A record field of 96 mushers took off from Willow, Alaska today in the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, an 1,150-mile endurance test that ends in Nome.

The teams made their ceremonial ride through Anchorage yesterday, where wind chills were around zero.

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This year's $875,000 purse will be shared among the top 30 finishers. There are six past winners in the race this year, including last year's winner, and throat cancer survivor, Lance Mackey.

I was in Nome many years ago -- back before the Internet was invented -- for the race's finish. So I can assure you that, nowadays, there is a much warmer and better way -- at least in terms of seeing the action --  to watch the race.

For $19.95, one can go to Iditarod.com and sign up as an "Iditarod Insider," gaining access to exclusive footage of the race, incuding live streaming video of the start and finish. Proceeds go to the Iditarod Trail Committee.

It's almost worth that much to see the breathtaking scenery alone. For a taste of what it's all about, and to see the official (free) 18-minute preview video of the 2008 Iditarod, click here. (For best results, let it load before viewing.)

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