Peace on drugs

end of the trail
End of the trail, the Iditarod finish line in Nome/NPS photo

The doping manual for the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is now out.

Gone is the “strict liability” rule that made mushers responsible for a doped team unless they could present evidence to demonstrate they didn’t juice the dogs.

In its place is a new sense of cooperation.

“A drug testing violation is extremely serious, likely resulting in substantial penalties and career damaging consequences,” it says. “For many reasons, precautions should be taken to avoid such a scenario. This includes a joint effort by mushers and the ITC (Iditarod Trail Committee.)”

The latter appears to have taken to heart the complaints voiced by four-time Iditarod champ Dallas Seavey after his dogs were found to be doped in 2017. He protested that Iditarod was supposed to protect mushers, not bust them.

The race is now advising mushers on how to avoid trouble.

“Prevention measures generally include the following: musher knowledge and respect for clearance times of commonly used medications,” the manual says.

It later goes into more detail.

Show up clean

“‘Clearance Times’ are defined as the amount of time that a medication must be discontinued prior to the race to be ‘cleared’ from a dog’s system,” the manual says.

“Clearance Times utilizing ‘older’ technology, could result in a positive drug test. In this era, for mushers to protect their dogs from a positive drug test, it is generally recommended that all medications containing prohibited substances be discontinued at least TWO WEEKS (Iditarod emphasis) prior to the race start, with the exception of ‘long-acting,’ injectable products, i.e., Betasone, DepoMedrol, Vetalog and others, which should be discontinued at least FOUR WEEKS (Iditarod emphasis) prior to the race, for sufficient Clearance Times.”

Betasone (Betamethasone) is a corticosteroid used in an injectable version to reduce inflammation. It can help dogs with minor injuries continue training.

DepoMedrol (Methylprednisolone) is another cortical steroid, this one derived from prednisolone. “‘DepoMedrol’ has been found useful in alleviating the pain and lameness associated with acute localized arthritic conditions and generalized arthritic conditions,” according to the website “It has been used successfully to treat rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, periostitis, tendinitis, synovitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, and myositis of horses; traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and generalized arthritic conditions of dogs.”

As with Betasone, it is usually used to allow dogs to continue training when injured, or rapidly recover from more serious injuries so they can resume training.

Vetalog (Triamcinolone acetonide) is similar to Betasone and DepoMedrol. The drug provides “rapid relief from pain and reduces inflammation and swelling,” according to “Depending on the nature of the condition, Vetalog Parenteral may be injected intramuscularly, intra-articularly or intrasynovially. The usual pattern of response is improvement of motion and decrease of pain within 24 hours, followed by diminution of swelling.”

Though these drugs are an asset to mushers struggling to keep dogs running while dealing with the inevitable injuries that come when dogs, horses or people log long miles in training, they are not as useful in a racing sense as anabolic steroids, which help to build lean muscle mass.

Anabolics, which have popped up in all sorts of human endurance sports, are mentioned only in passing in the new rules.

“In addition, newer technology utilizing hair samples is being developed to detect drugs such as anabolic steroids and bronchodilators that may have been administered within the previous THREE MONTHS (Iditarod emphasis),” the manual says.

Some mushers, suspicious of others they think are using anabolics, have pushed for such a test, but it is still in the development stage, and it is unclear whether it will ever come into use.

Different standards

Compared to human-powered sports, which employ extensive out-of-competition testing and maintain so-called “biological passports” to catch drug cheats, Iditarod is lenient. It does no out-of-competition testing and makes no attempt to monitor what is done with or to dogs before or after what it calls The Last Great Race.

In the past three decades, it has publicly admitted catching only one musher with a doped team – Seavey – and the race later apologized to him, saying it believed him when he insisted he didn’t do it despite the race still having no clue as to who, if not Seavey, might have doped the dogs.

A detailed, pharmacological investigation never publicly revealed and officially ignored by Iditarod concluded the pain-killer Tramadol found in Seavey’s dogs was most likely administered within an hour of a drug test in Nome.

Seavey handlers were at that time with his dogs, which would tend to undermine his repeated claims he was sabotaged by animal-rights activists – a claim most Iditarod watchers consider farfetched – or a competitor.

Doping authorities say the drugs could have been administered accidentally by someone on team Seavey unaware the musher had asked for the maximum time allowed after the finish of the race before testing, or they could have been administered intentionally to cover up an earlier use along the last leg of the trail from White Mountain to Nome.

Seavey like most competitors accused of doping – from defrocked Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to former marathon-great-turned-running-coach Alberto Salazar – denies doping, but there is no way to determine if he is telling the truth.

Only days ago the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed Salazar, now the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, a four-year ban for trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs, a charge he has for years denied.

“…It would be incorrect to say that the news came as a huge surprise,” Martin Fritz Huber wrote at Outside Online. “Indeed, the charges against Salazar, which include administering illegal quantities of L-carnitine (a naturally occurring substance that converts fat into energy), trafficking testosterone (a banned substance), and tampering with the doping control process, have already been reported on in the past. Seen in this light, the big news isn’t so much that Salazar has violated anti-doping rules, but that he finally has to suffer the consequences.”

