Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way. We all have a story or two that fall in this category. Mushers are no different. From headgear to hesitation, brakes to break time, a few mushers relate things they've learned the hard way in this New York Times / Associated Press article.
Following the twins and the front of the pack? Take a look back at this Alaska Dispatch News article from Friday, discussing how mushers would emerge from their 24s and some of the 'races within the race' (including mention of Kristy and Anna running together). How do the names at the front of the pack compare then and now?
What do you think? Read the articles and decide for yourself!
What's tougher, finishing Iditarod or climbing Everest?
How about banning all electronics on the Iditarod trail?
Do you know your commands? Mushers will always personalize and customize their communications with their dogs teams. But some things are pretty universal:
Gee - Turn Right
Haw - Turn Left
Come Gee! Come Haw! - Commands for 180 degree turns in either direction.
All Right! Let's Go! Mush! Hike! - All commands to start the team.
Trail! - A request for right-of-way on the trail.
Whoa! - Stop! Most effective when accompanied by heavy pressure on the brake and/or drag pad.
This year's race certainly has fewer tales of whoa than last year's. But there have still been challenges out there... Yuka Honda's sled got destroyed early in the race, but she was able to replace it and press on. 18-year-old rookie Ben Harper was sporting a painful looking frostbitten nose in the Ruby checkpoint earlier in the race. And DeeDee Jonrowe pulled into Huslia complaining of as many as 6 frostbitten fingers, the harshest she's experienced in her career of Iditarod racing.
More about temperature and wind chill: A little wind can make a big difference. And keep in mind, mushers are sitting or standing on the backs of sleds moving, on avg, 8-10mph. That itself creates a bone-chilling breeze.