|Jodi Bailey '88 - First Rookie To Attempt Both Thousand-Mile Sled Dog Races In Same Year|
Running a thousand-mile sled dog race is hard work. Running two of them in the same year is extremely wearing. Attempting them both as a rookie? You better be prepared to be cold, hungry and tired. Jodi Bailey ’88 knows all about that. “Two days of being blown off the highway… and it was -41 in Maclaren. Really, really long, freezing cold run!” That was in 2008, after she won the Gin Gin 200 Sled Dog Race for the second year in a row, ahead of the likes of Lance Mackey and Jeff King, during what has been described as one of the coldest and windiest races ever.
This year, the Chatanika musher is attempting something never tried before - running both the thousand-mile Yukon Quest and the iconic 1,049 mile Iditarod in the same year – as a rookie. “I have a sense that there are some things in life that no matter how much you prepare, study or dream about them, the only way to really know what they are like is to do them for yourself. And these 1000 mile dog sled races fall into that category.”
In 2007, Lance Mackey proved that not only can a musher run both races in the same year, but can also win both, which he did in consecutive years. Recently, many more mushers are seeing an advantage to running both. The double, however, has not yet been attempted by a rookie. “Considering the length, terrain, weather, and arctic conditions, they are arguably some of the toughest distance events in the world,” said Bailey.
The 42-year old musher is no stranger to the long-distance race scene. Along with her husband Dan Kaduce, a champion of many mid-distance races and last year’s Iditarod top-finishing rookie, she has trained and raced in the harsh environments of Alaska’s interior. “We have worked hard to condition the dogs to be able to handle the length of runs we will need to be doing.”
Raised in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Bailey was always involved with animals. Her love of adventure led to Alaska in 1991, where she met Kaduce. They eventually combined not only their households, but also their hobby. “Mushing is an addiction, and an expensive one. But it is also an addiction that drives you to work harder, and dig deep inside yourself to see what you are capable of, and because of that, it makes me a better person.”
For more information, contact Bailey and Kaduce through their Dew Claw Kennel website at www.dewclawkennel.com
The Yukon Quest begins February 5th in Whitehorse, YT. The official website is at www.yukonquest.com
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins March 5th in downtown Anchorage, AK. The official website is www.iditarod.com