in March. One of these days I really would like to actually ride on a dog sled...that would be awesome.

In other news...
Avery is sick. He called me in the middle of the day today (we had an inservice so I was at work and he was home) asking when I was going to be home. He's got a fever, diarrhea, body aches, headache, and feels sick to his stomach. Sounds like the flu...I hope not.

Avery's team won their basketball game on Saturday. This is two in a row they've won. He's really enjoying playing basketball. I didnt get any good pictures.

We are scheduled to get some snow tonight and the temps have warmed up to only -5 below zero so that's promising.

I've already started working on my next birthday list. It has been really fun this year to keep track of all of the things I've accomplished. And putting them on a list really makes me focus on getting them done. Any ideas for the new birthday list... 30 things to do before I turn 31?

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