Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fan Packages at Winter Lake Lodge available in 2012

Winter Lake Lodge is offering fan packages at special rates for race fans for the 2012 Iditarod Trail Invitational. Fly out to this remote lodge and check point of the Invitational race and watch the racers come through. Check out dog mushing with Carl and enjoy Kirsten Dixon's award-winning cuisine. Contact WithinTheWild directly at:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winter has arrived in Alaska

Winter has arrived in Alaska. While Alaska's coastal villages got pounded with winds and storm surges in the last few days,Southcentral received a significant amount of snow recently.Temperatures have been well below freezing at night and the rivers are starting to freeze up. Lakes are freezing over and Alaskans are getting excited about winter travel.

" Ice on the large lakes means that winter has come to Alaska. Ponds become meadows, lakes are landing strips and our rivers return to being highways." I am quoting John Schandelmeier, longtime Alaskan here in a recent article in the ADN.

Read more:

And he is right. Winter time is the time to travel to places in Alaska otherwise out of reach in the summer months.

It is also the time we have our race on the Iditarod Trail. And with the arrival of winter we are getting excited about the race. For about two months of the year this imaginary line in the Alaskan landscape comes alive with mushers, racers,bikers, skiers, runners,dogs and snowmobiles on the trail. We are looking forward to this time of year.

The race roster has been full with a long list of qualified racers.

We still hava spaces left in our winter training camp from January 23-27, 2012.
Upon completion participants receive approval to enter the 2013 Iditarod Trail Invitational.

See you in Alaska this winter.

Kathi Merchant

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 2 Iditarod Trail Invitational updates

Hello All,
     Kathi and I have just finished our summer guiding season here in Alaska with back to back trips, rafting the Marsh Fork of the Canning River on the north slope of the Brooks Range and paddling the Savonoski Loop in Katmai National Park. Seems like summer was gone in a flash. Now we go south for a fall MTB guiding season in Utah. Before we know it it will be time to switch from dust and slickrock to ice and snow back in Alaska.  
     After two years of near perfect conditions I wonder what surprises the Trail holds for 2012. This is year 15 on the Trail for me either competing or breaking trail on a machine. I have been asked why I don't get tired of the same trail. I probably couldn't explain it to someone who has to ask. I have never seen the same Trail twice anyway and that includeds years I rode machines from Knik to McGrath and back to Knik. Something for racers who have only experienced the smiling face of the Iditarod Trail to keep in mind when trimming gear etc. for this years race is ," It ain't always that way!" You never know when we will be wading knee deep river wide over flow at -30 ( had to throw that one in for you Mr.O) pushing bikes over half the way to McGrath in soft snow, rain turning to wet snow with temps dropping to -35 overnight, I could go on and on but I am sure all of you have done your homework and read the reports from past years. Being prepared for a "What if???" can save fingers and toes or even your life. All that said the best stories come out of overcoming adversity not relaxing on blue bird days. Here's hoping this year's race leaves us with a lot of stories to tell and on the right side of the grass to tell them afterwards.                                        We look forward to seeing all of you on the Iditarod Trail.
                                                                                      Bill and Kathi

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 2012 race roster is full! 2012 dates for winter training camps

The 2012 race roster is full! There is a long waiting list for racers that didn't receive a spot. The race will start Sunday, February 26th @ 2:00 PM. Bill and I are spending some time in Southern Utah currently mountain biking and getting ready for our guiding season in Alaska. We will answer racer's e-mails and questions about the race between trips whenever we are near a computer.

We have set three dates for our winter training camps since there has been a lot of interest this year.
Those are designed to prepare athletes without previous cold weather experience for the conditions during the 350 mile race on the Iditarod Trail, in order to finish the race safely and sucessful. The sucess rate among the participants of our camps is very high. Participants that complete the camp successfully will receive a spot in the race the following year.

We hope everyone has a great summer full of adventures and look forward to seeing everyone next February.

Kathi Merchant

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Entries for the 2012 race

We have received many applications by race veterans and race rookies over the last week. Bill and I are evaluating the rookie entries and choose the most qualified rookies for the 2012 race. We will publish the 2012 race roster next week. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the Iditarod Blog and Iditarod Insider this year

Another amazing year on the Iditarod Trail.
New records, phantastic trails and amazing athletes!

