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One thing I am curious about is the nature of the ceremonial start vs. the actual race start in Willow. From reading Libby Riddles account of the race, it seemed the earlier races took this stretch more seriously as a part of the race. Is that so? Also, I was wondering if mushers were in race mode after the ceremonial start or if they continued to rest until the actual start the next day.
I'm not sure how it was before -- what Libby's account might have been based on -- but my sense now is that the ceremonial start is pretty much "just for fun." Lots of fun, actually... A thousand dogs, thousands of people, a run down 4th Avenue and a circuit through town...The teams all then drive to Willow for the "real" start the next day, so I can't say "this stretch" is really part of the race.As for your question, I would say that the mushers are in race mode starting with when they get to Anchorage... and there isn't really any "continued to rest" aspect for them.
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