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In Takotna, the Brothers Smyth

What’s it like to have a brother on the Iditarod trail?

Cim Smyth – who’s mushed in the Iditarod alongside his brother Ramey for years – says it’s “nice” to be able to “bounce things off each other.”

The family support may be a welcome relief: the Big Lake, Alaska musher says it’s been a “tough” race this year, citing deep snow and especially muscle soreness with some of his sled dogs.

Cim isn’t counting himself out of the running, but in his interview with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen in Takotna, he describes his recent Iditarod races as being on a type of “self destruct” mode. It’s “a complicated game,” he says, in which “a little bit of luck” can play a big role:

Ramey Smyth, meanwhile, had the health of his sled dogs on his mind during our interview in Takotna.

The Willow, Alaska musher was giving his dogs a walk when we caught up with him, giving them a bit of light exercise to help ward off muscle soreness after the exertion of 300 miles on the trail. In the wake of a “stomach bug” that hit some of his dogs, Ramey also said that he was hoping to restore their body weight, alongside their health.

In light of the issues with his dogs – whose health Ramey Smyth prioritizes – the musher said he had to revise his plans for the trail beyond Takotna. Normally he’d “race like heck,” but now, his “main hope” is simply to finish with his dogs in good shape.

As for his brother, Ramey said that he expects Cim to move up in the standings. He may not overtake John Baker, Ramey said, but “he’ll come close.”