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The Iditarod mushers are finishing
Last Post 03/19/2020 09:10 AM by Frederick Jones. 4 Replies.
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03/18/2020 11:10 AM
Idiitarod, aka the great Alaskan experiment in social distancing , has just been won. 12:37 am Unalakleet time. A Norwegian, THomas Waerner finished with 10 of his (I presume) 12 dogs.

I haven't followed IIditarod for years. I used to do my best when Susan Butcher was winning regularly because I loved the story of her love of her dogs and how they responded. (The top IIditarod dogs make TDF riders look like couch potatoes. For their incredible sustained power, immunity to real cold and the heart of a true athlete.)

I saw a documentary taken at the finish a few years ago. Top dogs just cruised across the line. "Done. Next challenge?" Mid pack an Iditarod veteran crossed with hie team of experienced dogs. No, these were not the top ones. They worked good and hard to finish mid-pack. Leader was 10, 12 (?) years old and running his last race. He was plumb tuckered out! But his love for his owner and love of that race was just as obvious as his gratitude for being done. (The night before the teams crossed the frozen sea in a full storm, conditions as tough as it gets. That mushers don't regularly die crossing that sea is a testimony to those dogs.)

13 "man" teams where the stars are the domestiques.



03/18/2020 04:21 PM
Remember John Stamstad? He was a whole pack of mush dogs into one guy on his mountain bike doing and winning the Iditaride several times in the 90's.


03/19/2020 12:44 AM

Posted By Franck A. on 03/18/2020 04:21 PM
... He was a whole pack of mush dogs into one guy on his mountain bike doing and winning the Iditaride several times in the 90's.

Yes and no. Impressive,yes. But the MTB event was NOT the Iditarod and no human comes remotely close to ever one of those dogs, let alone a team.. The MTB race - less than 300 miles. (Edit: His wns of 1997-2000 were on 350 mile versions.) The dogs do close to 1000. One dog burns nearly 10,000 calories a day, approaching a high mountain day for a Tour contender - at 45 pounds! VO2 max/kg is three times a pro rider.

Crude math: 10 dogs, 10 days, 10,000 kcal/day. 1 million kcal, At 3000 kcal/lb for fat burning - 333 lbs of fat burned (by 450 pounds of dog!)


03/19/2020 04:59 AM
Kinda tough to measure athletic performance between species since the anatomy is different.
I don't care how superior a dog's VO2max is, I'd clobber every one of them in a contest of thumb wrestling.

But back to Stamstad, yeah he didn't go as far, as fast, etc. but he was not in his native environment. You stick 1,000 Siberian huskies out doors in the snow and they WANT to run. Give 1,000 people the opportunity to go outside when it's 20* and 995 of them will tell you to bugger off.


03/19/2020 09:10 AM
A bit of irony: The race recreates a heroic delivery of medicine that saved a lot of lives.
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