As I reclined comfortably in my first-class seat, fizzy beverage in hand, looking down from 30,000' at the country I'd just spent 3 weeks toiling across, the thought process rolling through my brain went something like this:
I'm pretty sure I'm done Idita-ing. There are lots of enjoyable sections of The Trail that I would love to see and experience again, but given what a gamble it is with weather and trail conditions, as well as how much $$$$ goes into just trying, I feel like I've seen what I need to see. 4 complete trips to Nome, 5 as far as Unk, 7 to McGrath.
That, and there's a lotta this big wide world I haven't seen yet, and that doesn't smell like diesel fuel and dogshit.
I did have a wild-hair type idea while slogging from Iditarod to Shageluk at .2mph: Why not organize a relay of sorts to see just how fast the Iditarod Trail can be done under human power?
Inspired by the Serum Run way back when, we'd assemble 15 or 20 past/present racers, let them choose the section they want to ride, have Red Bull foot the bill and film it, and be able to ride fast and light across one of the most incredible backcountry routes on this planet. Across the whole damn state of Alaska.
Over the course of a day-and-a-half of postholing I imagined then addressed each of the attendant parts of such an undertaking.
Then an opportunistic badass named Jeff Oatley crushed the living hell out of the course this year, going faster than anyone ever imagined possible with course conditions that were, honestly, unimaginable. 10 freaking days.
I believe that right there is the answer to 'how fast can it be done'. I don't believe anyone will come within 4 or even 5 days of that pace again--at least not in my lifetime.
So that answered that.
If someone else gets a wild hair to organize such a relay, I'll throw my hat in for Elim to Golovin.
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