Well, Beat has embarked on his third journey to Nome. We flew into Anchorage late Friday night and had the usual whirlwind 36 hours before the 2015 Iditarod Trail Invitational started at 2 p.m. Sunday. I'm not participating this year, which left me simultaneously relived and disappointed. I cheered for everyone at the start, then prepped my fat bike for a spectator ride out the Iditarod Trail. Trail conditions were so hard-packed and fast that I caught everyone effortlessly, even the indefatigable Dave Johnston. I ended up riding all the way to Flathorn Lake slough — 50 miles round trip — and still returned to the Knik Bar just after dark.
It was a gorgeous day, and I was on Cloud 9 with this ride. These rolling hills of the Susitna River Valley, and this loosely distributed but tight-knit community of people, have been intricately woven in my life since 2006. Returning to this place is always intensely meaningful for me, as is participating in the "ritual" — even if only on the periphery. I don't have the time right now to write about the experience, but I wanted to post some photos of the race start:
The start of the race was warm (30F) but with a stiff breeze. Beat was prepared.