On February 24, 125 athletes set out on a challenge that will take them through some of the harshest terrains in the world. A journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska over 130 miles. The Iditasport follows the infamous Iditarod Trail that has been put dogs and humans in the competition since 1970.
The trail is has packed snow covering and is marked for both day night travel with brightly-colored and reflective markers. The trail crosses through majestic forests, rolling hills, frozen rivers, and lots of cold snow.
Racers will be competing for a $10k+ purse. There are prizes award to top finishers in each category and an overall winner. Mike Curiak of Grand Junction, a former winner of the race said his biggest prize was to finish the race with all his fingers and toes!
The race has three separate divisions - ski, bike, or foot. In the 2000 Iditasport, 53% of the athletes biked, 37% participated on foot, with 10% on skis. Bicycles have consistently proven to be the fastest human-powered mode of transportation in Iditasport's 11-year history. Competitors using bicycles have won every Iditasport except the 1991 race, won by Fairbanks, Alaska skier Bob Baker.
The rules of the Iditasport are kept simple. You simply must camp out the first night and carry that gear the whole way. Racers will be disqualified if caught getting rid of camping gear in drop bags or checkpoints, or adding camping gear along the way.
The Course The course begins at Knik Lake, Alaska, the birthplace of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and follows the Iditarod Trail 130 miles to Finger Lake, nestled on the southern slopes of the Alaska Range. The 30 miles to the first checkpoint crosses the Little Susitna River and onto Flathorn Lake, where the mandatory campout will be enforced at a surprise location. The race resumes the next morning at 8:00am with racers going out in the time and order they arrived at the checkpoint the previous day. The course finds its way to the Susitna River and up the Yentna River to the Yentna Station checkpoint (mile 60). The trail continues up the Yentna River another 30 miles to the checkpoint at the Skwentna Roadhouse (mile 90). Leaving the river systems, the course then heads overland into the Shell Hills to the Shell Lake Lodge checkpoint (mile 105). The final stretch follows the Iditarod Trail to Finger Lake and the finish line at Winter Lake Lodge (mile 130).