Yukon Quest musher Normand Casavant is travelling with a personal masseuse.
“We asked permission and the marshal said as long as we were in a public place it was OK,” said the Quebec rookie.
So, seated in Pelly checkpoint, with media, handlers and mushers eating and working all around him, Casavant, who has a bad back, pulled off his shirt and enjoyed an intense pummeling.
“I take a lot of care of my dogs,” he said after the massage.
“So it’s good to have a person check us too.”
When he was little, he had two bad falls, one out of a tree and the other from a three-storey building.
Usually if a musher has back problems they take pills, he said.
“But you can’t give pills to your dogs and I have a masseuse because I don’t want to take pills either.”
Travelling down the trail, you end up in so many different positions, he said. “I went through overflow and did many different things with my body.”
Casavant is also travelling with a paramedic.
“I am a river guide,” he said. And three of Casavant’s rafting team are on the race as his handlers.
The team took first place for Canada this year at the Pan-America Rafting Championships in Argentina.
“When you’re a river guide, there are sections we call canyons,” with white water and rock walls, said Casavant.
“And the Quest is like 15 to 20 canyons consecutively – you have to be in good shape and you can’t make any mistakes.”