Good friend and fellow Fairbanks endurance cyclist Kevin Breitenbach shared some incredible memories from last year's Iditarod Trail Invitational on his Facebook page and I told him they needed to be shared elsewhere, in a searchable & linkable place on the interwebs, so they were not lost forever.
I will share his unedited, raw and sleep-deprived memories, one per day for three days, matching the time frame of the race and when he will approximately be in the places where the stories happened. I wish all the racers warm appendages, clear minds, a happy stomach, and a good trail. And for 'K-Bear,' go get 'em, buddy!
2013 ITI Day One:
"First day of the Iditarod Trail Invitational last year it mostly snowed, we pushed across Flathorn Lake and a group of us searched for a solid trail in a dying light through the Dismal Swamp.
By nightfall we had reached the Susitna and soon the confluence with the Yentna. We took a quick break, I ate a 2 day old piece of pizza from the pre party at Speedway cycles. We headed up the Yentna River and the snow stayed steady. We had only gone maybe 50 miles or so but it was just a churn. A few Junior iditarod teams passed us going down river. Craig Medred payed us one last visit on his snow machine. I was starting to think it was going to be a long slow night of riding and pushing a bike.
If it would just stop fucking snowing. I looked over my shoulder down river and there it was, through the clouds, the full moon. It slowly cleared off we passed through the Yentna Station checkpoint around 11 pm. Very little snow had fallen this far north. The river was smooth and fast, riding was easy and the sky was bright with stars, northern lights and the full moon.
Around 1 am I turned off my headlamp and traveled by moonlight. The full landscape was illuminated and the sky was huge. I cast an enormous shadow with the moon to my back. Passing by open leads in the ice moist air settled and hoar frost covered me and my bike. Mind Blown...
Then rode bikes for another 56 hours or something like that and stuff happened then too.
Started my drop bags tonight and got chills when I thought of that."
- Kevin Breitenbach
Follow the racers on the ITI website