The main focus this week is the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, where mushers leave Willow, Alaska and don’t stop until they reach Nome, 1049 miles later. What is lesser know is the Iditarod Trail Invitational a bike and walker race which follows the same famed route and starts a week before the dog race. Some participants ride fat tire bikes while others walk, pulling sleds. These are tough sons-of-guns.
The bike’s tires are fat to let them travel over the same trails that dog teams and snow machines travel. Water needs to be kept from freezing to prevent dehydration. Strategies need to be considered to keep from freezing to death. Image pedaling all day long in sub-zero temperatures. You need to where clothing that will wick moisture and keep you from overheating. But, the minute you stop you need to have access to arctic wear to keep your body temp from plummeting.
The pictures above are of Billy Koitzsh (orange) and Bob Ostrom during the 2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational. They are about to leave the Koyuk checkpoint, 180 miles from Nome, after a much needed respite after crossing 50 miles of sea ice over Norton Sound. Billy has lost two toes to frostbite in previous races and was to have another one amputated when he got home. While Bob ended his journey in Nome and won the bike portion of the Invitational, Billy continued on to Fairbanks for a total of 200o miles on snow and ice. DPchallenge.