The Iditarod starts this Saturday. I haven't been as into it this year. During my first Ididtarod I was in the big city with "regular" electricity. I left the computer on all day and was nearly glued to it during any free moment, often staying up late at night to check and recheck the standings. I'd estimate when my favorite mushers might make it into the next checkpoint, checking their time, who was in the lead, how their dogs were doing. I had a blast. I got on discussion forums, read blogs, and frequently checked the websites of favorite mushers to see how their spouses or kids would update us. I would calculate the speed and mileage a musher accomplished on his last run between checkpoints, and then try to figure when he/she might reach the next one. And then...sometimes I'd stay up till midnight or later to see their check-in get posted to see how well they were doing, see if anyone passed them, if they advanced in position and whatnot. I was definitely hooked. I was as avid a fan as anyone can be "watching" a sport without actually watching it.
My second year as a fan (last year) I had just started this blog a few weeks before. I wrote about it quite a bit as the race approached. The race began the day after Mom's emergency 911 day. She was in the hospital and failing during the whole race. I would come home from the hospital in the late evening and check in to see who was where and what was going on. My interest level was something entirely different; I was exhausted each night, full of emotion and concern, and afraid. What time I did spend in fan-ness was a good diversion from the serious situation at hand. I wrote a couple posts about it.
This year, it's different again. Different in a different way. Living off the grid using solar power makes it different. While our solar system provides well for our needs, we're also very cautious about how much we use. We might even be, to a degree, unnecessarily cautious. But we've just always been that way. We're careful to turn lights off behind us, not leave things plugged in, and we turn our computers and the TV off by power strip when not in use. We're careful to not put too much demand on the system at once by not using the "big-spenders" like the microwave and water pump, along with multiple other things like the TV or computers. During the day when the sun is shining and we're charging really well, we can use quite a few things at once. But when the sun goes down and we're draining the batteries to use electricity, we get pretty conservative.
And we definitely don't go off and leave things on while not using them. The laptop uses much less power but we still don't leave it on. It will make being an Iditarod fan a little more cumbersome. Going upstairs to turn the modem on, going back downstairs where I use the laptop, plugging it all in, waiting for it to power up, waiting for the internet to come up, then getting to Iditarod.com. Well, I just got spoiled my first year. There will be no "casual", spontaneous, or all-day checking of Iditarod stats. :( So I haven't been as excited about it. I didn't even subscribe to the Iditarod Insider this year, where you get access to email articles and frequent video clips of the race. I'm just not sure I'll be that into it. As the race gets underway I'll see how my interest develops. I may yet subscribe to the Insider thing. We'll see.
Someday I would love to attend the start of the race, both the Ceremonial Start on the first Saturday in March and the Official "Restart" the next day. We've got it on our "List". On that same List is to someday go to the FINISH in Nome, too. Wouldn't that be something. Now, if we could just get the winner to cross under "the burled arch" at a time other than between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m. that year....that would be just great!