Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Iditarod Fantasy Photos

I had some time on my hands one day, so at the suggestion of one of my Iditabuddies at the bssd forum, I decided to make some Iditarod Fantasy Photos. I used Printmaster, which is pretty easy to use. Come join me on my fantasy trip to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race:

Here I am as an Iditarider on Dee Dee Jonrowe's sled. Dee Dee is one of my favorite mushers. Although she has never won the race, she has come in second place twice, and she always runs a competitive race. In everything she does, you can sense her kindness, the love for her dogs, her joyful spirit and her strong Christian faith. She participates in one of the toughest sports, but she's always a lady. A breast cancer survivor, she wears pink for breast cancer awareness.

Every year, people bid for the privilege of riding with a musher for the 11 miles of the race's ceremonial start in Anchorage. Bidding for the 2009 race starts December 1, and it will be interesting to see how high the bids go. However, even if I could afford it, I don't have a chance of being Dee Dee's Iditarider in 2009. That privilege has been purchased in advance of the auction for a "mere" $7500.

A quote from Dee Dee: "I don't want to live safe, I want to live full."

While on my fantasy trip, I met Martin Buser, another one of my favorite mushers. Originally from Switzerland, Martin decided to become a U.S. citizen on 9/11 because "this country is worth fighting for." Martin holds the record for the fastest Iditarod ever (8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds, "but who's counting?"), which he raced in 2002, right before being sworn in as a U.S. citizen under the burled arch at the finish line.

Like anyone who is successful, Martin works hard to achieve his goals, but he always keeps a good sense of humor. In 2008 he caused quite a stir when he gave his GPS unit to a pilot and fans wondered what was going on. One of my favorite photos of Martin is when he came into a checkpoint doing a Hula dance after a particularly frustrating run. He whistles and sings to his dogs to encourage them, and he even rigged a giant hamster wheel ("doggie wheel") to help his dogs exercise in the kennel. He and his wife named their sons Nikolai and Rohn, after two Iditarod checkpoints.

A favorite Martin quote: "If everywhere you go is your favorite place, you 're always happy to be there."

Well, I decided that cats can have fantasies too. Here are our two precious kitties, Misty and Moggle as lead dogs . . . er . . . lead cats in the Iditarod. Do you think that if I shook a treat can, like a carrot on a stick, that I could get my cats to run a thousand miles through the snow?

This last photo was created by Brian, an Idita-buddy from the forum. It's a picture of several Idita-buddies under the famed burled arch finish line with mushers Martin Buser, Melanie Gould, Dee Dee Jonrowe, and Lance Mackey (the reigning Iditarod champ). It does seem to be rather strange that the fans are dressed for nice weather, but the mushers (except for Martin) are dressed for an Alaska winter.

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