Posts Tagged ‘Iditarod

01
Dec
09

Jamaica We Have a Dogsled Team

It’s a story as old as time, a Jamaican businessman, on vacation in Canada, comes across a dogsled with wheels, enabling it to run across land without snow and imports it to his home. He adds it to the options his adventure touring company offers, along with zip-lines and tubing trips and then decides he wants to participate in the Iditarod. Of course, as usual, Jimmy Buffett is a sponsor, because as we all know, Jimmy’s fans are all known as Husky-heads (ed. Yeah, that’s not true at all…Well, the sponsorship part is.)

Today, Newton Marshall, 26,  is up in Alaska, training with Lance Mackey, winner of the last three Iditarods in a 3-month boot camp. After training last year with Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt, Newton finished 13th out of 29 mushers in the 1,000 mile race.

“He’s going to be doing everything that we do,” said Mackey, who is also a four-time Yukon Quest champion. “From cleaning dog crap to cutting meat. Prepping for the races. Obviously the training part of it. Everything that it takes to make this household run, he’s going to be involved in.”

When Marshall began the Yukon Quest, he was labeled a joke by one judge; that same judge later awarded Marshall the special Challenge of the North award given to the musher who “exemplifies the spirit of the Yukon Quest.”

Leasing dogs from Mackey, including the lead dog in his championship runs should help Marshall in his Quixotic quest. A documentary following his trip through the Yukon Quest is being released in Canada next year, and Marshall is, obviously, trying to drum up interest in a feature film on his quest to go with the book he intends to write as well.

The nascent Jamaican Dogsled Team is paying for Marshall’s training with Mackey and hope that a good finish in the Iditarod could inspire many more Jamaicans to get interested in the sport, just like the famed (failed) Jamaican Bobsled team.

[Anchorage Daily News]

16
Mar
09

Sign Me Up for the Iditarod

Apparently, racing dogs through a vast snowy landscape and through blistering cold can make you go a little bit crazy, who knew? Current Iditarod race leader Lance Mackey reported from the course that he saw an apparition the other day along the track.

Fatigue can do funny things to long-distance mushers, Mackey said. On Thursday night, he was riding the sled and saw a girl sitting by the side of the trail doing something, probably knitting.

“She laughed at me, waved, and I went by her and she was gone,” Mackey said of his hallucination. “You just laugh.”

Do you know how hard it is to find good hallucinogens these days? And these mushers are getting the good stuff, FOR FREE! I’m pissed no one told me about this until now. It turns out that Mackey isn’t the only one who this happens to, apparently it is very common among dog sledders. For instance, via Help Sled Dogs comes these other stories:

  • “I was exhausted and had already begun to hallucinate during the last hour of traveling, seeing the small people of the woods, hearing low-flying airplanes in the middle of the night.”
  • “I’ve seen villages, freight trains and cabins that were not there”
  • “I saw animals-a rock pile became a bison, a stump became a moose.”
  • “I was home from school, about 7 years old, standing in my grandmother’s kitchen with my chin just about counter height, watching, smelling while Granny slathered a slice of homemade bread with bacon grease.”
  • “And then I began to hallucinate. I saw people standing beside the trail, never anyone I recognized. They talked and laughed among themselves like they were waiting for my arrival at a nonexistent checkpoint. I turned and as the light of my headlamp swept over them they stopped talking and turned their heads to stare at me as we passed. Sometimes they were back from the trail and I only heard voices, catching snippets of conversations, never any intelligible words, but I assumed they were talking about me.”

I had no idea that all I needed to do to trip balls was go into the wilderness of Alaska and nearly die thanks to exposure. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all this time. Continue reading ‘Sign Me Up for the Iditarod’




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