Sleeping while they mush

Russ Bybee tried running a sled with a seat on the back, and fell asleep. "I took one on the Iditarod," said Bybee, who was feeding his team on Monday afternoon at McCabe Creek dog drop. "You relax too much," he said. Not in jumble ice...

MCCABE CREEK

Russ Bybee tried running a sled with a seat on the back, and fell asleep.

“I took one on the Iditarod,” said Bybee, who was feeding his team on Monday afternoon at McCabe Creek dog drop.

“You relax too much,” he said.

Not in jumble ice, added Eagle, Alaska, musher Wayne Hall.

Those tail-dragger sleds will be a nightmare on the Yukon River, he said.

“If a big chunk of ice sticks up and catches that seat, it could rip your sled right in half.”

Mushers running tail-draggers are allowed to remove the seat, and can put it back on at the halfway point in Dawson without a penalty.

It’s not fair, said Hall.

Replacing a broken sled with a spare costs mushers an eight-hour time penalty, he said.

“But they are allowed to modify their sleds by taking off a seat and making it lighter.”

The rule about tail draggers is only a couple years old, he added.

If those sleds crash, a musher could get really hurt, said Hall.

“Especially if they got hung up between the back and the front.”

Bill Pinkham, who was talking sleds with Hall at McCabe, wasn’t sure if he was going to keep his seat attached through the jumble-ice section of trail.

“I’m not thinking about any of that right now,” he said.

“I’m just focusing on keeping as many dogs in my team as possible and getting down the trail a little bit.”

The seats are great, said Quest 300 musher Gerry Willomitzer, who was parked across from Pinkham.

“I like the seat so much I’m considering putting one in my living room.”