Last year, I started my run in the Iditarod swinging for a homerun right out of the starting gate. We did well for a while, but a gift basket assortment of nagging injuries left over from the Beargrease the month prior knocked me back somewhat, and a wicked nasty case of the doggy flu pretty much finished me off by the time I reached the Yukon.

From Ruby on, I threw on the air brakes and just focused on getting my ass to Nome–stopping for exorbitant rests at every single opportunity that presented itself. Teams that were running from 18-24 hours behind me up to that point eventually caught me and passed me. I was effectively running in the middle of the pack.

Oh well–that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I met some pretty neat people while I was limping along–Pete Kaiser was one of them. He was a rookie, but already I could see the beginnings of the young man who the next year would run one of the best second year races I’ve ever seen.

Bruce Linton, a nice fellow that caught me at Old Woman. He stopped in there for a few hours and left before me on the way to Unalakleet. He drove off without his ziplock baggy full of cash, identification papers, and credit cards, and I ended up bringing them with me when I followed after a few hours later. You can’t imagine his relief when I saw him in Unk and told them I had them…as we speak, he’s in a foot race with Matt Hayashida on the way between Safety and Nome.

Michelle Phillips also caught me as I rested in Old Woman–it was the first time I’d seen her since the musher draw back in Anchorage. We ran together on the way to Unk on a morning as cold as any I care to remember–camped side by side once we made it to town, then ran together to Shaktoolik. We were going to run together some more, at least across Norton Sound, but my team was still dreadfully tired at the appointed time of departure, and I had to say goodbye. She’s a lovely, dignified woman, and I was really happy to watch her cruise into a very competitive 17th place finish in Nome this year.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

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6 Responses to “Inbound”

  1. Very interesting read. You’re a good writer.

  2. great stories, nie that someone is covering the back of the pack, cheers jason!, there must be millions of stories like that from over the yrears we just never hear about.. i love those human interest tales from the trail.

  3. reat idea jason…Now folks will see what an amzing writer you are…Its about time we had another writer like Hemingway! Carrie

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