First report from the boys - 24/2/2002
This image of the 2001 Iditasport start line
should give you an idea of what it is going to be like today!
Our first email from the boys - the race starts
today (Sunday); we're 9 hours
ahead of Alsaka!
THIS RACE thrives on rumour. Last year it was 'the dreaded overflow'...
not a fear of blocked toilets, but the running water on top of semi-frozen
rivers. Tales of thigh-deep stretches of icy torrent spooked at least
half the field (including us), and consequently the local outdoor store
had its best-ever weekend sale on waterproof leggings, gaitors and overboots
This year, navigation seems to be the worry of the week. Map sales have
gone through the roof (a full set of maps covering the entire 1,097-mile
course costs over $160) - but we've done a deal with Italian runner
Roberto and colour photocopied a set for just over $20. With the Garmin
GPS we've got loaded with checkpoint references, we hope it should be
enough to get us through this weekend's forecast stormy weather.
Other rumours doing the rounds have included wolf packs roaming the
Farewell Burn... plus, of course, the usual neck-deep snow at Finger
turned out to be true last year). We've just posted off 11 'drops' -
after spending the last three days ferrying supplies from local supermarket
Carrs. Margriet, who runs the b&b where most of the competitors
are staying, will be flying to Hawaii four times a year on the loyalty
Al and I were certainly not sad to see the back of the 11 cardboard
boxes that have been filling our room for most of the week. We've packed
Peronin energy powder, GPush drink powder, trail mix, biscuits, pepperoni
and just about every other type of food you could imagine. We've divided
everything up into day's-worth portions - a task which involved over
100 zip-loc bags and the kitchen dustbin to stir up the trail mix. Also
packed is white gas liquid fuel, headtorch batteries, film, vitamins
and extra thermal base-layers. The total food bill is probably nearing
$1,000 - but for two people on the trail for 20 days, it's probably
not excessive. Both of us were dreading the postage bill - but for 100kgs
in 11 priority mail boxes, it totalled just $145. Someone tell Consignia...
Other last-minute changes of plan have included swapping our Nokian
tyres for some new WTB Werewolf 2.5,in the desperate hope they might
give us some more float on the snow, and a couple of new fleece hats
which make us look
Just off now to finish sorting out the bikes, then hit the pre-race
meeting for last-minute instructions. Praying now for the heavy snow
to stay away -otherwise we're going to get a grim reminder of why these
two-wheeled contraptions are called 'push-bikes'.