February 3rd, 2012 by LittlestMusher | Posted in Be The Lead Dog, Lead Dog Leadership
Tags: Applying the Lessons From the Dogs, Be the Lead Dog, Canine-Inspired Life, Iditarod, Leadership, life lessons from the dogs, self-mastery, Team Performance
Iditarod® drops tough section of trail
By KYLE HOPKINS Published: 02/02/12 20:06:00
Iditarod officials plan to snip one of the most dangerous sections of the Last Great Race from this year’s trail.
For the first time, the race route will include a short detour bypassing the notorious Happy River Steps, said race marshal Mark Nordman.
Feared by rookie mushers and respected by veterans who meet the steep switchbacks with a rush of adrenaline, the Steps live in Iditarod infamy. A place of busted sleds and broken bones.
You can read the full story online at: http://www.adn.com/2012/02/02/2297304/iditarod-mushers-now-have-a-safer.html
So what do you think about the change? Please drop me a comment and let me know!
I am of mixed emotions. “THE STEPS” was the one thing that I feared the most about attempting Iditarod. One night a few months before Iditarod, I actually cried myself to sleep, sobbing at the thought that I didn’t want to die. Like all myths, urban legends and similar bogeymen, it takes on an outsized persona and reputation, growing nastier with the retelling and looming large in the minds of rookies especially.
No doubt, it can be nasty. It can also be fun. I got lucky…my year it was fun. My heart was in my throat as my leaders saw the entrance to the first step and dove over the edge…and once we got into it, I thought “Hey! I can do this!” and the dogs were clearly having a blast.
I am sad to see the Race, as many challenging things in modern life, continue this insipid crawl toward being watered down. I certainly don’t want to see dogs and people hurt, yet…it’s also part of the mystique and the wonder that is Iditarod. I won’t bore you with the platitudes about the statistical realities of easily getting hurt crossing the street in your hometown. But a big part of Iditarod is the mental challenge, the self-mastery it requires of each of us. Diminishing that challenge, bit by bit, a knick at a time, leads me to wonder what will end up being left. Not now necessarily, as Nordman points out there’s still the Gorge, et. al. But we’re on a slippery slope if not toward mediocrity, then at least toward “ho hum ness.” Nobody was particularly happy with the Iditarod experience running out of Fairbanks that year, and that’s one of the reasons they swear “never again.” Much safer, but pretty damn boring for mushers and fans alike to see teams travelling up and down the Yukon.
If I was a rookie this year I’d be relieved, but I’d also feel more than a little bit robbed…
So what do you think of this change? Thumbs up or thumbs down? Would you make the same decision on the trail route? How do you feel as a race fan?
Thanks! — Liz
Iditarod’s Littlest Musher
Teaching others self-mastery through living a “Canine-Inspired Life™!”