Unlike a lot of mushers signed up for this year's Iditarod who are carefully calculating all factors in the hopes of winning, Dallas Seavey is taking a more laid back approach.
"My plan is just to run it and have a good time," Dallas said.
Unlike his father, Mitch, and older brother, Tyrell, Dallas will run a puppy team this year, his first, Iditarod.
"I'm taking pups to give them the race experience, while also experiencing the Iditarod for myself," he said.
The Last Great Race can be nerve-wracking for a first-timer, but with his grandfather, Dan, father and brothers, Tyrell and Danny, having all completed the race, Dallas isn't exactly going into the endeavor blindly.
"I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from hearing the stories from my family, but I'm still a rookie, so I'm still expecting a few surprises, too," he said.
Dallas added that it's tough to pinpoint what to expect as his biggest challenge, since "The race is one big challenge."
He said he was apprehensive about sleep deprivation taking its toll on him, but he has a conservative race plan to follow compared to some of the more competitive mushers.
"I'm looking at the beginning of the race as a continuation of training. I'll start with short runs of less than four hours, with six to 10 hours of rest," he said.
"Then, the last part of the race, once the dogs are more hardened, we'll probably go to a six on-six off run-rest schedule so the dogs get the full experience," he said.
Dallas said this also will allow him to gauge which dogs are the strongest mentally and physically, so he can recommend which may be suitable candidates for his father's Iditarod team next year.
"I've got some good dogs," he said, adding that although they have performed well in training and in various mid-distance races like the Knik 200 and the Kuskokwim 300, they have never been proven in a ultra-marathon.
"I want to see how they perform on the Iditarod," Dallas said
"But I'm not running to race, I'm running for the experience, so my goal will be to get to Nome with as many dogs as possible. I'm hoping to make it with 13 dogs or more."
Dallas said as the race gets closer, he's getting more excited.
"It's the ultimate in dog racing, and it's something I've always wanted to do. I've been planning it since I was 5 years old. I would flip through the calender to the year 2005 and look up the date," he said.
Part of the reason for looking so far to the future is that Dallas said he believed he would be, and could become the youngest musher ever to compete in the Iditarod.
"I turn 18 the day before the race, so not only will I become the youngest musher to ever run it, but I'll also be racing both the Jr. Iditarod and the Iditarod in the same year," he said.
Just days after completing the race, Dallas leaves for college attending the University of Northern Michigan on a wrestling scholarship.
As such, Dallas said "This will probably be my last Iditarod for awhile."
However, he doubted it would be his last.
"I'll probably come back to mushing, at least I hope to one day. But I'll just have to wait and see."
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