Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beargrease Part 2: Being a Fan Girl

The day before a sled dog race is a great time to be a fan. Marcy and I woke up early, put on as many layers as we could, and headed out to vet checks. We were earlier than most of the mushers, and it didn't take us long in the sub-zero air to realize we needed more layers, so we headed to Minnesota Surplus Outfitters to buy more stuff. Armed with new ski masks and mittens, we headed back to the vet checks.

It was then my long-time dream of meeting an Iditarod musher was finally fulfilled four times over. The first Iditarod musher I met was Cindy Gallea. She gladly posed for a picture with me.

The second Iditarod musher I met was Jason Barron. He's quite famous, and I really wanted to meet him. When I saw his truck with lots of handlers milling around, I asked one of the guys which one was Jason. "I am," he replied. I'd seen him on TV, but somehow he didn't look the same in person. "Can I help you with something?" he asked. "Oh, I'm just a fan," I replied. "Of me, or of the race?" "The race--oh, and you too." I'm surprised he still talked to me after that, but he was very sweet and posed for a photo with me.

Most of the dogs that race are Alaskan huskies, another name for a high-tech mutt bred for racing. Most people comment that they are smaller and skinnier than they expected. I guess they are kind of like marathon runners--lean and made for running.

Inside the bar, where the mushers registered before vet check, I got to meet two more Iditarod mushers: Blake and Jen Freking. I recognized them right away. I even confessed to Blake that up until the week before the race, I thought they were from the country of Finland. (They're actually from a town in Minnesota called Finland.) The word "sauna" appropriately appears behind our photo. (Saunas originated in Finland--the country--and the Frekings like saunas too.)

The Frekings race Siberian huskies--beautiful dogs that are what most people think of when they think of sled dogs.

To see my video of vet checks, click here.

To see more Beargrease photos, click here.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm usually WARM when I go out in sub-zero weather. But I'm usually not out that long, and even though the rest of me is warm my face is always freezing.