Testosterone is one of the drugs most often mentioned as an Iditarod dog booster. No musher has ever been caught administering it to dogs.

Unlike the USADA;  the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI), which polices horse and greyhound racing; the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS), which tries to control drug cheating in a variety sled dog events other than Iditarod, and the World Anti-Doping Agency,  the Iditarod had an enviable record of never catching anyone doping up until the Seavey case.

Why it decided to publicly single out a doped team in 2017, let alone let a change in the rules mushroom into the outing of the 30-year-old musher many considered the race’s poster boy, has never been clear. Five reliable sources have told there have been other drug positives that went unreported, and at a closed-door meeting of Iditarod mushers Seavey is said to have expressed the view that it was unfair that the race was singling him out for the alleged use of Tramadol, a relatively mild pain killer, when “everyone knew” there were far more potent drugs being used by those hoping to win Iditarod.

The race has shown little interest in pursuing those claims. It last year sacked the toxicologist running its doping program and has yet to replace him with a new authority on doping.

Changing times

Meanwhile, the rules were rewritten to do away with “strict liability” and put more bodies between mushers and any public disclosure of doping.

The 2020 rules call for a Drug Testing Review Panel (DTRP) to convene to “commence an investigation” into any positive drug test flagged by toxicologists analyzing the limited number of urine samples taken from Iditarod dogs during the race.

That group will then decide whether a doping violation has taken place using a new standard.

“The standard of proof shall be whether the evidence has established an anti-doping rule (Rule 39) violation to the comfortable satisfaction of the Drug Testing Review Panel, bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation,” the plan says. “This standard of proof in all cases is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a
reasonable doubt.”

Should the review panel decide there was a doping violation, the issue gets forwarded to the Iditarod’s board of directors.

The panel, the rule says, will then “close the investigation with no further action. Upon determining that a violation has occurred, the DTRP will prepare a report of its findings and a recommendation for action to the ITC Board.

“The ITC Board has the sole discretion and authority to make any final determination regarding any antidoping rule violation and regarding the imposition of any sanction for such violation.

The ITC Board will, in the exercise of its authority, give due consideration to the report and recommendation made by the DTRP, the musher’s explanation of events and acceptance of responsibility, the record and results of any appeal and hearing, the severity of the violation, any previous record of rule violations or disciplinary
action, and the effect of the violation on the health and welfare of the dogs and on the fairness of the competition.”

There is no mention of the Board’s inherent conflict of interest given that Iditarod boards have long treated protection of the image of the race as their prime directive.

Also unmentioned is whether the Board will publicly reveal any disciplinary actions or drug use believed to have given a musher an unfair advantage.

CORRECTION: This is a revised version of an earlier story. It was edited to make it clear Dallas Seavey was a musher with a doped team.








42 replies »

  1. Iditarod has had some fishy scratches / disqualifications over last few years . Could the drug testing play into that? Fishy story like nick petit scratch sounds like a good cover story for a drug enforcement action. I mean come on , the strongest happiest team in the race that’s hours ahead can’t go forward or even return to shacktoolik ? I heard they sent a sno go to pick up his team . I saw a video of his dogs barking and screaming to go in shaktoollik . Sounds like a cover story to me for a major rule infraction.Even Brent sass’s disqualification was strange. By appearance they dq the strongest team for carting a I pod ? Got to be a cover story for major rule infraction. Be interesting to really know what’s going on . Why is Iditarod so secretive? They just create speculation with their secret panels that never publish drug test results. Obviously all just speculation but Iditarod brings it on themselves. Even Dallas drama was all hush hush till it finally got pushed into the papers . What a silly organization.

    • So my brother the pilot had a little boy, and when he got big enough to do fun things, he loaded him up and tried to impress him with flying. Yawn. When are we going home?

      Driving home, there’s a dirt-bag little NASCAR dirt-track. Dust & racket wafting over the road. SLAM, the kid plasters into the passenger window – Dad! Look! – STOP!!!

      They have a cart-program. Dad buys the track. Has 23 car-carcasses in his front yard. Todd Palin takes jealousy-therapy.

      Near-decade on, strapping lad wins the amateur Nationals. They’ve been a race-family long-term now, and like the more-attentive Iditarod teams, they’ve found ways to make a decent living with it. One good finish, name-recognition, play those cards right … it’s not fancy, but it’s not punching a clock or wear a suit, either.

      Iditarod is yet-another of these special-protected monopoly-trips, related to Professional Sports. This is a well-known genera of critters, with endemic local examples, and widespread ecosystem versions. Irod, folks, is pretty small potatoes.

      Walls go up. They have to, always somebody (several) aiming to take you down. At the same time you need to Reach Out, and you need to watch your PR. So no surprise, you see otoh elaborate information on the health of dogs, and otoh there will be murky thickets … say on the pharmaceuticals that help make it happen … legally, and perhaps not. Most substances are only trouble, within so many days of an event, the rest of the time they’re business-as-usual, stock-in-trade, perfectly legal.

