I can guarantee things out at Seeing Double's kennel can be generously categorized as organized chaos. I still hope to chat with the twins but haven't yet as of this posting. And, heck ~ I get it. I've seen how busy these last few hours are. You still have dogs to feed, gear to organize, collars to tag and label (a job regrettably not handled by yours truly this year). Get the tag sleds and tow lines in addition to your regular sled on the truck. Adjust the gangline for tomorrow's slightly smaller team of dogs. Where's that neck gator? Hand me that snow hook. Should we take two sleeves of salmon to snack the dogs after the C-Start or three? Have you seen the handler jackets since last year? Hand me that neck gator... I already did!
I know they'll reach out when they find a minute to breath. Tomorrow will be an early start. They have to feed the gang, load the day's participants, confirm sleds are tied down, and drive into Anchorage from Knik in time to park long before fans start lining the streets for the 10am start.
For those that want to catch the action live from wherever you might be, here's what you need to know.
** All time references ALASKA TIME. Seeing Double has at least 1 fan in New Zealand, not to mention across the US and elsewhere. So please don't ask me to break it down for y'all.
** Where / How?! Go to Iditarod Live. I believe you will have to log in in some fashion to access the live feed, but there is a free (with some commercials) option.
10:00am, downtown Anchorage: Ceremonial start
Bib 1 as Teacher on the Trail will get things started. They're pretty precise about these things, so the first official musher in Bib 2, Martin Massicotte from Quebec, should launch at 10:02am, followed by Tim Pappas of Big Lake, Alaska in Bib 3 at 10:04am. That gives us launch time for Kristy of 10:06am. Etc etc and Anna sets off in Bib 18 at 10:34am. Don't put me in concrete shoes with all of this, though - if you're committed to seeing them off the start in cyber space, be in front of your screens for 10am and book an hour.
Forty mushers follow behind Anna, so everyone will have launched before high noon. I suspect Andy is in the tag sled for Kristy and Treven for Anna, which means hopefully our good friend Jack is manning the dog truck. But if it isn't Jack, I know the twins will have a good friend lined up to move their dog truck and trailer from downtown Anchorage out to Campbell Airstrip to pick the teams up from a frustratingly short 11 mile jaunt.
While we wait for all of that to transpire, here are some suggestions for alternative entertainment...
The Great Alone featuring Lance Mackey, a well known champion and a competitor in this year's race. His story is fascinating, and will definitely get you fired up for Iditarod 2020. Catch the official trailer on YouTube.
And while I am not entirely keen on recommending something I have not myself actually seen or experienced, these trailers look too good. And the first comes well recommended from a friend and former colleague.
The Call of the Wild, based on the well known novel by Jack London. Although the novel itself never won any awards, it was extremely popular in its day, and beyond. The first print order for the book in 1903 was for 10,000 copies. This version has Harrison Ford and more than a bit of CGI (computer-generated imagery), but it is about a sled dog and the bond that can be formed. Apropos, no? Find more info and the trailer on IMDb.com.
More specific to the Iditarod, and the history behind it? Check out:
The Great Alaskan Race. Yep, the story of Togo. And Balto. And of course musher Leonhard Seppala and the overwhelming task of getting diphtheria serum from Anchorage to the remote snowbound town of Nome where children were dying in 1925. A very respectable cast including Brian Presley, Treat Williams, and Brad Leland. I am dying to watch it but can't figure out how to stream it in Canada. For those stateside, you should be able to stream via the usual suspects (nflx, amzn, etc). If you don't want to take my word for the fact that it sounds really good, read what Jeff King had to say. And then go watch the trailer and track down the full version.
Last but not least, I bring you ~
Disney's Togo, The Untold True Story. Oh don't lie. You love at least one Disney movie. And this one? Willem Dafoe, Julianne Nicholson... I mean, just watch the trailer and tell me you don't get goose bumps. And unlike Call of the Wild where Buck is entirely CGI, here you get real puppies and real adult sled dogs. Ok - aside from one glorious CGI scene you'll easily identify at the end of the trailer. But if you're really trying to make viewers feel what it's like to be IN these situations, going over the top a bit may be the only way. I know we've all taken a picture that later paled in comparison to the in-person view itself.
Ok, on that note I'll leave you to your own devices, likely until late Saturday.
Happy Weekend, Armchair Mushers!