Race Update – 8 August 2012

Summer has been busy for us guiding wilderness trips all over the state. The fire weed is blooming which is a sign that summer is almost over in Alaska. As soon as we wrap up our summer season here Bill and I will head to Utah to guide mountain bike trips in the desert. By fall the first snow flakes will fall in Alaska and we will focus on the 2013 race. The race roster has been full since April with a long waiting list for racers that did not get a spot. We sill have spaces available for our 2013 winter training camp 5 days from January 21-25. Contact us if anyone is interested.

Hope everyone is having a great summer!!

Kathi M.

Race Update – 29 April 2012

The 2013 race roster is online now. We have a great field of very qualified racers for the 2013 event signed up. The 2013 race is FULL! A wait list will be kept. We hope to make more changes to our website this summer including a new banner image and race map as well. Hope everyone has a great summer and many fun races and events. Looking forward to next year’s winter racing season. Check back for news and updates on our face book page.

Kathi Merchant

Race Update – 16 April 2012

We are receiving entries in the mail daily as well as many e-mails about the 2013 race. We are still reviewing all the applications and waiting for more to show up in the mail. April 8 we opened entries to rookies.

After finalizing the 2013 roster with the accepted entries for the 2013 event we will publish the 2013 race roster. A waiting list will be kept after that. This year quite a few people received an entry later in the year from cancellations.

The start date for the 2013 event is Sunday, February 24, at 2:00 PM.

We will also offer a winter training camp again in 2013 from January 21-25 for new interested racers without previous winter experience or a finish in any of the qualifier events such as Susitna 100, Arrowhead 135 or White Mountains 100.

Hope to hear from you all and looking forward to the 2013 event.

In the meantime there will be updates on face book throughout the summer and fall.

Kathi Merchant

Bill M’s race recap posted – 28 March 2012

Peter Basinger wins the 350 mile McGrath race for the unprecedented 6th time. Congratulations Pete! I expect that qualifies you for the Iditarod Trail Hall of Fame. To win the mens foot division Geoff Rose edged out former race winner and 6 time Nome finisher Tim Hewitt right at the finish. Ausila Vistarini won the womens bike division and Anna Ver Hoef won the womens overall.  Anne became our first foot person to win the overall women’s race to McGrath. Geoff and Tim gave the bikers Pete, Phil and Pavel a run for their money all the way to Rohn and were still hot on their heels by Nikolai. We had 18 racers who pushed on through conditions that had local freight haulers on snowmachines turning back to Skwentna because of blizzard conditions and deep snow. They pushed on through soft conditions nearly the entire way to finish in McGrath. Some even managed while battling the Rohn Plague. Congratulations to you all!
     Thank you to the people who made this year’s race happen. From the pre race party at Speedway Cycles hosted by Fatback designer Greg Matyas to the Finish Line at Peter and Tracy Scneiderheinze’s home and everyplace in between. When a need arose someone stepped up to help. Thanks to the racers and all the great folks at the checkpoints, trail volunteers, trailbreakers and supporters of the race in Anchorage, the Valley and in the communities on the Trail. Former racers and some who scratched jumped in to help with internet coverage, pictures, stories and attempting to explain to fans outside the circles the complexities of reporting and communications on the Trail. By being great ambassadors all of you racers former and present have helped develop a supportive Iditarod Trail Invitational community on the trail which respects our efforts that includes not only community members but Iditarod volunteers, mushers and even the Iditarod trail breakers. They told me they were a bit sad not to see any of us on the Nome Trail this year. John Baker last years Iditarod winner told me in Rohn he was going to get a snow bike to train off season on the beaches of Kotzebue. Only veterans of the early races understand what a huge change this is from the early years but we have come a long way. Thanks to all of you who made that happen.
        I will finish this with a quote from Ausilia Vistarini said after she arrived in McGrath with a smile and a sparkle in her eyes, ” Last year was a vacation. This year it was REAL Alaska!
       I hope to see you all back again next year to see what the Trail has in store for us.
Bill Merchant
Iditarod Trail Invitational
trail manager/wilderness guide


Race Update – 28 March 2012

Hello All,

Our email has been busy with mails from veterans and new racers expressing interest in the 2013 race. Just a heads up that entries will open for veterans on April 1st. The remaining starting places will open for rookies on April 8th. First time racers should contact us before the 8th for pre-approval to have the best chance for a spot at the starting line.
Kathi and I are heading to Utah for our spring mountain bike guiding season next week. Our Alaska winter/ spring has been beautiful if a bit epic with all the snow but now its warming up and soon all the snow will be replaced with water and mud. I am looking forward to riding on dirt and rock for a while before we return for our summer season.
Good luck in the coming year and I look forward to seeing you next year for another adventure on the Iditarod Trail.