      There’s no such thing as true purity … or complete stability. When a scanner spots 1,000 drugs as you stroll through a door-frame, or with a hand-wand at a shack out in the bush, and doping is totally cornered … the next year it will be something totally new. Issues are always a matter of management, never of real elimination.

      Rob Urbach is up to something, and Iditarod & Alaska is the starting-point.

      • Ted,
        No offense, but spare me your antidotes as to why the Iditarod is sweeping a huge drug problem under the rug.
        Dog racing is deplorable enough and now we are fed b.s. stating no one cares that these dogs are on drugs or that they get shot in the head and tossed in a hole when their batteries expire.
        Not too mention they are forced to run over 100 miles a day in this white man’s dog race.
        Rob is just the next over paid talking face for the corporate camera and media propaganda machine in Alaska.
        My quote from says it all:
        “One of the biggest flops of Urbach’s tenure was the introduction of the “Retro Tri Series” in 2013, which aimed to grow membership and participation by establishing events with a lower barrier to entry…”
        By tossing away the drug testing director and allowing “a lower barrier to entry” by allowing Dallas and othe dog dopers back in the club he as an outsider is sending the wrong message to Alaskans that have watched the demise of this corporate dog and pony show for years.
        Just another carpetbagger who showed up to AK after he got fired from his job in the lower 48.
        Same old story….he will leave when the money to pay his 6 figure salary is washed up.

      • Ted , sounds like you definitely have solid inside information. Let’s hear it! You are apparently an insider . Since you have the jump on the rest of us , do share your knowledge and wisdom. Elaborate on these stock in trade legal substances. Also what urbach has up his sleeve .

      • Ted , forgive me for being cynical. My sports heroes were disgraced lance Armstrong and Marion Jones . Both used performance enhancing drugs . So I’m a little jaded on the whole sport thing as it seems so unfair to the fans and the ethical partipants . Basically robs them . So according to Craig’s information there is a huge difference between human top sports and Iditarod. Both jones and Armstrong were stripped of their major tittles and penalized . In opposite action- Iditarod’s response to a public positive is to release a doping clearance manual , exonerate Dallas Seavey from his positive and make more layers of protection against a positive being called a positive and then to top it off fire the person with the scientific proof that presented the positive at the bequest of the well connected father of the doper . In my humble opinion that sounds not only abnormal for sports in general but clearly smacks of corruption and like Craig said – conflict of interest. Yes I’m cynical but I’m relatively accurate and now you say rob urbach will fix it all ? Quite interesting. Do elaborate. I’m tired of being disappointed by unethical sports heroes. An interesting study would be what turns them to the dark side ?

      • No offense Steve. I know you have the best interests of the dogs at heart.

        I hope the Iditarod doesn’t have a run-away doping problem on their hands, and to whatever extent doping is going on, I hope Iditarod isn’t making it worse by breaking the Rules themselves. Take that rug out and give it a good shaking … but that won’t mean the rug is sterile, completely free of dust-motes, or assorted mysterious stains.

        Look at these other sports with well-known problems, particularly doping. Look at Major League Baseball, with team-members and even Doctors trafficking stuff, even in the dugout. Are they going to shut down MLB because there is a problem? No, not at all.

        If it did turn out that the Iditarod front office itself was in criminal violation – ‘cover up’ means some kind of conspiracy – then the Governor/Legislature fires as many white-collars as they think it will take – up to & including the whole shebang – and appoints a temporary Interim Commission (notable citizen-volunteers, mostly). Teams continue to pound up & down the training-trails, and next March they’ll be off to Nome.

        The fact that Dallas Seavey is reportedly the first one to come up with a positive test, is a pretty hefty fact. Amazing even. They’ve been testing, and they’ve never seen a violation? Wow. Other sports/races will be very envious.

      • Opinion,
        When you think of Unethical Sports Heroes, please do not forget about Pete Rose and Barry Bonds…

      • Ted,
        The huge difference between the Iditarod and professional sports is that the dogs have no choice in deciding to take the drugs.
        Any fool knows you can take anabolic steroids for 9 months out of 12 and still test “clean” on race day.
        Without a comprehensive testing process in the off season the ITC is giving all mushers the pass.
        This does not even include the Tramadol out on the trail when things get bad.
        Look at the times of the race and if you go back and see where a full day was magically shaved off the race around 20 years ago, you will see where this started (right after Susan Butcher…who was essentially kicked out for doping)…
        The Government will not intervene, hell the state even gave the ITC a hundred grand several years ago to help combat the bad P.R.
        This race will only end when the majority of Alaskan mushers say enough is enough and walk away in search of a more meaningful experience.

      • Opinion, there’s quite a gulf between what we know so far about Dallas Seavey’s single positive, and the long-running Lance Armstrong saga. So far (officially), we have Seavey on a single incident, by himself. Armstrong ran an illicit inside-empire, and successfully defended it for many years, before he was eventually, finally taken down.

