NOTE: This post was written by AGU-NY State Coordinator Ron Devito and originally published on US4Palin. The interview was conducted by AGU-PA State Coordinator Kevin Scholla.
Todd Palin, husband of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said he chose Tyler Huntington as his partner to "shake things up," and because Huntington is local to the Yukon River which tracks along much of the race course. Palin – a four-time champion and 8-time winner – is one of the oldest racers in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog. He said experience gets you to the championship podium and you have to run a clean race. Time spent wrenching and repairing a sled is time lost on the clock.
Compeau’s out of Fairbanks – one of Palin’s sponsor – started the initiative to Bring Home the Pink, raising money for breast cancer.
Palin said, Sarah and the children will be there to see him off and greet him at the finish line, as they always are. His training consists of runs up to 600 miles on the weekends and 200 miles during the week. Huntington, who works on the North Slope trains with Palin during his off-weeks. He said you have to be in top physical shape to ride. "Give me a guy who goes to the gym….and let me ride him 50 miles, I’ll guarantee you he’ll be so sore the next day he won’t be able to walk," Palin said.
Iron Dog racers ride in teams of two with a mandatory 14-hour layover after the first leg, then 8 hours after each subsequent leg to Nome, which is 1,050 miles away from the finish line. The Iron Dog FAQs provide a lot of valuable information about the race.
Palin lost a race by one second in 2006 due to a big collision with another team. You can track each team’s progress at the Iron Dog website. The Palin family enjoys and supports the races.
Huntington sustained an injury hitting two logs during last year’s race, and enthusiastically returned. He had wanted Palin as a partner for years and said racers seeking the winning edge routinely change partners and snow machine brands. Huntington is a two-time champion.
Compeau said Palin is very excited about his long-tracked Ski-Doo. Compeau spearheaded Bring Home the Pink where one can either make straight donations or pledge a dollar amount on all the Ski-Doo teams. He said Palin is an experienced veteran. Many younger teams wash out at McGrath because they poorly pace themselves and burn all their energy out too soon. He said Palin and Huntington are smart, savvy, patient riders who also know how to work on their snowmachines. "These guys know what it takes to win…most teams don’t." He said a lot of it boils down to luck. In the 2011 race, Palin got second place by two seconds.
Teaser, Downloadable Audio
While Sarah Palin is undoubtedly the Mama Grizzly, Todd Palin is looking to regain the title of top dog. The 2014 Iron Dog race starts this weekend and SarahNET Radio has a special behind the scenes look. Kevin Scholla sits down with Todd Palin, his racing partner Tyler Huntington, and Team 11 sponsor Craig Compeau. Learn all about the Palin-Huntington training regimen and find out what it will take to win the big race. Plus, Team 11 and Ski Doo are teaming up to fight breast cancer. All the Iron Dog coverage from the insiders. It’s IRON DOG INSIDER only on SarahNET Radio!
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