Why run the race to Nome?
The Iditarod is an expensive proposition. Most kennels don' t begin to cover the $15-17,000 race cost. Crazy Dog Kennels is mostly self-sponsored. However, we do get help from people who believe, as we do, that working dogs deserve to be treated with care and respect. To that end, Zoya dedicates her Iditarod run. Many of the huskies in our kennel are dogs that are unwanted. They were not fast enough, did not pull enough, the wrong color---something. These dogs need time and patience; and they usually come around. Zoya uses a positive reinforcement approach to training. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race provides a visible platform to promote better dog care and training standards. This winter, after many seasons of promoting better kennel conditions and less traumatic training, the Iditarod Trail Committee accepted our proposed Best Care Protocol as a draft guide for kennels planning to compete in future Iditarod, beginning in 2019.
Best Care promotes accountability and transparency in all competing race kennels-- overseen by an independent entity. A sled dog tour organization in Canada is also planning to implement Best Care.
Why run to Nome? To promote excellent care of all working dogs.
We began the training season with 24 dogs that were potential Iditarod candidates. Some were long shots; a little too young or maybe a year older than they should be. Training and conditioning have now progressed to the final month. There are 19 dogs remaining in the chase. 16 of them will make the final cut. All 19 have to be considered from now forward. Though we rarely have a training injury, one cannot rule that out.
One can sponsor any dog in the team -- at any level. Dog sponsors will receive a photo of "their" dog signed by the musher. You will also receive updates periodically through the remainder of the training season. Sponsorship is important. It takes more than just time to prepare a dog for a thousand-mile event. Special nutrition is needed. A dog in the yard, doing three or four ten-mile runs per week might require 2500 calories during a normal winter day. A race dog will need double that, plus supplements. Normal training conditions will require approximately 100 bottles per dog in the miles preparing for the Iditarod. Not counting feed, we expect an additional $200 per dog will be required.
The dogs in the race team: (list)
The dogs already sponsored this season are: (Enumerate what level they are now sponsored at up to $200)
There are 21 checkpoints on the Southern route of the Iditarod. 20 of them require food drops. To toward this end, we are soliciting sponsorship help. Sponsorship comes in all sizes and forms. You need not sponsor an entire checkpoint, every little piece helps. Alaska Airline miles are useful for transportation to and from Nome.
Supplies sent to this checkpoint must feed the team, see the team through the Finger Lake checkpoint, (no food drop there), and on to Rainy Pass. The distance is 75 - 80 miles.
2. Rainy Pass.
It is a difficult, (Dalzell Gorge), 35 mile run to the next stop; Rohn. The layover at Rainy is relatively short.
This is the jump-off point for the Fairwell Burn. There is rarely much, if any, snow for the first 40 miles out of Rohn. The 75 mile run to Nikolai usually involves some damaged equipment and one rest stop.
Nikolai is on the Kuskokwim River. It is a smooth run for the next 50 miles to McGrath. It can be cold. The rest after coming off the Burn may be a bit longer than what was originally planned.
Zoya is planning to take her required 24-hr. layover at Takotna, she is not likely to stay in McGrath long. However, her spare sled will be sent to here in case she has major damage to her starting sled in the travel through the Burn.
24 hours plus time differential at Takotna. Also, preparations for the 100 mile plus trail to The halfway checkpoint at the old ghost town of Iditarod. Lots of dog food and booties.
Only 25 miles from the Takotna stop, this will be a short break. Just enough to divide the long run to Iditarod.
This is often the coldest section of the trail. The trail in this area is commonly put in just ahead of the teams. It is deep snow country. 60 more miles to Shageluk.
Zoya has never traveled this part of the country. Soft snow could make these runs long.
This is only a 25 mile run from Shageluk. 18 more miles to the next stop at Grayling. This is probably a stop and go checkpoint. The ITC requires 50#'s of supplies here.
It is a tough 60 mile run to Eagle Island. The section of trail to Eagle Island can either be great or terrible, dependent completely on weather.
12. Eagle Island.
No frills here. Prepare for another 60 miles on the Yukon into a headwind. This could be a good spot for the Yukon 8 hr. layover.
This is the last place one can take the required 8 hour Yukon River stop. It is 85 miles overland through the portage; from the Yukon River to the Norton Sound coast. There is always a layover at Old Woman cabin approximately half-way through.
A great checkpoint and welcome respite. It is often windy. It is a 45 mile run in the Blueberry Hills enroute to Shaktoolik.
This another no frill stop. It is common for teams to get stuck here for 12-16 hours because of wind on the Norton Bay crossing which is just ahead. Extra supplies are needed here -- just in case. 50 miles to Koyuk.
Koyuk is a comfortable place. It is a relief to have made it across the featureless ocean. 50 miles to Elim.
This checkpoint may be a short stop. All depends on the condition of the team. Golovin is 28 miles further along. Golovin does not have a food drop, so most pass through there with no stop on the way to the last layover at White Mountain, another 18 trail miles along.
18. White Mountain.
The mandatory 8 hour break here comes with mixed emotions. Anxious to reach the finish in Nome, yet reluctant to have the magical time with the dogs come to an end. 55 miles to Safety.
It is just 22 miles to Nome. A drop bag is required at this checkpoint.
20. Nome. Finish.
The most expensive checkpoint for the musher. Airline tickets, Food. Dog transport, etc. etc. Not too bad for the dogs. They get a well deserved rest! They are usually fed every 4-6 hours. Massages are also welcome. This year, John will try to bring the dogs back from Nome as soon as possible so they can get back to the comforts of home. Dog costs other than transportation are relatively light.