        Now I know & agree that when we see a single rat, that’s not the extent of normal rat-ecology. Plus, there have long been rumors & scuttlebutt around some AK kennels. Europeans – where Lance may have learned the advanced ropes – have been exerting increasing influence on mushing for a good couple decades now.

        Dallas rolled out a legal team, right? This is language the ITC brass understands, eh? Once the lawyers show up, you better be double-triple checking each move. You don’t have to imagine a case like this ending up in courtroom, facing a judge and jury. No, it happens in real life, and if you’ve been making dumb moves, you – not the apparent perp – can end up holding the bag.

        No Opinion (and everyone else), any given single bad test is not usually going to be a slam-dunk, or the end of the story. Slam-dunk test-outcomes are the exception, not the rule.

        Even after being found guilty, there will be some reasonable penalty, and in due course they’re back in the game. Especially first-offense. Until there is a WAY whole lot more on Seavey than this, it ain’t even a shadow of Lance Armstrong.

      • Come on Steve Stine, “white man’s dog race”. Good lord, could you let the whole race, anti-semite, stuff go. Democrat talking points are just plain stupid.

      • Ted, thanks. Interesting insite . I checked ITc rules and doping manual . appears thresholds play a large part and then panels make a decision. Clearly ITc assumes mushers will test positive or there wouldn’t be threshold values . The wordage was pretty vague and complicated with something about categories but clearly allows for potentially performance enhancing drugs at low levels or whatever levels are desired if used according to being below threshold prior to race start. It did appear to say no performance enhancers during the race for whatever that’s worth. Surely this is not how wada and other anti doping organizations do it ? Is this acceptable for competition? Seeing as you are well informed please shed some light. Interesting subject. Iditarod can do whatever it wishes I guess. It’s their ball game .

      • Opinion, Rob Urbach lists his Iditarod priorities;

        1.) dwindling sponsorships

        2.) dog deaths

        3.) “a recent dog-doping scandal”

        4.) animal rights protests

        As a fix-it man, a turn-around artist, some things matter more than others. It’s a mistake, Opinion, to paint this as some kind of voodoo.

        So I’m 10-12 yo, and we visit the new stepdad’s parents. They’re farmers, like my dad’s parents. On the coffee table is a nice display of Dairy Manager magazines. Hmm – must be something new here, right? Read a collection of different articles, and later ask stepdad, “What’s dairy management“? He reels off, “Milk them. Feed them. Clean the parlor.” Glances sideways at me, smiles slyly.

        Iditarod is huge on prestige. It dominates everything else in mushing; head, shoulders and then some. That’s awesome, but it doesn’t pay the utilities, and dogs can’t eat it. Iditarod likes to pay at least a little prize money to all finishers, and the purse remains meaningful quite a ways below the winner. They’d like all those checks to be bigger, and they’d really like a much bigger field. You can burn prestige for a short time … but they need more money coming in, no bull.

        Urbach is not shaking in his boots at the specter of a dope-culture take-over: “a recent dog-doping scandal”. Barely ahead of a few pitiful PETA stalwarts who sometimes provide color in Anchorage or Nome. Not that whatever it is, it doesn’t need to be taken care of, because it does. But that whatever it is, it can be taken care of, and he will. Be great to have the Seaveys (& Co.?) at the starting ceremonies, but the Iditarod can do great either way.

        Like disease in the herd or flock. Call the vet, hope for the best, but be prepare to cull.

        Two of the recent 5 dog-deaths were simply ‘handling mistakes’. A dog got loose and got ran over. Another overheated in transport. Ok, People…

        On the fancier level, mushing overall might be ready for bigger things. It’s pretty rag-tag … like old-time Triathlon was, which he pulled together & brought up to a more competitive posture with other sports. Mushing has long looked ripe for a big upgrade … Urbach’s own backstory suggests he noticed the opportunity and has been considering it, since 1999.

        And don’t overlook politics. The winds shifted, hmm?

      • Ted , sounds like you know what you are talking about quite knowledgeable. Supposition sucks . Keep the facts coming. Good to hear from someone first hand !

      • Ted,
        Rob is not the first hired hand who is gonna try and “lipstick the pig”…
        Luckily he will have help from the media personalities in AK who will never publish the first hand accounts from handlers who have seen the abuse first hand.

      • Opinion specified: “Elaborate on these stock in trade legal substances.”

        Steve Stine points out: “Without a comprehensive testing process in the off season the ITC is giving all mushers the pass.”

        Tons of drugs & methods are available, all the time at any time, say through your Veterinarian, to treat or otherwise manage animals. Many of them you can buy & use, yourself. Some types of steroids are extremely useful for specific conditions in both humans and animals, but are hazardous in long-term roles … so it’s not the substance that’s of concern, but exactly how it is used.

        As you all know, there are ordinary cold-medications, and over-the-counter massage-ointments that will cause a human or animal to fail a drug-test. It’s one of the loop-holes that come up repeatedly.

