Around about this time of year -- if you are of a certain mind -- it becomes impossible not to think about riding (or racing, depending) the Iditarod Trail Invitational in AK. I participated in some variation on that event for almost 20 years, and that sort of addiction doesn't just go away without a 12 step program. At minimum... ;)
I am neither racing nor riding this year. Won't even be in AK.
But my lovely wife Jeny has been bitten by that bug, and is deeply immersed into her planning, prep, and training for the event.
She won't be racing, will emphatically be touring the route. Even with all of the online info available (maps, gps tracks, trip write-ups, etc...) for a rookie it's very difficult to be competitive. Add in work stress and commitments and it just isn't reasonable for Jeny to commit the time to training that she would need to really race. She gets that, and she's OK with it. In some ways, removing the pressure of racing makes the event more alluring, in that you know you won't be suffering, head down the whole time -- you give yourself permission to look around, sniff the roses as it were.
Laying the foundation: A schedule of ride days (and nights, after work), recovery days, and days devoted to gear prep.
All my years of racing I was so immersed in planning, prepping, and training, that I didn't have time to really share the process as it happened. In some ways that's good -- it's not that exciting.
In other ways it's a bummer, because there are lots of opportunities to be creative as you ready yourself for the ITI. Even though fatbikes and the associated accoutrements are a dime a dozen these days, the nitty gritty decisions that you need to make to arrive at Knik truly prepared for the route are anything but obvious unless you live there. And we live a very, very long ways from there.
So, over the next ~month+ I'll be documenting, a little at a time, Jeny's path toward the ITI. Not having done this before I'm not exactly sure how it's going to shake out. Bear with me, and feel free to ask questions as we go -- or even in advance if there's something you really want to know more about. I'll do my best to accommodate.