There is no substitute for experience. That’s never truer than at the Iditarod. You can discuss preparation, but until you’re here, you haven’t done it.

So as a rookie musher, it’s easy to expect a zig and then get a zag instead.

2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Bradley Farquhar, bib number 65. (John Rice/KTVA)

"It's funny,” said Bradley Farquhar. “One minute you think you’re going to be rookie of the year-- like you have the most solid team-- this is the greatest thing. And, the next minute, it’s, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m going to get to Nome. This sucks. I hate it.’ It’s one extreme to the other.”

2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Shaynee Traska, bib number 5. (John Rice/KTVA)

Some take a more conservative approach. Like so many first-timers, Shaynee Traska just wants to finish. It’s been a dream of hers for 20 years and now she’s here.

“The longest race I’ve done is 300 miles, so 1000 miles is just a little bit longer for us,” she said while resting at the Takotna checkpoint.

She feels a slow and steady pace will get her to Nome.

“We’re all rookies-- the whole team and I. This is our first time for 1000 miles.”

What should you not bring? Overconfidence. Emily Maxwell found out quickly. This race gets the last word no matter who you are.

2018 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Emily Maxwell, bib number 58. (John Rice/KTVA)

"Initially, I was like, “I’m going to knock this race out of the park,’ and then it’s 'no.' You do a 300-miler and think it’s doable, but this is such a different ballgame.”

There is one common bond among all three mushers and the 15 total out on the trail: they’re all still in the race.

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.


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