        So the Event Management, whether it is the Iditarod or the Olympics, work to educate participants that, for purposes of the event, you must avoid using certain products that will get you tangled up with a Test (and which will impair their ability to deploy the test usefully). Otherwise, cough-medications & ointments are totally & perfectly legal … along with about 25,000 other pharmaceutical substances which at the time of the event must not be present.

        Animals are different than humans, legally. That comes into play too. You can do things with an animal, which would require a Doctor to do with a human, legally. Much more latitude with animals.

        Iditarod’s main responsibility is for the proper conduct of the event, itself. An even playing-field for dogs & people, during the contest. Outside the event, not so much.

        It’s bad enough that there might be a 1,000 dogs in the race, but year-round there are say 5 times as many that might be. And you can’t know which will make the team.

        What it boils down to is, as I said at the top of my remarks, that there is close & well-respected veterinary monitoring during the event … which is when the consequences of abuse throughout the year are most likely to manifest themselves, and otherwise be detected. This is what the Iditarod can point to, in response to complaints that they aren’t monitoring dogs year-round … and all their lives.

        Hordes of Vets … very few problems … Irod is covered.

      • Ted , what you missed , possibly on purpose is I wasn’t equating Dallas Seavey with lance Armstrong though there are similarities, what I was equating with lance Armstrong or rather saying is greater trespass is how Iditarod is handling the doping issue and buisness in general. That surpasses Armstrong. Dallas is just a side note in this decades long docu drama- he might not even be at fault for his positive test!!!!!!!!! . Iditarod is factually documented at fault for how they handled the positive test as well as others . Dallas is no more robbing his competitors than any other doper out there. (he might not even be a doper though evidence points in that direction- documented excessive destructive heavy training per news report s and scuttle butt culmination with positive tests on the whole team ,then after the enforcement action plays out, dalllas refusal to re enter and redeem himself- pissed off – if you won’t let me play my way I’m taking my toys and leaving. Then to top it off he looses his loyal sponsor who was a freind an indication of something messy to be compounded with his failure to even be competitive in marginal races in Europe . He went from arguably best in the world to being unable to beat a second tier team from Europe and then the next year unable to finish. Evidence points to without freedom to dope Dallas seaveys ride is over . Granted that’s just well grounded speculation mixed with facts but there are extreme parallels to how it plays out for other dopers in all other sports . Without freedom to dope they fall off the pedestal until they find alternative products . Don’t bullshit me over that idea you can look it up . It doesn’t even mention how Dallas and his father had public charges against them for dog mismanagement/ care and have damaged the idiotrod image irreparably by treating their dogs like cattle. (Though cattle shouldn’t be treated poorly either but they are ) you had idiocy nerve to say maybe Iditarod should invite prooven dopers/cattlemanagers the seaveys back to Iditarod even though they present the worst possible image to that corrupt event ! Did someone pay you to put your foot in your mouth or are you this misguided? It appears you accept their method. According to the news ,mushers don’t accept these actions. Who needs peta when they have promoters like you !! You just gave peta all the ammunition they need – congratulations! . now let’s forget Dallas Seavey as he’s tiny potatoes though accounts state the Seavey family is putting undue influence on ITc to run the organization their way so for now let’s be crazy and assume Dallas is 1000% innocent and a truly upstanding musher ! Then take a look at how Iditarod handled his false positive- there lies the malfeasance and armstrongish comparison and not just one incident- let’s assume Dallas is a tiny anomaly. Craig medred states there are a minimum of 5 other positives. No doubt that’s a tip of the iceberg. If you speak with people in the know you would find I’m right beyond comprehension. So what did Iditarod do to combat all these damn positives they can’t get a handle on and are a public nightmare? They moved the goalposts . Made it hard to be a confirmed positive. And fired the person who can scientifically proove who did what . At the bequest of who ? Champion Mitch Seavey. Father of the accused doper . He threatened to take his toys elsewhere, the question is what else did he threaten ? To get Iditarod to do his bidding? It’s interesting that the prior head tester allegedly quit and refused to come back in part because Iditarod refused to punish drug infractions. So let’s also look at how the staff – ceo is paid around 300 k while the winnner of the race gets a measly 50 k . How much is the rest of the staff getting? You seam to know a lot ? It appears the Iditarod has a conflict of interest that forces them to sweep the drug problem under the table due to what you said because sponsors are their first priority. They need that money to pay their inflated salaries while using and abusing the mushers as a tool to line their own pockets . Proove me wrong ! The math says 40 to 100 mushers get 500 k while 1 man gets over 3/5 of the money 300 k not counting the other staff . Now tell me Iditiorod gives a rats ass about dogs or their mushers when they pay the heads 50:1 as compared to teams that “are”the event. It’s exactly like you said – sponsors first to pay their own personal salaries/expenses. Drug testing and it’s accompanying Scandal near last . It should be the opposite. When the staff donates their pay to help mushers support their kennels or create an extensive testing program you might have a believable point . Trump donated his salary to government so it’s not beyond reason . Joe redington donated part of his own homestead to finance the race also Many early organizers did similar or greater . Let’s see some proof by Iditarod eneforcing their rules , equitably paying teams , and fully financing and enforcing a real drug testing program that doesn’t have rumors of discarded tests and an organization that looks the other way because their main sponsors also are the main sponsors of top mushers not to mention books that mysteriously disappear as the new ceo arrives. You said voodoo. I say facts matter and you didn’t present any . Iditarod wants to use the mushers for its own benefit . Proof is in the pudding, they viciously culled their old loyal staff who started as volunteers , they irresponsibly culled an old musher who is the spirit of the race , they moved the doping goal posts , and they pursue sponsors to line their own pockets throwing crumbs to the teams . Corrupt I say ! Shut it down ! This race is currently taking advantage of loyal fans and the memory of many dedicated people who worked together at their own expense to help save Alaska’s cherished sled dog and dreams of adventure. If it’s true that mushers are doping it’s an unlevel playing field for the few that do race clean if their are any . A gross distortion of sport. Good luck finding proof ITc gives a rats ass about dogs or their mushers. They always crucify them and throw them under the bus . Iditarod does not support anything to do with ethics. Let’s see some proof and action that benifits dogs ! I’m off to pretend I’m tiger woods and play golf as a buff doped golfer !

