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The King Mantra

Jeff King has an suggestion for future runnings of the Iditarod: schedule the race around the lunar calendar, so mushers can enjoy a full moon while on the trail.

In his interview with Laureli Kinneen in the checkpoint of Ruby, the former Iditarod champion was full of praise for the gorgeous moon of the night before, which contributed to the run from Cripple to Ruby being, in his own words, one of the “top ten” of his long mushing career.

In Ruby, King seemed in good shape, as did his dogs. “I’m excited as heck to race ’em,” he said, noting that his 2012 team may be the “prettiest” he’s ever raced.

He also shared the “mantra” that he says is guiding him in his Iditarod run: “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” “There’s a magic speed,” King says, “that the dogs perform best at,” in which they “have the most energy to give and, ultimately, get you down the trail.”

He emphasized, however, that the Iditarod “is a challenging trail”:

It’s a long way, and you better understand weather, and wilderness, and dogs, and have your lucky charm strapped around your neck, because a lot happens out there.

With all of those challenges, it just might be good to have a mantra.

Hear Jeff King in Ruby: