Would you shave that beard for $1M?

I don't know if you've had a chance to watch the previous blog post that had the video footage of Trent at the Ceremonial Start?   

The TV announcers mention at the end that Trent's beard makes him look like a ZZ Top guy, and that Gillette had once offered them $1M to shave their beard... then wondered if maybe Trent would take such an offer? 

I can't speak for Trent, I suspect he would, but I know he shaved it for charity back in 2011.   That was the year Trent was 1st to the halfway point, Most Improved Musher, and 25th overall.   Trent-mania was at a mild boil back at the Community School where he teaches.  

At the annual charity auction, someone asked Trent "How much do I have to donate for you to shave your beard".  Trent replied "$50,000".  The paddles started going up, and they eventually raised $85,000 for the school for Trent to sit for the razor.

Article from local newspaper way back then, covering the event.  The pictures below are real small.  It grew back pretty fast, sure $1M would be an easy decision!


Footage of Trent from the Ceremonial Start

Well, they had to rail-car snow in from Fairbanks, but the Iditarod Committee was not going to miss the traditional Ceremonial Start in Anchorage.  Trent left the start gate at about 2:05 MT today.   They've shortened the ceremonial leg from over 10 miles to about 3 miles this year due to the snow challenge.   Trent, Jake, and Bear will pack up the team early afternoon Alaksa time and head up to a friend's kennel near Willow to spend the evening and get some rest for the big day tomorrow.  

I'm sure Trent would consider the Gillette offer described by the Iditarod commentators.  

Watch the Ceremonial Start and see Trent

Trent at 2015 Ceremonial Start above.

The ceremonial start for 2016 is being video-streamed live.  I thought it might be open and available but it looks like you have to be an Iditarod Insider to watch.  First musher went out at noon MT.  Trent with Bib #58 will go out sometime about 2 MT.  Sign up for Insider status on the Iditarod website (iditarod.com) if interested (you get the race GPS tracker and lots of interviews and footage).


Here's one more video from training.

Our good friend and packrafting buddy Will Meadows took a turn at a run with Trent.  Run is through the Trinity Range here in Central Idaho to a cabin near Atlanta, Idaho.   He is the photojournalist here.  

Google Map below shows the run from Pine to Atlanta, about 40 miles.   Red arrow at Pine, Light red Google marker is Atlanta, Green arrow at kennel and our training home on the Camas Praire in Fairfield.   Elevation in Pine is about 4,440 ft and elevation in Atlanta is about 5,400.  Trail goes over pass at close to 7,500 ft along the way.   We'll take the Nestea Challenge that Idaho has the best sled dog training in the world.

Get that peaceful, easy feeling.

Iditarod 2016, here we go again!

At the Musher Banquet last night, Trent drew bib #58 of the 85 mushers who will start the race on Sunday in Willow, Alaska. There will be a 3 mile ceremonial start in the streets of Anchorage on Saturday.

Bib numbers are luck of the draw, but Trent likes the idea of starting late in the afternoon when temperatures will be falling, it's been warmer than usual in that part of the state.   The race start is at 2PM Alaska Time. They send them out every 2 minutes so being #58, I suspect Trent will be off by 4PM.  Expect Trent and the team to go through the checkpoint at Skwentna (at 72 miles) and camp 5-10 miles on the other side Sunday night.  

Our good friends and one of our sponsors, DECKED, created and uploaded this great short clip of Trent.   Enjoy!   

DECKED is an awesome truck accessory and storage system that adds slide out drawers to your truck bed.  We used it in the truck all winter for training, keeping the lines in tact, and training food organized.   

Check them out at http://decked.com/

Nice footage chopping up a salmon to throw to the team.

One Time Call for Help

Here's to all of you that follow us and subscribe to the blog.  Many of you guys have helped out along the way with donations and we greatly appreciate it.  

If you feel so moved, visit the Sponsors page on the website http://trentherbst.com/

We have a PayPal Donate button where you can use your PayPal account or a credit card to send any help for race expenses. End of Solicitations, promise. 

Thanks So Much,

Trent and Tim

Welcome to 2016!

Hard to believe the start of the race is less than 2 weeks away!   We hope to get some good posts up.  

Great winter of snow and training up here in Idaho.   Food and drop bags are on their way, and Jake and the dogs are about to head up.  

Ceremonial Start in Anchorage on Saturday March 5.   Race Start Sunday March 6 out of Willow.   Hopefully the snow will keep falling up there.  

Pictures below of my 4-year old Kire, on her first dog-sledding adventures this Winter.  

Last Dance

April 2

Jake, Greg, and the dog team made it back to Idaho yesterday afternoon, April 1 after a 3,000 journey back from Alaska.    Trent got back last Saturday and has been back in the classroom all week.  Laura and Erika from Ed and Tasha Stielsta’s Nature’s Kennel had made the drive to Idaho earlier in the week and were waiting on the puppies to show up, and take them back home to Michigan.

