The Iditarod -- the Last Great Race. A legendary feat of endurance and teamwork, part of Alaska legend and lore. And for a photographer, a dream assignment, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel across this great state by airplane, snowmachine and sled.

The Iditarod is what brought our publisher, Alice Rogoff, to Alaska, and it was my first assignment at Alaska Dispatch. Little did I know what I was getting into. While I had mushed before, it was at a much more modest pace, 300 miles in six days. The fastest Iditarod mushers cover 1,000 miles in under 9 days.

It was a blur, a fast-paced mixture of photographing, editing, and trying to find internet access to upload photos. By the end of the race, it was a literal blur, as we adjusted our schedules to those of the sleep-deprived mushers. By the time we reached White Mountain the night had become our day. Watching Aliy Zirkle pop caffeine pills, I contemplated that myself.

But by the time we arrived on Nome's Front Street, the throngs of spectators, eager for a glimpse at the soon-to-be winner, seemed to energize us. Watching Dallas Seavey mush under the burled arch at the finish, the youngest musher in Iditarod history, was a sight I will never forget.

See Alaska Dispatch's best life photos of the year, here.

See Alaska Dispatch's best scenic photos of the year, here.

Contact photographer Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com