Thursday, January 20, 2011

The IditaTour: Part three.

The last ~7 days of my 2010 self-supported Iditarod trip.

I feel a need to reiterate: My energies were largely devoted to forward motion, leaving the camera a distant afterthought. Especially, and oh so critically, on this leg of the trip where my daily caloric deficit caught up to and passed me by, asleep trailside.

I did the best I could rendering these stills and clips into a story. And it is important to dwell on the fact that it is "a" story, but far from the complete story. I have no idea how to objectively film myself falling to pieces over and over the way I did on the way up to Shaktoolik and then Koyuk. I wish someone had--it would have been hilarious, right up until it became too pathetic to watch. Increasing calories (by eating 'ahead' into my rations) made all the difference--bringing me back from the brink and into a coherent, forward moving human in just a few hours. Had I been a day later getting to where I was, that wouldn't have been an option, and my predicament would have gotten interestinger and interestinger.

Completing the trip that I did, in the style that I chose, is probably the most rewarding thing I've yet done. The difficulties went beyond the mental and physical relatively early on, and took me to lows and highs that I didn't expect and could never have prepared for.

That said, I'd encourage anyone considering duplicating this trip to think twice, thrice if necessary. It's about the worst way to experience The Trail and bush Alaska. At least from my perspective.

It is almost unbelievable the amount of time that goes into putting a video like this together. Darn near a full-time job. Hope that it provides entertainment, inspiration, and maybe even a bit of education to someone, somewhere.




  1. You should really put all three parts together onto a DVD or something, and send it off to PBS, or National Geographic and see if they will turn it into a documentary or put in on TV. I think it is something everyone should see. Really good job on all the editing.

    Loved it.

  2. The words at 11:49;

    "...there is only so much you can do. But, if you do that much then you really do get somewhere...."

    thanks for this Mike....much much appreciated.


  3. Mike,

    I've enjoyed your blog, pictures and videos for some time, but the last few days have taken it to another level. You did something really neat by sharing your expeirence with us and I thank you for it. AMAZING!

  4. Left me with a strange feeling

    Thanks Mike

    bonking is a way of bike for some of us, wonder why its so rare for you

  5. thanks for putting the video's and pic's together for us, you didn't have to, but you did. it's most likely the only way i'll ever experience that bit of trail.


  6. Mike: Terrific series...thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Among the things that I don't understand is that I am at once awed and yet not all inspired to try anything close. Beautiful product.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing and making the effort. Great musical choices, great documentary film making Mike "Burns."

    Two images captured my imagination: The owl talons next (in??) the trap, the child peeking through the fence. Both suggest so much more to the story. Of course, like you say, this is just a taste.


  9. "Hope that it provides entertainment, inspiration, and maybe even a bit of education to someone, somewhere."

    It has.

    Amazing job. This has been the best movie I have seen in years. Would be interested in seeing/hearing about some of you film equipment/camera choices.

    Again, just amazing to watch. Thank you so much.


  10. Thanks a ton for your efforts on this film. Creative on so many levels. The only thing I think is needed to make this a smash hit with the general public is an occasional shot of a map showing the insane distances you are traveling and more clear reminders that you are doing this totally self supported. Your films are just fantastic. Thanks again. Jared

  11. What's next?

    Kind of a hard act to follow but I am sure you will come up with something, or maybe the something? Best of luck in whatever it is and thanks for taking the time to take the time it takes to do a project like this from start to finish.

  12. Really nice work on the video. Thank you for sharing your trip -- you give the rest of us inspiration.

  13. inspirational stuff, thanks for sharing it

    rider from Finland

  14. Thanks for the "taste" It is a we bit morcel of somthing I myself will never get a chance to savor. The dedication to documenting this journey for others to experience is commendable, THANK YOU!!

  15. Wow, these last 3 vids were incredible.
    Two Thumbs up
    Five Stars and
    a fresh tomato

  16. Thanks very much for doing this Mike. Really enjoyable. Really terrific. I also urge you to consider what Logan suggests. Thanks again.

  17. Excellent article! It's good for any fresh blogger such as me personally.

  18. You used the wrd "thrice". Conan would be proud.

  19. I finally found some time to watch the series, I'm glad I did.


  20. Mike,
    I a newcomer to bikepacking and long-distance cycling, though a lifelong cyclist. What I most love about cycling is that, even after 32 years of life, I continually find new ways to experience the world from the seat of a bike. Thank you for further broadening my horizons.

    Nick Legan

  21. Wow. Thought provoking and inspiring story telling. This should be on Discovery Channel. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

  22. Just finished watching the 3 episodes. Amazing. Just amazing. Beyond words. Thanks for bothering to share this experience. And success in all your plans.