The Nature’s Kennel Sprinter Van was scheduled for evening departure last night, and Jake and Trent wanted one last run with the team before kissing them good bye and sending them on their way home. 

It’s spring time in the Idaho prairie now, with no snow, and sledding isn’t going to happen, so Trent and Jake took them for one last run “pulling” the Suburban Hillbilly Mushing wagon down some of the agriculture right of way roads for a last dance of 5 miles.    Couple of fun pictures of the kennel in Spring, their last few moments there, and hitching the team up for one last run below.  

Goodbye had to be a tough thing for Trent and Jake after spending the better part of 6 months as alpha males in the pack.   When the puppies showed up, they had never been hitched up as a team and didn’t know ‘gee’, from ‘haw’, from ‘gee-whiz’.   Sixteen of the team experienced 500 miles of the Iditarod trail, camping and running the same rivers and tundras their ancestors and families have been down.  Fourteen made it to the Norton Sound, twelve to the final checkpoint 75 miles from Nome, and ten finished in Nome.  They are all ready to do what they love best; ‘team travel and traction’ over long distances in one of the most remote parts of the world, that could only be traveled by sled dog until a few short decades ago.  They are physically and mentally ready for the challenge.   They were kindergartners, and now they are ready for junior varsity and varsity teams on the Iditarod. 

Trent and Jake may do this all again next year and train another team of puppies.   They may train and run a mature team for another musher.  They may decide that this is just way too crazy for a couple of Idaho boys.    We shall see, perhaps we will see you on a new adventure next year.  

Goodbye Ayun, Belly Button, Blast, Clog, Digger, Gordon, Henry, James, Joe Cool, Krister, Linus, Loafer, Mukluk, Pig Pen, Scott, Thomas, Stu, and Woodstock! 


Finish at Nome

March 23

Trent and the team pulled in to Nome at 1157 AM on Sunday March 212, after 979 miles, for a total time on the trail of 13 days, 2 hours.  The team trotted in barking and looked good.   The team placed 65th out of the 78 mushers who started the race.

A few pictures of Trent and the finishers; Ayn and Krister leading. Blast and Mukluk in swing. Thomas and Pig Pen, James and Scott in team. Thomas and Henry in wheel below:.

I had a chance to spend the early afternoon with Trent over a pizza and a beer and hear the stories of the trail.  Trent said it was the best year ever in terms of the trail, the weather, and camping.  The runs on the Tanana and Yukon River had temperatures of -30 to -50F.  Trent said the weather was “perfect” and the beauty and remoteness of his camping spots between checkpoints on those rivers were “unrivaled, beyond belief”.   He said he finally had a chance to see that his Marmot sleeping bag rated at -50F “kicked butt”, and talked about how the dogs slept in piles of 5 right next to him.  He, Lachlan Clark, and Cindy Gallea left Shaktoolik and travelled the middle of the night through the Norton sound in 30+ mph winds and snow and lost the trail.  Trent left the team with Lachlan and Cindy and walked a 1 mile arc and happily found a trail marker; found his way back to his travel partners and they all headed on the new bearings off the sound to Koyuk. 

It was however the most challenging year ever for dog care.   You may remember that I mentioned that 3-4 guys on the team started with “loose caboose” and by Galena the entire team was struggling with it.   Trent said the problem stayed with the team the entire way, and even with all the medicine and electrolyte treatments he and the vets employed they could never resolve.  The team ate well and were eager to run, but were challenged to push long and hard, so Trent and the boys (and Ayun) took plenty of rest, ate and drank plenty of water.    Trent was proud that the entire team got to experience 500 miles to the halfway point of Huslia and the rhythm of competitive racing, resting, and camping together day after day.  Fourteen made it to Kaltag, 12 made it to White Mountain, and 10 made it all the way to Nome.   

They are now all world-class Iditarod, long-distance sled dogs.  The gangly teenagers will continue grow in to their bodies, and train in to their spirit and potential.   They will run multiple Iditarods in the future.   They are all such sweet and driven individuals.

And finally, in the Great Serum Run of 1925 it was Gunnar Kaasen and his team with lead dog Balto that brought the anti-toxin home the final 53 miles from Bluff to Front Street in Nome, and enabled Dr. Welch to stop the epidemic.  

Happy Trails!   

Trent, Tim, Jake, and Greg

Checkpoint #15 - Safety

March 22

Trent checked in and out of the final checkpoint at Safety at 822AM.  He left White Mountain at 1220AM this morning after staying 8 hours and 48 minutes, slightly longer than the mandatory 8 hour rest.  Trent left 2 dogs in White Mountain and is making the final run with 10 dogs to Nome.

Safety is about 20 miles from Nome.   I would expect Trent to hit Front Street in Nome at about 11 AKST.  I will be there and get some pix.  Watch the LiveCam video on the Iditarod website.  I'll post final update late tonight, should have some first hand input from Trent on the trail and the trip.