Updated 4:30 p.m.:
John and Zoya decided that because this year's race was so hard and the fact I finished, they would list me as an official finisher. Even though I came in last, I finished strong with more confedince in myself and my dogs than I ever thought possible. And I will get a shiny red lantern for myself.
Just a quick note to say that I finished the Gin Gin Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Officially, on the website, I'm marked down as a scratch, but I finished the 200 mile course. The officials decided I had to scratch because I had used someone else's dog food at the checkpoint as I stayed there a long time to let the dogs rest. They felt that qualifies as outside assistance which is against the rules. So, this will not be marked down as an official finish, nor will it count as a qualifier for the Quest. BUT, I feel totally qualified anyway, because as I'm sure you all read on the website, the winds on 13-mile summit were gale force and I was out in 45 below cold for 24 hours. This was by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I've never been so scared, so cold, so tired, so emotional or so determined in my whole life. The dogs came through like champs with only a few minor sore points and a little frostbite. We made it, whether the officials want to acknowledge it or not. We fucking made it. And it has changed me. I know now that I can do anything, ANYTHING, I set my mind to no matter how fucked up things get. I have a lot of people to thank. Thanks to my sponsors for helping me get to the start line. Thank you to Dan and Jodi for your kindness, friendship and support. Thanks to Tamra for helping me get to the start chute and to Hugh and Juho for making me smile on the trail. Thanks to Iris Sutton for helping me off the side of the mountain. Thanks to an anonymous musher for letting me follow his team out of the wind. Thanks to Ed, Alan and Susie at Maclaren Lodge for your kindness and hospitality, for which I never would have made it out. Thanks to Jenny and Audie at Denali Highway Cabins for keeping Sam company and helping out. Thanks to Sebastian for sending his handler out to make sure I was not dead. Thanks to the new and oh, so improved Paxson Lodge for your kindness and hospitality. Darren Lee, you saved me, thank you.
Um, I'm sure I'm forgetting some people but to all who even just gave me a smile or asked how I was doing, Lance, Judy, Tamara, Aliy...thank you. Thanks Ken, for giving me a big thumbs up after the wind storm and for telling me to keep my chin up when it was dragging on the ground.
Thank you to Dr. Love and Theresa Daily for making me laugh while I was crying.
Thank you Sam, for your support and worry. Thank you Rich for your advice, your two fantastic leaders and most of all, your wind suit!!!
I loved this race and I hated all at the same time. I am much better off as a dog driver now because this was so hard.
I have to go. I'm heading south with the dogs for a week or so because it's 50 below at our house right now and the dogs need a warmer climate to recoup. Full recap and race photos to come.