It will take more than a week for Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which began Sunday, to cover nearly 1,000 miles. But every minute counts — and several mushers are trying out special pants that allow them to race without stopping for bathroom breaks.
That revelation comes from the Anchorage Daily News, whose Kyle Hopkins spoke to two women who are test-driving what they call "Pee Pants." It turns out that's the formal name — the attire is from North Carolina's Kicos Medical, which seems to be another name for a chiropractic facility outside Charlotte.
After the inventor got in touch with mushers to ask if any women would like to try out the Pee Pants, "I bit," said Dr. Christine Roalofs, a pediatric dentist in Anchorage.
More from the Daily News:
"At least two other mushers are using the apparatus — a mix of bicycle shorts, funnel and a tube that pokes out next to the musher's boot — this year on the trail."
"Roalofs, a rookie, said she's happy to try anything that helps her drink more water and stop less at freezing temperatures, but the target audience is people like flight nurses, she said. "People that can't pee but have to pee.'"
"The inventor is aiming for the general public too, she said. He figures it might help people party longer at tailgate parties."
As of this writing, Roalofs and another Pee Pants tester, Angie Taggart, are still in the race, although they're not currently threats to win. Before the race, Roalofs took Alaska Public Radio's Annie Feidt on a short ride.
This year's race has been marked by gusty winds and warm conditions that are reportedly deteriorating the trail.
Four mushers have pulled away from the pack to be the first to reach the halfway point in Iditarod. The next checkpoint is about 80 miles away in Anvik, where the first musher to arrive will be honored with a rib-eye steak dinner as the winner of the First to the Yukon award, the AP reports.
The first musher to reach the finish line in Nome will win a prize of more than $50,000 and a new pickup truck — something current leader Lance Mackey has said he sorely needs.
"My ex-wife got the first truck," he said at the race's start in Anchorage, "and the '09 truck, I'm almost embarrassed to drive it in public it's so beat up. So when I say I need a new truck I'm not kidding. The '09's got no window in it, the lights are busted out, (and) the front bumper's gone."