    • Ted the apparent rules and manual can be found on Iditarod website apparently wasn’t hard to find or look up . I guess the organization is more transparent than I thought. Quite a surprise. Sanctioned doping apparently. Well to each their own. I will go see if I can round up friends to play golf . I prefer it to hearing about Iditarod drama .

  2. Wow! The only reason I come here (comments) is to reconfirm how unbelievably bat-shit crazy some Alaskans are. You know, the ones that will comment ENDLESSLY about the deep state or how beautiful the Palin’s are after an essay that is about how to butcher a tree squirrel or the best way to raise puppies. Tonight must be special because they opened the doors wide open at API and let all the long-termers loose. It’s not even Halloween, and I’m not disappointed. A lot of you are really, really sick.

    To HomerAK, please submit your love letter to the Onion. At least tell me that you are not serious and caught me.

    • The odds are good but the goods are odd . We fit right in with you monk! . Glad you could join us ! Takes bat shit crazy to recognize bat shit crazy ! Welcome to the fun house !

    • Haven’t seen a newspaper in a few years, eh Monk?

      Bill Clinton said it – It’s The Comments, Stupid! 😉

  3. The veterinary monitoring of Iditarod dogs on the trail, and transparency following deaths, helps to defuse the concern about doping. Whatever might be going on, it’s not causing much of a problem … and we’d know if it was.

    PETA and its collaborators do their part too, so obviously desperate for unearned attention. With them on the job, you could almost shoot dogs in the middle of 5th Avenue.

    FitBit type instrumentation, wireless uploading, computer data & processing, could see new improvements in training and trail performance, and a reduction of problems like aspiration pneumonia that are hard to anticipate & detect. “Train don’t Strain”; always tough to optimally train a team, without over-training or strain-injuring certain members, a priority for the military.

    With a little election-luck – augmented by steady intelligent engagement like Jeff King’s – the symbolism of the Iditarod & Alaska will continue to grow.

    • or it could be because doping is good, Ted. Lance Armstrong certainly learned that lesson when he was being treated for cancer, and look how good he did after that. Michele Ferrari has long made the argument that doped endurance athletes are better off than undoped endurance athletes.

      so the question is simple: is it fair if the rules only apply to the people who make the ethical decision to abide by the rules?

      • Lance Armstrong was a shocker for sure, Craig, and a wake-up call. It could be going on like that with dogs; skillfully-done and on the low-down.

        Without question, not all cheat-techniques are equally stupid & depraved. There’s dangerous cheating, and there’s cheating that is relatively safe – or even protective/beneficial (medically speaking). But it is still unfair alright; if you’re straight, you’re both handicapped and a patsy.

        Electronics, again, may eventually largely retire the problem. Field instruments that can noninvasively scan for chemicals & conditions will especially help where each entrant comes with a pack of 16 performers – who don’t sample that easy.

        I’d be bummed out, if something Lance-like emerged with the Iditarod or the wider sport.

      • Craig,
        Watching the movie Icarus, one thing was clear.
        You do not make it to the podium these days without performance enhancing drugs.
        As for your comment:
        “…is it fair if the rules only apply to the people who make the ethical decision to abide by the rules?”
        No, and we can see results of this playing out these days throughout America from Wasilla all the way to Washington, DC.

      • Ted it appears something more nefarious than Armstrong may be going on in Iditarod if Craig is correct. Dallas tested positive,others tested positive and they swept it under table . Dallas gripes why single him out? . Now Iditarod appears to be in the buisness of publishing doping tutorials or rather how to appear clean . That’s not just a blind eye it’s invitation to dope and excuse and coverage if a positive pops up . Not to mention what Craig said about conflict of interest and lack of public clarity. To top the controversy higher than Armstrong rather than punish the dopers such as Dallas Seavey. ITc fired the lead anti doping enforcer / technician scientist who presented proof of doping. Well that just beats all ! Malfeasance anyone? At least with Armstrong those in the know just turned a blind eye and weren’t into promoting. Has anyone looked at ITc books recently? Alleged cash strapped non profit pays ceo hundreds of thousands? Bridges to Russia for sale ! Any takers ?

