Hi Boys and Girls,
While we’re waiting for the start of Iditarod 40 I wanted to tell you some of the preparations that have taken place in the past few weeks. The mushers had to get all their supplies ready for the trail. Have you ever wondered how they get all the food they and the dogs will need and the rest of their supplies from Anchorage to Nome? The sleds are just not big enough to carry 9-15 days of supplies. So what’s a musher to do? They prepare drop bags that are provided by the Iditarod Trail Committee.
Now you’re thinking “What’s a drop bag?” A drop bag is a bag for the mushers to use to send supplies they will need down the trail. Mushers pack dog food, human food, booties, clothes, boots, etc into these bags. Each bag must have the checkpoint name and mushers name on it. The mushers then take the bags to Airland Transport in Anchorage. There the bags are weighed. A bag can weigh no more than 60 pounds and a musher can only have 3 bags per checkpoint. Then the bags are sorted by checkpoint. When all the drop bags are received and sorted, they are flown out by the Iditarod airforce.
Mushers are also able to send extra equipment out on the trail like extra sleds, runners for the sleds, extra boots, dog bowls, and buckets. This equipment goes with the extra sleds and are not part of the drop bags. This equipment is also flown out to a designated checkpoint.
Next question is “how does the musher know how much to send to each checkpoint?”. Mushers make plans of what they hope their race will look like. They decide where the best place to take breaks will be. So they will send more supplies to where they plan to take the mandatory 24 hour break, than to a checkpoint they don’t plan to stay a long time at. So what happens if a musher has to change the race plan? A musher needs to remember where the supplies were sent and plan accordingly.
Not all supplies that are sent to the checkpoints are used. Extra dog food left behind will be used at the discretion of the officials. No food, dog or human, is sent back in the drop bags. Other supplies such as sleds, extra equipment, and clothing are sent back to ITC headquarters and can be picked up by the mushers when the race has finished.
Well I hope you are excited for the race start tomorrow. I will be starting my daily updates so come back and read the posts often.