By HARRIETT HAMILTON FENERTY
That is what Iron Dog racers of 2019 are……consistently good!!! Just three days ago, there were 24 teams gathered at the start line at Deshka Landing, sitting under the start line banner to begin the World’s Longest Toughest Snowmobile race. Today 16 of those teams were doing what they call “routine maintenance”. Sleds that have traveled 1,108 miles pinning the throttle for maximum speeds over hundreds of miles of bumps and tracking through new snow!!! I remember a quote from a manufacturer a couple years ago and he said “1,000 Iron Dog miles are like 10,000 trail rider miles”…..I wonder what he would say today….because the equipment in the Nome midway garage looked consistently good.
Teams worked on sleds for as little as 3 minutes 24 seconds…..and as much as 41 minutes 21 seconds….spindles, chain tightening, belts changed, tracks adjusted, windshields replaced….there was a lot of power tools running today and maybe even a little pounding. Bunny boots were replaced with street shoes for ease of movement, because after running the northbound trail, legs are still exhausted and sometime feel like two unattached spaghetti noodles.
Wrenchin’ Wednesday is the day that racing takes place on the shop floor…..the faster racers can do maintenance the more lead time is preserved. Many people watching the live feeds notice how great it is to see the comradeship that takes place in this professional race. Racing on the snow and lending a pit crew hand in the garage while the clock is ticking!!!!
The blue sky day of yesterday was blown into a white wall of no visibility today…..we will see what the weather looks like for racers tomorrow….
Iron Dog 2019 is living up to another incredible year of racing excitment…..I woke up thinking about the first years of social media and an old blog that was used to do exactly the same thing we do today in the Group Page, but it was an anonymous blog and therefore people could post comments without showing their face….it quickly got out of hand and the fans were forced to get information with out a free flowing highway of knowledge……one of the best posters on that old blog was a famous fan…..”Blizzard Boy”…..he still hasn’t showed his face but we were able to secure a model release and permission to move full speed ahead…..”any thing for the Iron Dog”.
I heard another great race quote from a super fan of the Yukon 800 boat race last year, he finished his pep talk with this note and sentiment…..it seems fitting for all of us tonight and tomorrow…..“make good memories no matter the placing” Tom Huntington, Fairbanks Outboard Association June 2018
And as Blizzard Boy would encourage…..race on…..see you at the finish line!!!!