As my family prepares for the start of the big race this weekend, I know some of you are wondering what exactly the Iron Dog is! Every year, Dad takes this 2,000 mile trek on a snowmachine. (Yes, I know you “flatlanders” call them “snowmobiles,” but we call them “machines” up here!) This is a treacherous, exciting race — in many Iron Dogs, more racers drop out than finish. The injuries, bad weather, machine break downs, and fatigue take a toll on everyone.
After worrying the entire time he’s gone, it’s always very exciting to pack up and go to Fairbanks for the finish! We pack our warmest clothes, pile into our vehicles, and hope to see dad cross the finish line first. There are a lot of festivities going on around the finish line, so if you’re near Fairbanks at the end of the race you should definitely stop by!! Alaska must have the best ice sculptors, because there are usually beautiful statues being created right in front of your eyes. People build a fire on the frozen water, which gives you an idea of how cold it is there. It’s frequently negative thirty degrees at the finish line!
Sometimes the engines of our vehicles freeze as we spend the night there, and we have to get up every few hours to turn them on. A couple of years ago, our vehicle just quit on the way home because it had gotten too cold. So after Dad had raced 2000 miles on a snow machine, he was out there trying to fix the truck on the side of the road.
Anyway, it’s an exciting tradition, and I’ll try to add some photos from years past sometime today.
Dad, I’m proud of you every year, no matter where you finish in the pack… (In fact, he’s won it four times!) Let add another win to that total!