Today I received a prize in the mail - a stainless steel mug that reads "Susitna 100 finisher" on it. Everyone who posted finishing times in the race wins the same. Since I've already plowed through all the Pepsi and Goldfish within chowing range, I thought I'd improvise on Kevin's request and make a self portrait of myself having my evening herbal in my "major award." Sorry, Kevin ... I can't sign it because I don't own any photo editing software. Plus, that's just an identity theft waiting to happen.
I look forward to putting this mug to good use this weekend when I kick back to watch the check-in times on the Iditarod Trail Invitational. This race makes the Susitna 100 look like a few turns down the Bunny Slope. I'd like to try it next year. I really mean that. With a little bike investment, a little more practice and a lot of workouts, it's not totally incomprehensible. By 2007, Geoff will be ready to take on the 350 miles to McGrath on foot anyway, so I sure as Susitna should be able to do it on a bike. Unless the trail conditions are bad ... how long is 350 miles at 2.5 mph?
As for this weekend, I'll be cheering on local rider Adam Bartlett, Alaska Magazine columnist Ned Rozell on skis, and my boy from back home - Eric Johnson of Utah on foot. In the long race, I'm watching out for Kathi Merchant of Chickaloon. She's a woman. She's Alaskan. And she's riding her bike to Nome. I am in awe.
I forgot to link this before, but I answered "20 questions" for Daniel of St. Louis. Daniel was kind. They're mostly softballs. But as for the Iditarod Invitational, which begins Saturday, I encourage all to join me, Tim, Old Bag and everyone else who has committed to kicking back with rich food, a warm hearth, and good vibes for those who are still out there, suffering toward wisps of glory in the endless snow.