VERY LONG UPDATE 2/24/2014 --
Okay folks, it's nearly time "fur" our "rendevous" at the trail. There's finally snow and, by golly, there might even be S-U-N for us on Saturday. Get excited, very excited!
The Location: Trailgate will be stationed on the portion of the University Lake Trail that is east of the lake, between the lake/forested area and Wesleyan Drive. The point on the map above is where I watched the race last year; our exact location could vary, but it will be in and around that segment of the trail. (I might move us south and west, around the curve of the trail, depending on parking at the medical center. My assumption is those lots will be closed, so plan to lug your paraphernalia.) Post if you're confused. I will probably bring a bunch of balloons to help everyone track us down.
The ceremonial start is at 10am downtown. I plan to get to the trail at 9ish to stake out a spot and setup. The mushers probably won't start running by us until 10:30 and should steadily pass through our zone for the next few hours. Running of the Reindeer is at 4pm so I plan to start packing up at 3ish.
As a veteran trailgater, here is what I suggested each person bring to maximize safety, comfort, and enjoyment:
- First of all, DO NOT BRING YOUR DOG. Seriously. This breaks my heart too, especially since we're meeting at our beloved dog park (!), but leave the critter at home. Dogs in this situation are extremely dangerous to the mushers and will also be a big pain for you to control. Trust me.
- But most definitely bring a camping chair/seating device of preference
- Your warmest boots and wool socks; you will be standing mostly still on snow for a very long time
- The beverages you wish to consume and an appropriate storage container/cooler to keep them somewhat out of sight. (More on this later.) If people wish to bring something to share with the (large!) group, go for it, but do not feel obligated.
- Thermos with a warm beverage; the "21+" variety of beverage is the most warming I find. For Eryn, this clearly means mulled wine and we thank her in advance for sharing.
- Hand warmers, extra layers, a blanket (or at least have this stuff in the car just in case)
- Bells, whistles, streamers, etc. for cheering
Now, for communal Trailgate supplies. Please post in the comments section which of the following you can contribute:
- We need at least one folding table; more would be better. Warning: All items placed on the table are considered shareable.
- Portable, battery-operated speakers for iProducts; bonus points for a good raceday playlist
- Utensils, plates, napkins, plastic cups*, trash bags. If everyone just cobbles together whichever of these things they have stashed in their house, I'm sure we'll have plenty. (*In my experience, APD turns a blind eye to imbibing on the trail during Iditarod, however, I recommend we still make an effort to mask our consumption.)
- Potluck food -- I suggest each person brings something to share. Since there is only a way to keep stuff cold rather than hot, bring-a-dish options are somewhat rudimentary. Some possible uninventive items include: chips, salsa, guacamole, beer cheese, other dips; veggies, hummus, other dips; cheese, meat, and crackers; chicken and tuna salads and pita; muffins, brownies, cookies. More inventive could be casseroles, pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese, or things in crock pots that might stay relatively warm for a least a portion of the time. Snacky foods are the easiest and this reality doesn't bother me. Again, post what you plan to contribute, although it's also a potluck reality that we'll end up with 45 bags of tortilla chips despite any and all efforts to coordinate otherwise. (Fortunately for Gus, they're gluten free!)
- Beverages are addressed above. If there is interest in collectively purchasing a pony keg and an idea of the timeline for doing that, post something in the comments. I could be easily convinced to go this route, provided we decide on a good beer. FYI: Tuesday is $5 growler day at Glacier Brewhouse (beer will still be good by Saturday if you don't open the bottle - tough, I know) and Midnight Sun offers a $4-per-growler discount on a select beer M-Th before 4pm. Otherwise, bring what you like and share if you're feeling friendly!
What did I miss? What does/does not make sense? Feel free to suggest edits and additions to the plan. And of course feel free to bring non-running friends. The more the merrier!
RON-DY! RONDY-VOUS, COME ON!
Details to follow as they evolve, but SAVE THE DATE! The basic idea is to gather everyone together for food (potluck style), drinks, and fun along a local trail (University Lake area?) to cheer on the mushers and pups during the ceremonial start from downtown Anchorage. Trust me, this is a fantastic way to spend a day outside in February! Race starts at 10am and the last musher will likely pass us by 3pm, plus some party prep and clean-up time along the trail. Yay!