When Winterdance owner Hank DeBruin was unable to finish the Iditarod dog sled race in 2010, his wife Tanya McCready said she lost him.
McCready said he fell into a depression after he was scratched mid-race over a contested competitiveness ruling. She said that mood only lifted when they committed to race in the Yukon Quest for 2011. That experience is the subject of their new book, Journey of 1000 Miles: A Musher and His Huskies’ Journey on the Yukon Quest’s Century Old Klondike Trails which launched in paperback Feb. 26.
“It was an emotional book to write, McCready said. “Numerous times we had tears streaming down our faces … These sections aren’t sad, they are just really powerful.”
The story, also available as an eBook, picks up from where their first work – Iditarod Dreamer – left off. It recounts how the duo got into the Yukon Quest race and their journey across mountain ranges, blizzards and -60 degree Celsius temperatures to finish.
Ten years since their first book was released, McCready said the pandemic provided an opportunity to write a sequel – and help them while their business was hit during lockdown.
“Like so many others, lost a good chunk of revenue,” McCready said. “Finishing the book was one of several options we decided to run with to help with revenue in case we were shut down this winter. Additionally, these races are incredible adventures with so many life lessons in them. They deserved to be captured.”
Those lessons about getting through dark times are something the pair recount as public speakers. Their race stories have a wide appeal, McCready said.
“For adventure seekers, dog lovers and folks who love the North it is an obvious choice. But we have had folks read it who don’t fit any of those groups and tell us they couldn’t put it down and that there were so many valuable life lessons in it, and it was also a great escape from the pandemic.”
The publisher, Melanie Warner, said in an online launch event that the story offers an adventure for people stuck indoors.
“This will make you feel like you’re there,” Warner said. “Just you sharing your experience made other people want to change their own life experience.”
DeBruin said he races in part because of how everything else fades away.
“You live the moment,” he said. “Most people aren’t able to do that nowadays because of how hectic our life is. That’s what I love about these races, is you actually live in the moment.”
The book is available at Master’s Book Store and amazon.ca.