A few mushers, like our friend Paul Gebhardt, have larger main sleds that can accommodate the second musher as well. This is where I rode during the ceremonial start for the 3rd year in a row. Being in the start of the race is quite an experience! There are people lining the trail all along the route, some handing out muffins or hotdogs to the teams as they pass. This section of trail isn't very technical by design, although there are a few twists and turns that can make for interesting photo opportunities. Fairly early on, there is one hard 90 degree corner to the left at the bottom of a hill. I'm always afraid Paul and I will wipe out on this turn, but we made it through without incident again this year. We congratulated ourselves a bit too early, though... Late in the race, the dogs veered to the side of the trail to try and dip some fresh snow. One of the runners went up on the edge of the groomed path and next thing I knew, the sled flipped over and we were being dragged along on our side! Paul and I held on for dear life, knowing we had to stay with the sled and also hoping the extra drag would prompt the dogs to stop. Fortunately a bystander hopped onto the trail and gave the dogs an added incentive to stop, otherwise I don't know how long Paul and I would have been face first in the snow!
Kristy didn't have any wipe outs during her run, but she did have several of her young dogs balk at bridges and large culverts that are part of this route ~ something they never encounter out on a regular trail. And remember that sharp corner I mentioned above? Well, this year it had Anna's name on it. It is a popular spot for tipped sleds, and this year Anna joined the long list of mushers from over the years that have eaten snow on this corner.