Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Lance Mackey has been described as cagey, steadfast, stubborn, cocky, confident, tough, survivor, and a true Alaskan legend!
In 2007, and again in 2008, Lance Mackey made racing history when he won two 1,000 mile races back-to-back, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod, with most of the same dogs - an incredible feat of endurance, long considered almost impossible.
For his achievements Lance was nominated for a 2007 ESPY - Excellence in Sports Performance Award, and in 2008 he was named Sports Illustrated's #2 Toughest Athlete in the World. In September 2008, Versus, a media partner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, conducted their Red, White, Black, and Blue (RWBB) "Cam Pain". Lance Mackey was voted "Toughest Athlete on the Planet". Lance beat out the likes of Bret Farve and another Lance, Lance Armstrong, during the competition.
Lance's indomitable lead dog, Larry, is the only dog in the world to win the coveted Golden Harness Award from both of these grueling races.
Lance, a cancer survivor, comes from a family of sled dog racing champions. His father Dick Mackey helped create the world's most famous race, the 1,049 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, in 1973. Five years later his father won the race by one second in a world-famous photo finish.
Lance, his wife Tonya, and their family make their home, Comeback Kennels, near Fairbanks.
Q&A for Lance from Discovery Channel
What do you find is the biggest challenge when working with animals?
"The biggest challenge working with a large team of dogs is the individual personalities. Like a classroom full of kids, all with issues, wants, questions, some barking wildly to get my attention and then there are some who just do what needs to be done and require only a nod or a smile. Every dog is different. Every need is different. That's what I love. The reward is seeing them all come together as a team working for a common goal. It's just cool."
What made you choose your lead dog?
"Lead dogs are not 'chosen' to be leaders, they are either born with the drive to lead or they are not, and from that, only a few become GREAT leaders. Like Larry or Zorro."
How long does it take to train the dogs for the amount of endurance required?
"It is a year-round effort training and conditioning the dogs. Like any athlete, it is a lifestyle of proper nutrition and a good exercise program. We start serious physical and mental training the first of September to race a thousand mile endurance race like the Yukon Quest or Iditarod."
How do you keep yourself motivated when you're on the trail?
"My motivation is a strong determination to do well and showing everyone the full potential of my dogs. The reality is, I want to make my dogs proud of me. I work as hard as they do and I think they know that. There is nothing more rewarding than happy, enthusiastic dogs at the end of a race. It's difficult to explain. It's just a tremendous drive and a want."
What do you think is your biggest strength and/or weakness when competing?
"My strength is my determination to do well. I am good under pressure, I find it very motivating. I thrive on those that say to me 'can't do' and I don't need much sleep. My weakness when competing — when I do sleep, I sleep hard. What I lack physically, I make up for mentally. For me, it's all about appetite and attitude."
I asked my friend, Janet Tremer, to add her impressions of Lance. Janet has been Lance's Idita-rider the past 2 years.
"What attracted me to Lance Mackey originally was an article in 2006 about him stopping on the sea ice outside of Nome. Why did he stop? To thank his dogs and to celebrate the moment with them before the chaos of crossing under the Burled Arch was upon them. Anyone who loves his dogs that much and who after 9 sleep deprived days and 1,000+ miles under brutal conditions still has the presence of mind and the spirit to live in the moment and to stop and smell the roses on the frozen Bering Sea in order to celebrate life, gets my vote.
I've learned under countless circumstances what a heart this man has and how thankful he is for what he has. While riding in his sled in 2007 & 2008 Ceremonial Starts, I was priviledged to hear him thank every single volunteer and police officer who helped with the race. The people poured out love and good wishes to him as we passed and he loved the fans right back, thanking them for coming out to support the race. I've watched him in checkpoints on the frozen Yukon ask for little and expect nothing while taking time to chat with the checkpoint volunteers and residents. Lance clearly loves life and his enthusiasm for it is infectious."
Janet and Lance
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Cold snap headed to Interior Alaska
By Tim Mowry
Published Saturday, December 27, 2008
FAIRBANKS — The winter’s first cold snap is about to hit, and it won’t be pretty.
“It could be cold enough to freeze warts,” quipped Bob Fischer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.
Not to worry, Fischer reassured, that’s just meteorological humor. Temperatures won’t reach that of liquid nitrogen — minus 423.17 degrees Fahrenheit — but it’s probably going to be colder than Interior residents have seen it in a long time and for a longer period of time.
Temperatures are expected to start falling today, and by Sunday night lows are expected to be in the minus 30 to minus 40 range. After that, it’s simply a matter of time before clouds move out of the area and temperatures bottom out, Fischer said.
“Once the skies clear, we’re going to see lows in the minus 40s in the Fairbanks area and minus 50s in some of the colder outlying areas with no ice fog,” Fischer predicted, adding that the coldest temperatures will likely be in the eastern Interior near Tok and the Canada border.
There is no end in sight to the bitter cold that will envelope the region, either, according to the forecasting models Fischer and other meteorologists are looking at.
“Current indications are that it will last at least seven to 10 days, or even longer,” Fischer said. “Once it gets cold, it’s going to stay cold. We’re locked into this pattern for the foreseeable future.”
The cold temperatures are the result of a cold air mass over northwest Canada that is moving toward Alaska, Fischer said.
