Getting to the Iditarod Start Line - 2009
It has been another wild year for Bruce and I. Nothing is ever status quo in our lives and it seems we live life to the fullest, pushing the boundaries of what two people (now three) can accomplish in such a short amount of time. In perspective, we have not even been in Alaska for three years…and we have gotten Bruce to the Iditarod start line three years in a row now.
I don’t think anyone except a mushing family could relate to how we live our lives. Every ounce of energy and resource goes into the dogs – their food, care, and training. Each dog, in what-ever-way has a place in our family and that is the way it is. Even Brody has become one with the routine – being able to sleep through 50 wild, barking dogs and tolerating the waiting around at dog sled races. This year, with the addition of our adorable son, it has taken me out of the loop. Once, a critical player in the upkeep of our kennel, I am now just a bystander who puts her two cents in every so often.
With that said, we could have never gotten to the start line with out Cindy, our kennel manager, who most would call our handler. She is so much more than that and we owe her all our gratitude, because without her expertise and dedication, Bruce would never have had a chance in hell in getting any where, let alone the Iditarod start line. She held the kennel together this whole season and we are blessed to have had her with us. My only hope is that she had a good enough time to make it worth while for her and maybe consider coming back next season. We will keep our fingers crossed!
Our people team keeps gettting bigger and bigger. Charlie, Patty, Lisa, Nova, Cindy and John – just to name a few… We have incredible help and without our good friends, the start day would be even more chaotic than it is. I have never seen Bruce in such a relaxed (if possible) state of mind. He was more prepared than ever (even though he insists on not packing his sled bag until 30 minutes before the departure time). Despite a few mechanical glitches with his glucose monitoring system, which eventually worked their way out, his start was for the most part stress free and uneventful. Bruce, at one point begged us to leave him alone so “he could relax.” Bruce never relaxes, so we got a chuckle out of that once he turned away.
A cloudy day to start with temps around 20 degrees or so, it was a busy afternoon. Bruce, being number forty, left about 1.5 hours after the first musher left the shute. There is no hurry when you are in back end. As soon as Bruce left, the clouds lifted and the sun shine poked through the clouds – as if the Hallelujah Chorus should sound off as Bruce left the shute… "Bye, Bye" I wisper and wave as I think about my long trip back home to Kasilof.
Currently, he is keeping to a pretty tight run/rest schedule and this year I think he will
be camping on the trail more instead of spending time in the crowded check point areas.
After all, he is a third year Vet now, he should start ruffing it a bit !
During our last conversation at home before he left I lovingly wished him to have an awesome trip and to come back safe and sound. He disappointment in that statement left me curious…”Don’t you want me to win some money this year?” he exclaimed. In my mind, I am thought, well yeah, win some money – that would be a bonus. But, I want you to be proud of your run and effort, that is what counts the most.
Anyway, Brody and I are exhausted… Brody has the right idea right now and I think I am going to join him in bed.
If I hear from Bruce, I will catch up and let you know what he is up to. I don’t expect him calling as frequently this year, as he is trying to race this year. No news, is always good news on the Iditarod Trail.
Melissa and Brody, Kasilof AK 3/9/09