Iditarod mushers cover long distances across some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable.
But even great beauty can become monotonous when you are riding or pushing at the back of a column of dogs for a thousand miles.
To overcome the burden of distance, each musher has a favorite form of entertainment. Something to take their mind off the miles, something to carry them across a few of those thousand miles blissfully unaware.
For veteran musher Jeff King, it's partly in these lyrics.
"Oh, no, not I, I will survive
As long as I know how to live, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give
And I'll survive, I will survive, hey, hey"
"The dogs are getting sick of me singing it," King said during a stop in Ruby.
King listens to an iPod shuffle on the trail. When he sleeps, he listens to new-age music to take his mind off the cold and to limit the distractions that can take you out of the competition.
The one I listen to when I'm going has everything from Janis Joplin to Marshall Tucker," King said of his musical choices.When he's not belting out Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive," of course.
Dallas Seavey doesn't listen to music. He listens to books on tape. His reasoning is that music doesn't really take you far enough away. Not like a good book will do.
He's currently listening to "Born to Run," a book that deals with barefoot distance running.
Fort Yukon musher Josh Cadzow doesn't like to get specific, but he likes rock music.
Brent Sass likes reggae and a whole lot of Paul Simon when he's listening to trail tunes.
But his favorite form of entertainment is listening to movies.
"I listen to the Big Lebowski, I know the movie by heart, so it's fun to just sit and laugh and quote the lines and stuff," Sass said during a stop in Ruby. "You get a funny look from the dogs every now and then."
Jake Berkowitz was listening to something by Rihanna recently when his dogs nearly took off on him.
"I don't remember what it was, but it was a Rihanna song, and they nearly bolted when it came on," Berkowitz said.
Music and movies play a definite role in the Iditarod, although reigning champ John Baker does not listen to music on the trail, and he's currently in 4th place.
And mushers might well take notice.
In the words of Jeff Bridges, "The Dude abides."
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Contact Tim Akimoff