Word is the trail is hard, icy, and fast this year. But 2013 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey doesn’t put much stock into rumors. He says, “to be truthful, it never is the way people say it is before the start. So we’ll see what it is when we get there.”
Seavey feels confident about his team’s ability to handle whatever the trail brings, saying that they’re “ready to go.” And if the trail does turn out to be hard and fast, his lean dogs may have a slight advantage, not bringing extra weight along.
Last years’ champion, Mitch Seavey’s kennel is strong, and it shows. Son Conway just won the Junior Iditarod for the second year in a row. Mitch’s 31-year-old son Danny joins the Iditarod for the third time this year, coming back to the race after a 7-year hiatus. And another Seavey contender is the 2012 champ, Mitch’s 26-year-old son Dallas, who has finished in the top 10 every year since 2009.
Will the Seavey’s continue their reign? Mitch says it takes a good team as well as a lot of luck. “There are only 3 in the top 3, and everyone’s trying to guess who they are.”
Seems that Jeff King is always trying new ways to innovate his equipment and make his race more smooth. He is responsible afterall for the sit-down sled, allowing mushers some time off their feet while on the move. This “latest invention” years ago has become a standard choice for many long-distance mushers.
This year, Jeff King’s sled has a trailer and a little more room. He tried out his new set up in this year’s K300, a competitive mid-distance race, where he finished just behind champion Rohn Buser. King claims, when faced with icy, hard trail conditions, “I hit less things when I keep the weight behind me in that trailer.”
Compared to other mushers battling a season of warm weather and low snow, King feels confident in the amount of training he was able to pack on his team this year. He says they’ve been on a strict training schedule since October: “We’ve got some of the best training I’ve ever had in,…the team is prepared as they can be.”
This year’s race includes some steep competition with the addition of Norwegian mushing elite to the usual pack of Alaskan favorites: the Seaveys, Zirkle, Gatt, Neff, Buser, Burmeister,…the list goes on. Jeff King is excited about the “keen competition.” It will just come down to who makes the least errors on the trail: “Dog mushing is about not making errors. And I’m going to do my best not to make any errors this year.”