Issue 54: Baked Alaska (Premier Content)

John Ross travelled from Bristol to Alaska to race the 2009 Iditarod Trail Invitational in some of the worst weather the event has ever seen. How would a Somerset boy cope with the Arctic tundra?

A 350 mile race.
In Alaska.
In February
Carrying all your gear.
Are they insane?

alaska3

I’m not normally very good at getting out of bed. In fact, that’s probably an understatement. The snooze
button on my alarm is almost worn out and every morning I’m the last person to arrive in the office. This
morning was different. Despite having only shut my eyes two hours ago, the transition between REM and
action was instantaneous. As I fumbled to turn off my watch alarm and undo the baffles on my sleeping bag
several things occurred to me:

1. That was a really good sleep.
2. It’s quiet outside. Good, that means the blizzard has died down.
3. It’s getting light. Excellent! I might be able to pick out some of the lead group’s tracks in the snow.
4. I’d better get a move on – this is a race and I won’t get to do it again.

And what a race it is. This was my fourth night in the Alaskan wilderness. The start seemed a very long time ago…

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