The checkpoint at Central offered a good opportunity to get up close to the race, mushers, dogs, handlers, vets and close fans. Central is beautiful in the winter with all the frost cloaked birch trees which set it apart from the surrounding lands that are sparsely blanketed with mostly taiga spruce. Kind of a winter oasis in a stark subarctic wilderness. Although there were several leading mushers resting their dogs while we were there, I focused on Lance Mackey (http://www.mackeyscomebackkennel.com/), partially due to his notoriety, but more because of his magnetism. Lance is very competitive, but he is a compassionate, considerate, detailed competitor. He's not about self; he's about his dogs, his mushing companions, and no doubt his connection to the tradition.
Tonight, as the VanCouver Winter Olympics begin with it's incredible assemblage of global athletes, it is only a small group of mostly northerners that recognize that some of the finest athletes of the world are quietly running night and day across a 1000 miles of snow covered, empty wildness in whatever weather comes.