Four-time champion Todd Palin is at it again. The former first gentleman of Alaska is racing in the annual Iron Dog, this time with new partner Shane Barber.
When the grueling race began late last week, Palin had plenty of support at the starting line. In Anchorage, Team Palin-Barber was cheered on by Palin’s wife Sarah, the former governor of Alaska, their children Trig, Piper, and Bristol, as well as grandchildren Tripp and baby Sailor. Mr. Palin’s dad Jim was also on hand for the big sendoff. Sarah Palin was decked out in Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ gear, clearly showing the world who she is backing not only in the Iron Dog race but in the presidential sweepstakes.
All together, 82 snowmachines started the Iron Dog. Much less will actually finish. This race is known for taking its toll on man and machine. It’s 2,031 miles of twists, turns, and often treacherous conditions.
The Iron Dog, which stared in 1984, stretches from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. Only the best of the best compete in this event, let alone finish it. Palin has captured the title multiple times, but it’s never been an easy task. This is Palin’s 23rd race.
“It’s just a brutal, brutal race,” Palin told Breitbart Sports. “It includes some of the toughest terrain in the state.” Not only do the expensive state-of-the-art snowmachines have to be maintained, but the racers have to take care of their bodies too. “It’s a fine line of how to dress,” Palin said. “Over-dress and you start sweating, and sweating and get dehydrated. You can leave Big Lake at 40 degrees above and arrive at McGrath and it’s minus 15. You have to expect everything and anything.”
So once again, they’re off. Racers will brave blizzards, pitch blackness, frozen rivers, and wild animals. They’ll try to maintain their snowmachines by repairing shocks, tracks,and engines along the way. All the while trying to keep their own physical and mental state healthy. It may not sound appealing to many in the contiguous 48 states, but for Alaska men and women this sport is revered. It’s tough, honest, and unique. Just like the people in the Last Frontier.
This year’s Iron Dog finishes Sunday in Fairbanks.