Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hard Fought Finish Line: 10d 21h 18m 24s

"The dogs did exactly as I trained them to run," AJ said shortly before he fell asleep after 10 days, 21 hours, 18 minutes and 24 seconds on the trail, and a 33rd place finish.
 
Yes, the dogs did quite well. They led him through terrain, the likes of which he hopes never to see again. They darted through ferocious winds to deliver him to the next checkpoint. And, in the final seventy-seven mile stretch, caught in a blow hole, AJ trusted the dogs he could no longer see in the whiteout conditions. Out of a band of amazing canine athletes and partners who did he choose to lift above his head to touch paw to burled arch?---The whimsical Louisa Mae. Having led sporadically throughout the season she did not rank among his main leaders going into the race. Yet, this sweet girl led the team for the final 200 miles of the race and across the finish line in a race that will go down in Iditarod history.

Stories are slowly being shared about the difficulty of the race---the details may not come at all---yet each tale is punctuated by the black bruises that span the length of AJ's body. It was a hard fought finish line.

And now, we rest.

***
It was an honor to dedicate our 2014 Iditarod to Melanie.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Congratulations to Louisa Mae. A good strong dog with a nose for Nome. And also congrats to AJ and Rebecca. What a pair of strong friends.