Over the past year, I have been back and forth if logistically I can move to Alaska for four months to complete the three Iditarod qualifying races. After some time home in Nova Scotia my Dad said, “If you want to do it, you better do it now and not wait.” Those words hit me pretty hard knowing racing in the Iditarod is something I want to do, and just like anything in life, there is no reason to wait for it. I messaged Sebastian letting him know I am willing and able to come for the full time needed. After sending the message I felt good. Felt like I had a clear path on what the next 6-8 months of my life would look like.
After about a week he responds saying he is unsure if he can take me on because family reasons would keep him in Germany for the beginning part of the season. Also, Sebastian is at the tail end of his mushing career, and his kennel doesn’t have enough dogs for me to have my own team. After trying to coordinate the use of one of his house guests dogs that ended up falling through he suggested I give Ken Anderson a call. Ken Anderson is a 16-time finisher of the Iditarod and 5-time finisher of the Quest. A little discouraged at this point I figured I have nothing to loose by trying to work with someone else.
I sent Ken an email introducing myself and saying I have limited dog sledding experience however I want to come up this year and complete the CB300, northern lights 300, and gin gin or two rivers dog sledding races.
He responded back with, “That's a pretty ambitious goal”.
We set a time to talk on the phone and got to introduce each other. I could tell right away my experience working with Ken would be very different from working with Sebastian. Sebastian is a single, middle-aged man with no kids and has a strong personality. While living in the same house as Sebastian, each day we would recap on everything we did and the lessons he taught me. Ken, on the other hand, has a calm personality, wife, and 3 kids. Ken said he has a smaller cabin with no running water and spotty internet on his property that I would reside. Ken also explains that when the kids are home in the evenings and weekends he needs privacy. These differences were leading me to believe that I would be up in Alaska, in a little cabin by myself. I was looking for a fun adventure, not to be in a cabin without a bathroom, the internet, and anyone to hangout with.
I was almost to the point where I said, “I can’t do it.” I had a good chat with my friend Nadine and she said, “You have always wanted to do this, and you can’t let the fear of being "lonely" stand in your way.” She also felt like it would be good for me to overcome this weakness.
Well fast forward two weeks later, Ken and I agreed on the price of $250 a day, I registered for the Copper Basin 300, Northern Lights 300 and the Knik 200 and booked a plane ticket for October 17th.