OK Race Fans! The truck is loaded and Carrie and I are on our way to Anchorage today to begin the three day Iditarod pre-race Start festivities.
The final touches have been made to my sled and I can’t wait to unveil it! (The rules don’t say anything about internal combustion engines, do they? How about Slurried Plutonium?? Bet there’s a couple new rules next year!)
It appears the weather will be perfect for an Iditarod start, not too cold for the fans and not too hot for the dogs. If you are in Anchorage for the start, don’t miss the festivities!
Tonight it’s dinner with “ME” at the Inlet Towers. Tomorrow is the Start Banquet (does the name Rocky Balboa ring a bell??). Friday it’s breakfast with Cabela’s tour group; raquetball with my wife at an undisclosed location; then a book signing at the Millenium from 11:30am – 1:30pm with fellow authors Trish Brown, Lisa Frederic and more; from there we zoom back to the Inlet Towers for a book signing “meet & greet” from 1:30pm – 3:30pm; and then we’re off to Aurora Fine Arts for their annual Jeff King send off party which includes prizes (really cool art!), and t-shirts – refreshments will also be served. (Thank you to Diane & Jerry for all they have done to make us feel appreciated and special.) Finally we will head over to the Anchorage Museum for the unveiling of the Joe Reddington exhibition spearheaded by our good friend Hannah Moderow. Can’t wait to see it!
Which reminds me of a story that I’ll share with you: I so well recall my first Iditarod, and Joe Reddington announcing that he had spent so much time that year organizing the race that he didn’t have much time left to train his dogs. So when I got ahead of him in the race by almost 24 hours, I was sure Joe Reddington was in for a looong ride – THEN, in the middle of the night as I approached Don’s Cabin, a bright light of a fastly gaining musher approached from behind. They were moving so fast that I was sure it was a snowmachine, but no, it was Joe Reddington, Sr. zooming down the trail that he had spent most of his adult life promoting (the Iditarod Trail). As Joe went by, he shined his light on me and said “Who goes there?”, I said, “It’s Jeff King.” He responded “Jeff King – from Denali, right? Good Luck!” as his team screamed by at speeds I could only dream of. When I arrived at Don’s Cabin, Joe’s team was already fed and sleeping, as was Joe. He was gone before I awoke. I never saw him again that year until the end of the race. Can’t wait to see the Museum Exhibition.
I’m also looking forward to meeting my Make-A-Wish rider, Elaine Strong. Elaine is 10 years old and is here with her parents Mary & Jack, and her cousin Lisa. They are here all the way from Californ-i-a! Dress warm girl!! We’re gonna have a blast! And I’m brining a special surprise for you and Lisa to enjoy during your visit to Anchorage!
Keep an eye on our Dog Team page! We are moments away from updating it with the wonderful help of Taesub – all the way from Korea (oh my, how the internet has made the world smaller! Thank you Taesub!). It’s a great change to our page and features the 21 dogs we’ll be taking to Anchorage where we’ll make the final decision as to who is going to go.
So, Carrie has promised me we have everything we need to make one more personal blog entry by me before the race start. After that, Donna will fill in with race commentary. After 30 years of helping me race she is rarely wrong in her analysis of what’s going on. Hope you all enjoy the race! May the sun be in your face and the wind at your back.