ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Stuck on ice with dogs that refused to mush, lead Iditarod sledder Nicolas Petit dropped from the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race late Monday.
An early favorite in the world’s best-known dog-sled race, Petit had been stuck for most of the day with his dogs on a section of Bering Sea ice about 200 miles from the finish line in Nome. The dogs refused to move, and Petit ultimately had them taken off the trail by snowmobile.
“Petit scratched in the best interest of his race team’s mental well-being,” said a statement released by Iditarod race managers.
Petit ran into trouble last year in nearly the same spot of the Bering Sea Coast when he was in position to win the 2018 race. But Petit, a French musher who lives in the Alaska ski community of Girdwood, got lost in a snowstorm. Leisfeth Ulsom passed him, and Petit wound up in second place.
This year’s collapse was precipitated by a dog fight, Petit told race officials. The troubles started when a dog named Joee jumped on a younger dog, Petit said in a video posted on the Iditarod’s website.
“I yelled at Joee. And everybody heard Daddy yelling. It doesn’t happen. And then they wouldn’t go anymore. Anywhere. So we camped here,” he said in the interview, conducted Monday morning on the Bering Sea coast.
lesson here is if you expect your dog team to haul your ass over 1000 miles, you shouldn't piss them off