8.04.2015

Iditarod 2015 Recap: Shaktoolik to NOME

Early morning in Shaktoolik. We spent the night in Shaktoolik waiting for the winds to die down a bit before attempting the crossing to Koyuk. It was still windy when we left, but a more manageable 25 mph compared to the 40 and 50 mph gusts of the night before. 
Rob Cooke's team getting ready to leave Shaktoolik. 
We left Shaktoolik with Monica (ahead) and Alan Stevens (behind). We had a hard time finding the trail right out of Shaktoolik, but the three of us canvasing the area managed to locate enough markers to find our way. Still on land here. 
On the ice. Ruby in her pink coat wondering what the hold up is. After almost 9 hours in Unalakleet and an overnight stay in Shaktoolik, the team was very well rested. 
Snack break about halfway to Koyuk. Pretty windy & a tough trail obliterated in place by soft snow drifts.
Allen, mine, and Monica's team, all in a row. 
Allen and his puppy (yearling) team. 
Still smiling!
Ravni cat naps.
Cute little Linnea.
After our snack break, we took the lead and the team rocked it all the way to shore, busting through the drifts, all business. It was such a beautiful day. Last year Monica and I did the crossing in the dark, there was jumble ice, all sorts of zig zags to the trail, I hallucinated I was in a forest, and frostbit my windburn by exposing my face to the cold air in an attempt to stay awake. This year, we did it in the daylight, it was sunny and gorgeous, straight as an arrow, I kept my face covered and listened to music and danced my way across the ocean all the way to Koyuk, feeling great. 
Feeling great! Thanks to Sia, Brandi Carlile, Tove Lo, Thomas Dybdahl & more. 
Monica & Blue Steel caught us just offshore. 
Koyuk straight ahead.
Out of Koyuk, climbing up toward Little McKinley.
Almost to the top of the first summit.
Gorgeous view of the hills, the ocean in the distance.
Descending from Little McKinley, a lot steeper than it looks !!
Dropped off the summit onto the other side of the hills and holy cow did it get warm !! Stopped for a snack break and to remove all the booties -- way too warm for the dogs to run with their feet covered up. Beautiful up here in the high country.
The final descent to Golovin Bay.
Snack break in Golovin! Such a nice little welcoming committee of school kids with their teacher.
Caught up with Monica again outside of Golovin.

After 12 days on the Iditarod trail. A little bedraggled, but thanks to Silverbear Sundries Mountain Mama Healing Salve & a Norwegian cold salve, my face is remarkably not frostbit or windburnt !! PS Ember did not pay me to say this !!! 
White Mountain ! 8 hour rest here and we are on our way to Noooome!! Another overnight run from White Mountain to Safety, but without 8 inches of fresh snow on the trail, it was so fast and easy compared to last year!
Sunrise by the sea. Topkok Hills & the Solomon Blowhole behind.
Sunrise outside of Safety. Cape Nome in the distance. 
A beautiful morning to go to Nome!
Climbing over Cape Nome.
Over Cape Nome and headed to town (visible to the far right). 
Running down Front Street in Nome, a little scary because we didn't have a police escort.  Front Street is one of the main thoroughfares in Nome. Usually a police car with flashing lights meets & follows a team  -- letting people know there is a dog team on the road so they can pull over and give the dogs the right of way. Heidi Sutter unexpectedly caught me right before we jumped off the sea ice into town, but the folks at the finish line were only expecting one team (me), so I watched the police car (who did not see my team) swing around behind Heidi's team. Then I watched regular traffic resume WHILE MY TEAM WAS STILL ON THE ROAD. Luckily, I did a lot of training on subdivision roads and the Denali Hwy this fall and winter, so I was able to gee the dogs over (Ripp is taking the command in this photo) so we were on the right side of the road and not in oncoming traffic. Cars were still passing me, which was scary, because the dogs are not used to running in TRAFFIC and could dart any which way if they got scared, and since we were running on pavement, there would be no way to stop them. Finally, some smart people on both sides stopped their cars, stopping the traffic behind them, and we were able to run into the chute without getting run over, thank goodness ! Iditarod is an adventure all the way to the finish line !! 
Off the street and into the chute! RIPP & RUBY in lead, PETE & VADER in swing, then VINNIE & RAVNI heading up the rest of the team: MAJOR, FEZZIK, FRIGG, VICTOR, GEORGIE, LINNEA, PAPAS & BLACKIE LOU. 
MAJOR, FEZZIK, FRIGG, VICTOR, GEORGIE, LINNEA, PAPAS & BLACKIE LOU. 
Thanking my sweet superdog Ruby & her brother Ripp for getting us to Nome. 
Lisbet & Monica -- Trail buddies !
With my #1 supporters, Dad & Mom.

With the backing of friends, family & Siberian Husky fans from around the world, I finished the 2015 Iditarod one day faster than the year before, as the fastest Siberian Husky team, with 14 dogs still on the line.  

I ran a relaxed schedule until we hit the coast, easing a team comprised of dogs with vastly different conditioning and experience levels into the race routine. I had one dog that had never gone further than 40 miles at once her whole life. So we took it easy. In Unalakleet, I realized my competition was well within striking distance & we picked it up a little. I had three goals for Iditarod this year: I wanted to improve my time from last year, I wanted to be the fastest Siberian Husky team, and I wanted to make it in time for the Official Finisher's Photo (Monica and I missed it last year). 

Check, check, and check!

I couldn't have done any of it without support from friends and family across the globe.  I am SO grateful for the assistance I have received and as we are gearing up for another season of training and racing, I am looking again to my supporters for help.  Racing costs me an estimated $30,000/ year.  I work hard to earn kibble money in the summer, but because racing is so expensive, I count on some of these costs to be defrayed by sponsorships.

At Alaskan Kennels, we want to show that Siberians can perform well in all venues, sprint especially, but my discipline is long distance racing. My eventual goal is to have the best placing Siberian Husky team in Iditarod ever —17th place or better. A lofty goal, but one I think we can realize in the next few years. 

Would you like to help us achieve our goals? Are you someone who adores Siberian Huskies and would like to see them out on the trail where they belong?  Consider becoming a team sponsor.  Any amount helps & I am so grateful and appreciative of your support. Come on board and help us field a competitive Siberian Husky team in the 2016 Iditarod! 

xoxo Lisbet & Team

1 comment:

  1. hey libset this must have been an interesting expedition unfortunately im yet to pay shaktoolik a visit despite numerous commendations from friends were planning a atrip down to this location I willdefinately join them on this one

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