Jay Petervary from Idaho sets a new Southern Route record of 17 days and 6 hours!
Aidan Harding finishes second in the 1000 mile race and is the first person ever to finish the entire route in a single speed bike in 17 days 9 hours and 15 minutes. Both are over 4 days faster than the previous Southern Route record.

Tracey Petervary( the only woman on the course to Nome this year) is on her last 75 miles today to become the first woman to finish both routes(North and South) in record time in back-to-back years.

Tracey and Jay Petervary were mentioned in the Iditarod Blog

Billy Koitzsch on the Iditarod Insider Video

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Final report 350 mile race

Hello All,

Jimmy Haigh arrived in McGrath yesterday wrapping up another successful 350 mile ITI. Congratulations to all the racers who finished. We had several amazing performances this year. Pete Basinger nearly broke his own record to win for his 5th time. Lou Cobin shattered the women's 350 bike record by more than 20 hours with her 3 day 22 hour 20 minute finish in 4th place over all. Loreen Hewitt broke her women's foot record for the second time in 6 days 23hours 30 miinutes. Ausillia Vistarini became the first female to finish on a single speed establishing a new record for that discipline of 5 days 5 hours 50 minutes. Rookie Lance Andre who finished in 8th place 4 days 2 hours 10 minutes was given the tough guy award by our official trail reporter from the Alaska Dispatch Craig Medred after he talked to Lance by phone in the hospital post race. Seems he finished with a displaced fracture in his leg, a mild concussion and an arm he broke in a fall on the Post River Glacier. Here's to a speedy recovery Lance!
Thanks to Greg Matyas for the pre race party at Speedway Cycles and Ann Ver Hoef and Michael Schoder for the pre race dinner. Thanks Irene for receiving all the drop bags and mothering some of our racers at Alaskan European B&B. Thanks to Rob Kehrer who was the driving force behind the great trail over the Pass as our head trailbreaker and for his always stellar job as our Rohn checker and to OE an Iditarod checker who teamed up with us for the second year to break trail and help out in Rohn. Thanks to all the checkpoints : Dan and Jean Gabryszak and Rich Crain at Yentna Station, Mark and Cindi at Skwentna Roadhouse, Zoe at Shell Lake, Carl and Kirsten and the crew at Winter Lake lodge, Mike and Ingrid at Finn Bear lake, Steve Perrins Jr. and crew atRainy Pass lodge, Nick, Olene, and Stephanie Petruska in Nikolai and to Peter and Tracy Schneiderheinze our wonderful hosts in McGrath. Thanks to all the folks in town, on the trail and in the villages not mentioned who give their time and hospitality to make the race the great event it has become.
Good luck to the 6 racers (5 officially) who are headed up the Yukon, over the Portage and up the coast to Nome.
A huge thanks to all of you who lined up at the start in Knik. We hope to see you back with us for another race on the Iditarod Trail in 2012.
Entries for next year begin with veteran finisher registration April 1st - 7th. Rookie registration begins on April 8th. Even with a full roster of 50 we have never had more than 45 racers start the race due to late withdrawals, injuries, jobs, family etc. Because of this and all the increased interest in the race I have relented and will sign up 55 racers for 2012 to give more qualified racers a chance to join the ITI family for our annual reunion on the Idtarod Trail.

All the Best in the coming year!!!!!!!

Bill & Kathi Merchant

Alaska Ultra Sport

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to follow the race in 2001

Following this years race

Race fans, friends,family and co-workers can stay informed during the race on this website on latest news, leaderboard ourFacebook page on Twitter.We will also have the message board up again where folks can post messages for the racers.

We encourage folks that come out to the start next Sunday and people along the trail, if you have pictures or video of the racers coming htrough to post on our facebook page or on our FLICKR Photo page.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mike Curiak's self supported journey to Nome 2010

Mike Curiak icon of the Human Powered Iditarod has put his 15 years of experience on the Iditarod Trail to good use producing a video of his unprecedented 2010 self-supported journey to Nome.
Using nothing but his bicycle and a point and shoot camera Mike does a wonderful job taking us along on his expedition from the warmth and security of our living rooms.

Enjoy The Ride

part one
part two
Bill Merchant
Iditarod Trail Invitational