Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Here it is, the middle of summer and I've yet to make any progress reporting on my "Great Winter Adventure" beyond the initial outline I threw together right after the race. Such bold plans I had to whip it out and not turn writing the report into as epic an undertaking as finishing the race. Sure I've been through at least one major life event since then, but truthfully it is all settled now. I've no real excuse for my lack of progress. After recently re-visiting my initial draft, I think I know why I've had such trouble filling it in and it's not just because I'm a lazy bastard.

Despite my best effort to approach the report as "just highlights (and lowlights)", once I started the writing, it inevitably slipped into the standard race report format. Instead of diving into the interesting bits, I was mired in a linear telling of many mundane details guided by what photos I'd taken along the way. I find the standard race report format to be rather uninspiring and a completely inadequate structure to describe the most inspiring event I've yet to undertake. Of course, one could easily argue that attempting to provide any sense of what the ITI in writing is likely a doomed attempt from the start. Also, given my history with overly verbose race reports, it would likely take well beyond next year's event for me to complete.

This was precisely the situation I had hoped to avoid. All I want is to share some "tales from the trail," to give at least some hints of what I went through out there. So, here goes, I am going to restart without any constraints or expectations on myself, just a serious of stories from my Iditarod Trail Invitational race.

Totally incomplete, only vaguely linear, wholly inadequate, but hopefully somewhat entertaining:

Tales From the Frozen Trail

To start things off, and to set the mood, I'm going to dump a few random thoughts and photos that started my draft report.

On the way to the start

There were many things I had to learn when I first started runnin ultra-marathons such as focusing on just going from aid-station to aid-station rather than the full distance of the race.

In the Iditarod Trail Invitational the distances between checkpoints were each as long as an ultra, some close to 100 miles.

In ultras I also had to learn to stop counting miles and begin counting the hours.

In the ITI, I had to stop counting hours and begin counting the days.

Ironically, I discovered, the days were often measured in miles.

It begins:

Starting behind "The Man" Dave Johnson

Familiar woods from my time at Susitna 100

Enjoying the day on a typical frozen Alaskan swamp

Sharing the trail with some fellow athletes:
The Real Iditarod racers

Their race would start a week later

Visits from friends:
Jill out to catch up with Beat

Amy out for a ride

Other Alaskan friends enjoying the trails

Night falls and I make it to the famous Nome Sign:
Cheezin' and looking gruff

. . .

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