Last week, I wrote about a Park Ridge landscaper who's dream took him to the starting line of Alaska's famed Iditarod sled dog race. Pat Moon's dream ended early, when he crashed into a tree four days into the race.
Here's an update on how Pat is doing. This is an email he sent on Wednesday:
It has been a week since I scratched from the Iditarod. It has been a very long week. The two years preceeding the start were long, but nothing compared to what my little brain has been through since.
My race started amazing. The team was on track, stroking along like gangbusters. We were in and out of checkpoints on schedule. The vets looked my team over at every stop, told me I had a great trained team, and signed off on heading up the trail. The "Happy Steps," a portion of the trail where teams often get hurt or lose the driver, were over in an instant. I had made it through the worst of the technical portions. We were introduced to Alaskan weather at Rainy Pass. As I pulled in Monday night, it was minus 25 with a 40 mile an hour gust. By the time I was ready to head into the storm, it was 15 below with gusts only up to 25. I felt good. I was happy to roll out and test the team as a whole.
When we got into the Dalzell Gorge I was ready. There was open water flowing, but my leaders proved what they were made of. We were within sniffing of the Rohn Cabin. Safety and a much deserved rest.
I have no recollection of the incident. All I know is Belgium musher, Sam Deltour found me and offered emergent aid. I have since found out he is a medical student. And, he was running to raise awaremess and funding for MS. His mother is afflicted with the disease. I owe Sam more than he will ever know.
I was airlifted out and back to Anchorage. I suffered a broken nose, cheek orbitals, and a left hand. I was scratched from the race due to the obvious. I could no longer take care of my team.
I have been taken care of and welcomed by the Iditaord Trail Committee as if I was a son. I have been put up and watched. The mushing community is a small one. The professional Iditarod is even smaller. I will never win, but I was treated as if the race depends on me coming back.
Yesterday was the first day I felt I should have went on. I am not sure my brain has wrapped itself around the incident, and the fact that my season is almost over. I am not used to people asking for my autograph. After all, I am just Pat Moon, Ignatius grad and lawn mower. I have been in more pictures this week then my entire life combined, including my wedding. I have had my lunch at Wendy's paid for by random people behind me. I had a fire engine roll down the window at a stop light and wish me good luck healing and they will be rooting for me next year.
Next year is a long way away. I wrote last March that one year is only 525,600 minutes. It goes by so quickly. In the blink of an eye. Like hitting a tree. :) I am not sure what I am going to do. I have to talk to Mel and review our options. Training and running the Iditarod is insanely expensive. Most everyone would gasp and choke if the grand totals were published. The winners lose money. I however, get to spend time with my dogs.
Melanie and my Mom are on their way here tonight. We will head up to Nome in the morning to cheer on those that are still running. It is one of the fastest fields ever. Word is trickling in that the judges are pushing the "Back of thr Packers" to move along or move out. Who knows if I even would have been able to finish. I would hope so.
I do however know that this summer will be back to mowing lawns and going out on the speaking engagement world. If anyone would be interested in a presentation, please email me. I do both educational and corporate. Both tie into the prep and race life of a dog team, but they differ in message. Educational is following dreams and overcoming stuff, while the corporate focuses on team managment and how to get 16 dogs to do what I ask of them. It is mostly aimed at managers.
If anyone is interested, or have any questions about the race, dog sledding, or at this point, lawn questions, please ask. I am not really looking forward to getting back to the real world, but I have to raise next year's fees by mid-June!
Starting Bib #17