Race Update 9 March 2012

After snowmachining out from Rohn 200 miles Bill M. made it back to Wasilla early Thursday morning 2:00 AM. After some of the Iditarod volunteers in Rohn got sick with stomach issues that started in Rohn he decided to help Iditarod with the mushers out and hosted them in our Wall Tent that was still up after our last racer had come through. After spending a short night in a motel room in Wasilla we picked up our tent camp in Willow which was flown out that day by Barry Stanley with Denali Flying Service and then picked up the trailer with 2 snowmachines at the Point Mac store. We finally made it back home to Chickaloon together where we had 10 inches of new snow on our 200 yard long driveway and a cold cabin.

Today was a day to recover and take it easy for both of us. I want through some more pictures on my camera I took in McGrath and read the articles by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch (in total 9 articles). Thanks Craig for being on the trail.

Thank you to all our volunteers and checkers, check points and everyone helping out for the start until the last day of the race to make it all happen.

Thank you everyone helping with the race this year!

Bill M. will post another race recap on his end in the next couple of days.

Kathi M.

Alaska Dispatch articles:


Fairbanks News Miner:

Capitol City Weekly:

Huffington Post by Kirsten Dixon:

Race Update – 7 March 2012

Dave Kelley arrives in McGrath at 3:45 am. He received the red lantern award this year! He was in great spirits when he arrived and was very hungry. He had pushed his bike most of last night and was mistaken for a musher in McGrath. He said it was very funny when fans realized that he was a biker! Congrats Dave!!
He has been dealing with a stomach bug that was going around Rohn that also Dave J. and some other racers must have caught in Rohn! Great job Dave hanging in there like this!!
No racers continuing on to Nome this year! It has been a tough year for racers! I am flying out to Anchorage this morning myself. This year’s race is finished! More detailed follow up and race report will follow soon.

Kathi M. from McGrath


Race Update – 6 March 2012

Leader board has some updates! Shawn McTaggart arrives in McGrath this evening at 9:45pm. Congratulations Shawn at 9 days, 7 hrs and 45 minutes! Only one more racer in the pack, expecting Dave Kelley here before midnight.

Billy Koitzsch has arrived in McGrath! Time will be set at 7:15pm. He has suffered frostbite on his left foot and arrangements are being made to get him treatment tonight at the clinic. Otherwise he is healthy and his usual effervescent self. He says he saw both Shawn and Dave on the trail outside of McGrath. More updates to follow. We are minutes from the first mushers arriving into McGrath and will try to hear from them if when and where they saw our last two racers. Robin in McGrath.

Race Update – 6 March 2012

Cyclist Ausilia Vistarini and Sebastiano Favaro just arrived in McGrath at 1:19PM. Congratulations! They said they passed Dave Kelley and that he had taken a nap on the trail. Ausilia is the only female cyclist to finish the race this year. Way to go Ausilia! And she did it with a single speed bike. Very impressive. We are still waiting here in McGrath for Dave Kelley, Billy Koitzsch and Shawn McTaggert. They are all expected here before midnight tonight.

The first dog musher is expected in McGrath tonight around 8:00PM.

Kathi in McGrath

Race Update – 6 March 2012

Italian runners Cesare Ornati and Roberto Gazzoli finish in McGrath early this AM as well as Rick Freeman. Congratulations to everyone that made it to McGrath in such a tough year. Rick said there was a new foot of snow on the trail last night. This year was the hardest ITI he has done with 4 snow storms pounding them along the way! He came in on the river since the Iditarod Trail breakers have made it here in front of the dog teams. It is 7:10 AM here at Peter’s Schneiderheinze’s house and racers are chatting about the trail and eating Peter’s mancakes. Several are flying out this morning on a Pen Air flight back to Anchorage.

Kathi M. in McGrath

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