With Iditarod Insider’s awesome live-cam coverage from checkpoints, fans have witnessed dog team after dog team happily mushing into checkpoints like well-oiled machines. All lines tight, beautiful trots on full display.

We then watch those same dog teams rest for 3-5 hours, eat roughly 5,000 calories per dog, and then get all excited to go. They bark, jump, and run around in circles until the musher finally says ‘alright!’ and they take off down the trail, right? But they don’t really go. They stop several times. A couple dogs are pulling, a few are sitting down. Eventually they seem to get moving, but it sure isn’t pretty. A mile or so later, the little tracker finally starts moving, but it takes a while. What the heck is going on?

There are always a few sore muscles; anyone who exercises and then sits down for a few hours knows how that goes, but we just watched those same dogs jumping to go, they sure didn’t look sore…

Turns out the digestive tracks of 50 lb dogs eating 10-14,000 calories per day are working overtime. As soon as they get up and move, they all have to go. Imagine putting 14 kids in a car, and then making 14 bathroom breaks in the first mile. By time a few dozen teams have covered a trail, it’s literally a mile of racing stripes marking the trail. In time, they get it all worked out, and away the team goes, looking nice and smooth by the next stop. Now you know why ravens follow dog teams too…

I tried to avoid posting this at meal time, Danny

 

Image on loan from https://we3travel.com/an-epic-day-dog-sledding-in-iceland/