M Fast and Light Winter Travel

by Luc Mehl

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Article Summary:

In 2008 John Pekar, my adventure partner since high school, convinced me to compete in the Winter Classic. I had just returned to Alaska from graduate school and had plenty of free time, but no money. I scored a sweet sponsorship from the MPF (Ma and Pa Fund) by convincing my mom that soon I'd have a real job, wouldn't be as fit, and wouldn't have time for adventure races. Maybe my poor short-term memory is hereditary, because I used the same argument in 2009 and was MPF-sponsored again.

I learned most of my adventure skills from and with John, so we have an ideal dynamic in terms of attitude, pace, and endurance. We've teamed up for all the races. Each year we have planned to travel with a second pair of racers as 'independent nations.' 'Independent nations' is the brainchild of Chunk, our partner in 2009. The idea is that both groups (nations) want to travel together but are functionally independent in case one pair needs to scratch or travels at a different speed. At the last minute one guy from the other nation has had to cancel, so we have traveled as three. Our third partner was Tyler Johnson in 2008, Chunk in 2009, and Brad Marden in 2010. Each partner has brought a different style and influence that is reflected in the information that follows.

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