Saturday, February 14, 2015

Iditarod stressing

So it is about 2 weeks to go to Iditarod.  This week I have been stressing it quit a bit for two reasons.

One, I am freaking out about possible super cold temps.  It took me awhile to figure why this was bothering me much more than last year, then it dawned on me that last year was the winter of polar vortexes.  It seemed like every other day I could go out in -20F weather with strong winds bringing the wind chill down to around -50F.  Riding and surviving that can boost a man's confidence.  This year I am not even sure have more than a couple of sub 0 degree rides, and they certainly weren't near the same tenacity.  So, after reflecting on our winter here last year I was able to relieve myself of some mental burden.  Except for when I was PM'ing with super nice guy Kevin Breitenbach and he put a little fear of death in me if the actual temps get down closer to -40 or -50.  Thanks Kevin.

The other stress for me has been getting the dropbags for the race done.  I gave myself a timeline of yesterday (Friday) to get my 2 drop bags in the mail to Anchorage in time for them to get flown out to miles 135 and 200 of the 350 mile race.  Packing these bags you need to figure out how many calories you may need for what could be very long periods of time out in the middle of nowhere with only your gear to survive on.  I set out around 10,000 calories per drop bag.  Then there is the matter of how to get those calories, in what form, and how many types of food as you can't mentally eat just one type of food for days on end.  Add in things like none food related items and figuring it all out can get tough all while making sure it is also under the maximum 10 pounds per drop bag (as these are getting flown out in small planes into remote Alaska wilderness and landing roughed in run ways.

I like to have everything as unpackaged as possible and in ziplock bags (with slides for easy open/close).  My food this year consists of Pringles, maple candied bacon, some snickers bars (cut into smaller pieces), summer sausage (cut into smaller pieces), Espresso gel packets (for caffeine and something different), Peanut M&M's, and a homemade mix consisting of peanut butter, oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, honey, dried cranberries, and cacao nibs.  I like to write the calories on each bag for keeping track during the packing phase.  During the rip open and shove it into spots on the bike during the race phase I really am not thinking calories in each individual bag.

Homemade goodies that look just like your typical bar....

My none food related items would be some hand warmer packs (which I never use, but figured might come in handy), batteries for my light (lithium works much better in the cold), packs of chamois cream , and some gum (never ride with it but figured it might help during the tired times).

The obligatory shot of what is in one of my dropbags dropbag.

All packed up.
So here is one part of the process that is pretty cool.  The post office has those "One Rate" boxes.  Unlimited weight, ship anywhere in the United States with a 2-3 day transit time and one set rate.  Now these one rate boxes are usually more expensive...unless you are shipping a heavy box to Alaska.  One large one rate box holds both dropbags, would have cost me 3x the amount and almost double the transit time had I used my own packaging.

Well, there you go, a bit more insight on the big race.


SURLY Joe.. The Ring MASTER.. said...

so how much did it cost to use the flat rate box and send it in 2 to 3 days

Charly Tri said...

$17. $45 for normal shipping, 5-7 day ship time

steve said...

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