Queenslander Conquers Iditarod for 3rd Time

Queenslander Conquers Iditarod for 3rd Time

Alaska's Iditarod endurance race conquered for third time by Queensland bike mechanic

Posted on 16.04.2018

Troy Szczurkowski is a glutton for punishment.

Last month he braved frostbite, the threat of wolf attacks and exposure to Alaska’s frozen wilderness to finish third in the Iditarod Trail Invitational, the world’s longest winter ultramarathon.

He had 30 days to follow a constantly disappearing trail from the city Anchorage to Nome with nothing but a fat-tyred bike, some clever layers of clothing and just enough food.

The event is a feat of strategy and mental endurance as much as a test of each competitor’s physical ability.

Mr Szczurkowski — now a three-time race veteran — said few people chose to tackle the full 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometre) course, and even fewer crossed the finish line.

“Last year we had 26 starters heading for Nome and only six of us finished,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

This year only 19 people signed up for the challenge. The winner, Jay Petervary, set a new record of 16 days.

Mr Szczurkowski a bike mechanic from Brisbane, took 23 days to complete the course.

So how does a Queenslander prepare for what seems like endless days battling through the Alaskan wilderness?

“Replicating what I’ll encounter on the trail is the biggest thing,” Mr Szczurkowski said.

“Getting down to the beach and riding the fat bike on the sand is probably the closest thing that will represent the resistance involved in the race.”

As for surviving a month of bitterly cold weather, he said the conditions were impossible to replicate until you touched down in Alaska.

“There’s absolutely nothing you can do from a physiological standpoint for the cold that will have any lasting effect for training.

“It’s all physical.”

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