Yesterday was the day it really hit home. The fact that I’m about to head out on this amazing adventure is now more real than ever before!
In the morning I attended the Musher Meeting. This is a required meeting for all the mushers where they get their updates on the trail, take care of their last paperwork, and get their last briefings before they head out on the trail. I felt like a kid in a candy store! My heart was pounding and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I met Monica Zappa in real life which was amazing! She has so much energy and enthusiasm for what she is about to undertake. She says she is ready to get out of town and get on the trail. She has 20 dogs ready to go and will make her final decisions this weekend.
The mushers I talked to all said that the committee is reporting that the trail is much better than people were expecting. Crews have been working hard to keep the trail in great shape.
I also got to meet and talk with Nathan Schroder who is the musher I will be riding with for the ceremonial start. I will have lots more on him tomorrow… but for now, he is a great guy and assures me he will not tip the sled on the big turn out of town!
At lunchtime, the mushers met with their Idita-riders for a pizza lunch. It was so fun to get to hang out and chat with the mushers in a casual environment. Monica’s rider is a fifth grade boy. What an adventure he’s going to have!
Last evening was the Musher Draw Banquet so we now have a starting order for the race! The evening was started with music from Hobo Jim, and quite appropriately the first song was The Iditarod Trail Song!
It was a wonderful evening filled with energy and excitement as the mushers dined with friends and fans, thanked their sponsors, drew their numbers and signed a bunch of
autographs. For the first time, I actually stood in the autograph chute line… my eight year old son is in town and he really wanted to get everyone’s autographs, so we did! The mushers coming through the chute couldn’t have been more wonderful. They stopped and chatted, said thanks for the support, and were so excited to be there.
The countdown is on! They are doing their last preparations today. There are several volunteer meetings at the Millennium today and later the Idita-riders have a meeting to learn what to do with their special roles. Tonight the city of Anchorage will prepare for tomorrow. They will bring in the snow and hang the starting line on Fourth Avenue and then tomorrow it begins! Can’t believe it’s really here!