      • Opinion, is this drug enforcer Dr. Morrie Craig? There’s quite a story & back-story here.

        Because cheating is rampant in competition everywhere, it’s foolish to think it couldn’t be going on with Alaska mushers. It could. But this hardly seems like a simple case of Seavey got busted, and then all the boyz ganged up on the otherwise inoffensive toxicology vet, and the ITC just rolled over and canned a solid scientist.

        I don’t see the details on what got him fired at Oregon. Heaven knows, these days, if he was a donor to the wrong campaign, it could all be a total frame-up. But he then got crossways with both the mushers & the ITC, knowing he was ‘on probation’.

        So until I have better info, I have to score this one a draw.

      • Opinion,
        You have a very good understanding of the plot at hand.
        Dallas’s positive test was a lot like the Russians getting popped in the Olympic doping scam.
        Their entire defense was…if you keep pushing the issue then we will go public with everyone else that is doping.
        The Olympic committee had no other choice than to let them compete again.
        When P.E. pharmaceuticals are blatantly allowed in sleddog competition then we have an ethical problem for Alaskans to solve.

      • Ted , I’m unsure what you are scoring a draw ?please elaborate. Seems the dopers and profiteers clearly won. Dallas Seavey forgiven , other dopers hidden and perhaps also forgiven, lead toxicogists canned at Mitch seaveys request. Mitch publicly stated he would not race Iditarod if Morrie Craig was involved with the drug program. I see no evidence of a draw . I see a lot of fishy buisness and extreme evidence of ethical lines crossed. Ted would you like to buy my shiny Russian bridge ? Real cheap but cash only.

      • Opinion, I just meant by calling it a draw, that I couldn’t tell who’s song & dance to buy. I would prefer that the outside test guy is a compulsive bully with an own-worst-enemy complex (not a hard case to make here) … but I have to acknowledge that the Boyz in the Subarctic Hood would be plenty cagey enough to play Dr. Craig’s liability cards to their advantage.

        Interpreting it the other way – that there’s a widespread, systemic problem in the mushing fraternity … wasn’t my default first reaction. But I’d rather be able to recover from missteps, than to never make them.

        I’ll roll this over again in my head, and do the research again being careful of the rose colored glasses…

      • Ted , makes sense . While you are at it have the feds look at Iditarods books .

  4. Craig,

    I thought the opening sentence was hyperbole, then I kept reading. “The doping manual for the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race” sounds like it is just that, an instruction manual on how to go about cheating and not getting caught.

  5. No surprise here folks…
    After Dallas threatened to leave the club for good and all the bad PR surrounding Iditarod (including the latest saga with musher Perzechino arrested in the Philippines on charges stemming from a 2001 Rape case in AK)…
    Stan Hooley left the damaged vessel in tow and new CEO Rob Urbach has a long history with Triathletes and corporate affairs.
    “The Iditarod Trail Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Urbach as its new CEO…
    One of the biggest flops of Urbach’s tenure was the introduction of the “Retro Tri Series” in 2013, which aimed to grow membership and participation by establishing events with a lower barrier to entry…The series never really took off and fizzled out after the 2015 season.”

    “He was the ninth person to hold the position, and was one of the highest-paid executives in the triathlon industry, with an annual salary of $362,000.”

    Seems like the seat at the helm of ITC is a big drop in pay for Urbach…

  6. Gone are the days of old… meaning all aspects of life. Take Ron Ely​, the original, all natural, hunky (for his time) Tarzan to the drug filled Arnold Schwarzenegger. Compare yesterdays all natural race to todays drug fueled times, dogs, and mushers..
    Kind of sad, because Iditarod just screams Alaska and it’s past. I am just waiting another 15yrs for the AI robotic dogs and mushers to complete the race in 2 days.

    • Bryan,
      There is a past before the corporate dog race bonanza hit AK.
      Reading the book: “Kantishna..Miners, Mushers, Mountaineers”
      You can see the old Sourdough types like Frank Tondro aka “Malemute Kid” who hauled passengers and freight for the Alaska Railroad project back around 1916.
      Then there was the Earl Norris types who came along in the 1940’s and hauled freight across glaciers for expeditions like the Bradford Washburn’s ascent of Denali.
      These are the old days that I see lost forever to the new mentality of “training runs” all winter with social media posts leading up to one big race every March.
      Too corporate and too contrived for the survival of the pioneer spirit in AK.

      • Freight is still being hauled by dog teams to the Muldrow Glacier for climbers doing Harry Karsten’s route up the north side of Denali by my guides under my permit with Denali National Park. Not all of us are running dogs for races. Although all of the attention goes there.

      • Jon Nierenberg,

        Nice pages you guys have up for EarthSong Lodge. The introductory mushing-training, teams of dogs for new learners, sounds like great fun for the newbie & guide alike. Contratulations!