“That air is going to infiltrate slowly to the south and more cold air is going to develop in place over the eastern Interior,” he said.
With little or no warming from the sun at this time of year, daytime highs probably won’t be much warmer than nighttime lows, Fischer said.
“Fairbanks will probably see temperatures of 35 to 40 below for highs and 40s below for lows,” he said. “It probably won’t be more than 5 degrees between the lows and highs.”
Temperatures in the hills also will be cold, though it will be slightly warmer at higher elevations than in town, Fischer said.
The last time Fairbanks had a cold snap in which the low temperature hit 40 below or colder for 10 days in a row was in January 1989, one of the coldest winters on record at the National Weather Service, Fischer said. That cold snap lasted 14 days, from Jan. 5-18.
“Some of the worst cold waves on record have gone on for three weeks,” Fischer noted. “This could turn into one of those.”
So far this winter, Fairbanks has avoided any prolonged stretches of severe cold weather. The coldest temperature so far this winter has been 31 below on Dec. 2, the only time the temperature has hit 30 below this winter.
Keep up with Fairbanks weather conditions here:http://newsminer.com/arcticcam/
This is Buddy blogging today and I am hopping mad!
Every report that I have seen covering this story has given it a negative slant, referring to this poor, innocent fella as a "shoplifter", "thief", even "dirty rotten scoundrel".
Did any of you humans consider a different scenario here?
It was Christmas Day, the dog appeared to be well groomed and fed, friendly, and he knew his way around the store.
Could it be that this pup was on a special mission, helping Santa Claws deliver Ho Ho Ho to homeless dogs and cats? Santa sent him in to retrieve just one more bone (that's all he took)...
Look carefully People, he looks like a jolly SLED dog to me. Rr-UH!!!
I think Santa's Canine Helper deserves a public apology.
I'll be watching and waiting, CNN!!!
Wroooo! Wroooo! Wroooo!
Friday, December 26, 2008
No, it's not Marley and Me-
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I did continue one tradition this year, displaying Daddy's Santa mugs set. Daddy made these adorable Santa pitcher and mugs in 1963, when we were stationed in Albany, GA. I remember one year he served beer to all his "Jarhead" buddies in the Santa mugs-good memories.
HO! HO! HO!
Monday, December 22, 2008
So now I pass this award/meme on. I know it's close to Christmas and if you don't have time, don't worry about it...
Ho Ho Ho!
1. Kelli at Kelli's Blog
With so many impressive mushers to choose from you might think it was difficult to make my first choice.
But I had no doubt; I must pay tribute to my favorite musher of all time: Susan Butcher.
Susan Howlet Butcher was an animal lover, a business woman, a wife and a mother. Susan was the reason I became interested in the Iditarod and dog sledding many years ago.
Each year I taught a Winter unit in my classroom. As part of the unit my class would watch and discuss Reading Rainbow episode #805, "Snowy Day: Stories and Poems", featuring Susan. I remember being surprised to learn that Susan was born in Massachusetts (East Coast girl, like me), a year younger than I, and she moved to the Wrangell Mountains area of Alaska, at the age of 20, to pursue her love of the wilderness and animals.
Butcher won the Iditarod four times in five years, so often that "Iditarod," as well as the sport of mushing, became synonymous with her name. Her success led to the saying, “Alaska: where men are men and women win the Iditarod".
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said, "No one exemplifies the spirit of Iditarod more than Susan Butcher. She was a great role model for so many Alaskans, including me. I greatly admire her perseverance, dedication and competitiveness.”
On December 2, 2005 Susan Butcher was diagnosed with leukeacute myelogenous mia, which manifested as a blood disorder three years earlier. She underwent chemotherapy at the University of Washington, and received a bone marrow transplant on May 17, 2006 after the cancer went into remission. According to her husband David Monson, "someone said this might be a tough disease, but this leukemia hasn't met Susan Butcher yet." Butcher died on August 5, 2006 after fighting graft-versus-host disease and learning that the cancer had returned. She is survived by her two daughters, Tekla and Chisana, and her husband, attorney and musher David Monson. On March 1, 2008, Susan Butcher was honored by the State of Alaska when, just prior to the start of the 2008 Iditarod, Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill establishing the first Saturday of every March as Susan Butcher Day. The day coincides with the traditional start of the Iditarod each year. Observing the special day, the bill noted, provides opportunity for people to “remember the life of Susan Butcher, an inspiration to Alaskans and to millions around the world.” (wikipedia)
I would love to hear your memories of Susan...Please share in comments. (it's easy and pls post your location, thx)
Any guesses on next week's featured musher? I bet Ms. Janet knows...
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
As ~L put it, "...It's a good thing to get out of the comfort zone once in a while...makes us grow..." Thanks for the encouragement, ~L.
I am a loyal viewer of Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Arctic Cam. Through this site I have met many new and exciting people from all over the world, who share my love of Alaska. We have developed genuine friendships.
Lance Mackey and Janet
2008 Iditarod Ceremonial Start
The staff of the DNM (Julie, Venus) and an AC friend (Faith) decorated this lovely tree today in the DNM parking lot for all of us viewers...I'm telling you, this is really a special place with special people.
Isn't it lovely? Thanks, Ladies!
Here's a cool video showing them trimming the tree:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AByW7WVeH7g (thx, miganut and Mark)Arctic Cam: http://newsminer.com/arcticcam/