Rookie Musher To Run Iditarod After Successful Yukon Quest
ALASKA (March 2, 2011) – How does it feel to have traveled one thousand miles on the runners of a dog sled? “I was not ready for it to end, after days of quality time alone with my dogs, all of a sudden you will be back to your regular life. I just did not want the trail time to end!” explains musher Jodi Bailey. She will soon be back on the runners, in an attempt to become the first person to run both the thousand-mile Yukon Quest and the iconic 1,049 mile Iditarod in the same year – as a rookie. “That kind of distance is probably hard for people to wrap their imaginations around. I try not to focus on the whole big challenge, instead I worry about the dogs in front of me, that is much more manageable.”
After finishing the Yukon Quest in 7th place, during what was one of the toughest races in recent history – twelve of the twenty-five mushers to start scratched or were withdrawn – Bailey, 42 was just two weeks away from the next big challenge - the Iditarod.
“They are 2 completely different races, and having finished one is no guarantee for the other. You learn something in every race, and that always helps. But bottom line, you don't know the Quest or the Iditarod until you run them.”
Four-time Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey had shattered the idea that a musher could not just do well in both races the same year, but that they could win both. For a rookie, the learning curve is steep, mastering the challenge of maintaining a healthy dog team, while learning the minutia of details involved in successfully traveling long distance by sled. “My first checkpoint, I had a total ‘gear explosion’ with everything coming out of the sled, but by the end I was more organized and able to get through my checkpoint routine without as much fuss. Which was a good thing because as you get more tired it is harder and harder to focus.”
Weather and trail conditions are always a factor in these races, and the successful musher has to be prepared for anything. “Over 1000 miles and 12 days you see everything. It went from perfect conditions to blowing snow and plummeting temperatures. Then there were also beautiful days, clear skies and a full moon near the end. Plus, some beautiful northern lights.”
Jodi Bailey and her husband Dan Kaduce, also a top-level musher, maintain Dew Claw Kennel outside Chatanika, Alaska with their numerous Alaskan Huskies.
Contact Bailey and Kaduce through their website at www.dewclawkennel.com
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins March 5th in downtown Anchorage, AK. Follow the race at the official website www.iditarod.com
For more information, visit the Yukon Quest official website at www.yukonquest.com