  7. One thing many love about her family and her is that they are still the humble, kind, hardworking, and non-celebrities theyve always been. Bristol especially PRIDES herself on being normal and the anti-celebrity. She has said more than once she took a few opportunities to help people, and to give her son a good life. She among her family members are THE most slandered and abused people on earth, so much so that her intelligent son has called liberals and sociopaths like Shannyn moore jealous psycho liars.

    People can lie and say all they want. It isn’t changing the good truth of a GREAT family.

    I loved Willows baby shower 6 days ago, where friends, Heaths, and Palins blended like one family to celebrate good times. Sarah is so happy and feels renewed over endless prayer against disgusting liars and haters who attack her. She is THE ONLY authentic, GOOD person who’s EVER been in American politics. And NOTHiNG changes that. She’s more intelligent than Biden on the record except media cannot allow their favored party to be outed.

    Sarah doesn’t hide. EVER. She was so proud of her son at his first XCountry meet Sept 24.

    Don’t be envious they have the best and happiest family. Youre just further making her a victim.

    Literally none of Sarah’s kids’ careers involve “fame.”

    STOP abusing GOOD humble people.

    • Brian Ted, Steve o ,Steve did you notice trump is strongly trying to pull out of Syria , Iraq and elsewhere? Are you getting the feeling he feels similar to the average American. America first . Do you get the feeling trump doesn’t trust the media /cia narratives about 9/11 or about anything in general? Notice what trump said today – (rough statement) those people are 7,000 mile away (Trumps lack of care for exactness does pop up but his principle stands true) If they give us any trouble over here we will fight to win . No mention of needing to keep the battle in foreign lands . Does that not seem similar to what I was saying. He’s not afraid of people at a distance that are not an immediate threat . He is a fearless leader . For the first time in decades we are seeing a warrior . A fearless selfless leader willing to make his own path for better or worse.we didn’t hire Ghandi for this job . We hired an American lion . He put his fortune and family on the line . He stands to to reap no benefits for himself except pain and suffering. He donates his salary to parts of government that need it. His buisness has suffered and may never recover. Selfless he is with factual action. Trump understands he must make the situation more simple and cut his losses . Involvement in Syria is beyond complicated. Exiting will even reduce friction with Russia and has potential to start regaining allies on all fronts and disentangle us from foreign unprofitable situations. It slowly,will enable him to start using diplomacy again . Once he has made numerous more pull outs to keep our soldiers safe and reduce friction and our enimies to a handful.Trump knows how to win . Notice who supports trump exit strategy most ? Rand paul. The strong republicans back trump . Nunes and others . Bring our troops home . Put the prooven criminals in prison like Hillary, Biden and cabal in prison then free heroes like Snowden, Stone , assange , Chelsea and the others . Don’t listen to democrat ,rhino ,globalist , cia , and media propaganda any longer . Their smokescreen of impeachment/ an attempted coup. These criminals have nothing to loose and that’s why they are pulling out all the stops . Take back reality and our nation. Stand strong behind Trump ! I may be preaching to the choir . Now is the time to put aside differences and unite behind our president. If trump continues on this path of working to free us from foreign entanglements give him a second term and vote trump ! Even if it means pain in financial sectors controlled by banksters and globalist entities. Do what’s right for this nation irregardless of what happens to the financial sector. With American ingenuity finances will recover .

      • Opinion, couldnt agree more. Trump is the best President in my lifetime. Bit unpolished but, he has done just about everything he has said he would do. He has been met at every turn by obstructionist Democrats and RINO’s who have tried to derail his progress. Currently they are formulating another hoax to cover their treason for the 2016 Election and corruption against the taxpayer. Thank God Trump is a billionaire who was raised on the mean streets of NYC. Nobody lands million dollar deals there unless they can scrap.

      • I voted for him Opinion, Orange Man Bad & all. I could do without the real-world reality-TV, but it’s his style. If he wasn’t in a position to film The New Apprentice at 1600 Pennsylvania, he wouldn’t be in a position to Fire the Establishment – on both sides of the aisle.

        He listens. On the Middle East, eg. It may be a learned role, but he may have then learned it’s how you excape from defeating, losing to, yourself.

      • Ted , I agree with you more than you could know. I to could do without the drama queen method. I’m 99% sure he uses that as both a weapon against his enimies so they become overly apparent showing their unethical globalist colors and as a Uniter for Americans who have developed a short attention span and need awoken from their zombie state . Think Rome -.( Are you not entertained!!! Win the public ! He’s not good enough with out it . “Or some such” ) He appears to have recognized the benifits of showmanship in our era and the free advertising dollars it brings. Proof is in the pudding. He has a good family, he works to put upward pressure on wages ,he works to reduce unemployment, he works to bring pride back to minority’s,he works to bring back manufacturing, he works to save the unborn, he works to remove America from foreign entanglements, he works to support our Alies , he works for world peace – North Korea , Russia ect ,He works for free , he works at the detriment of his finances , he works at his own life’s risk he works for us . That’s what I’m seeing in the pudding. Imperfections and all he is genuinely working for us putting it all on the line .

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