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With new sled 'caboose,' a place for dogs to rest

Dogs in Jim Lanier's team rest in Sunday's sunshine. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dallas Seavey leaves the start line on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dallas Seavey's daughter, Annie, plays in her dad's dog truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Hugh Neff gets ready to race near his truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Iditarod veteran Mike Williams waits for racing to begin. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Iditarod musher Nathan Schroeder drives his dog team down the trail just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King says goodbye to Ellen Donoghue. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Musher DeeDee Jonrowe prays with Scott Jenkins of Alaska Missions. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Sue Ellis, wife of musher Mike Ellis, hugs Frankie. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team in front of Mount Foraker, Mount Hunter and Mount McKinley just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jason Mackey will carry an urn of ashes taped to his handle bars for part of this year's Iditarod. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Wade Marrs eats a large ribeye steak before racing begins. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Monica Zappa prepares her sled. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Katherine Keith puts harnesses on her team. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher passes a party just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Fans line up along the course on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Defending champion Mitch Seavey talks with others before racing starts. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team past some open water just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Pair of mushers pass a party just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Gus Guenther of Clam Gulch, Alaska, leaves the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Young fans peek down the chute. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Defending champion Mitch Seavey slaps hands with the crowd. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Paige Drobny of Fairbanks waves to the crowd after she leaves the staring line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Jem, a dog in Justin Savidis' team pokes his head out of the dog truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Fans of the Norwegian contingent of mushers cheer Tommy Jordbrudal of Norway. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News With Mount Foraker, Mount Hunter and Mount McKinley on the horizon musher prepare their teams for the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Musher Yvonne Dabakk slaps hands with Iditarod fans. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Aliy Zirkle waves to fans on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Nicolas Petit, of Girdwood, will use a new sled design that holds a dog kennel in back. He'll use the container to rest dogs as he races. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Aliy Zirkle's team runs across Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Newton Marshall said he's celebrating his 31sth birthday and his fourth Iditarod start today. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Jason Mackey will carry an urn of ashes taped to his handle bars for part of this year's Iditarod. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Mushers stage their teams before the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King calls for his team to run from the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dogs in Curt Perano's team leave the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the trail just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe leads her team to the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dallas Seavey's daughter, Annie, plays in her dad's dog truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Hugh Neff gets ready to race near his truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Iditarod veteran Mike Williams waits for racing to begin. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dogs in Jim Lanier's team rest in Sunday's sunshine. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dallas Seavey leaves the start line on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Musher DeeDee Jonrowe prays with Scott Jenkins of Alaska Missions. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Sue Ellis, wife of musher Mike Ellis, hugs Frankie. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Iditarod musher Nathan Schroeder drives his dog team down the trail just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King says goodbye to Ellen Donoghue. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Wade Marrs eats a large ribeye steak before racing begins. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Monica Zappa prepares her sled. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Katherine Keith puts harnesses on her team. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team in front of Mount Foraker, Mount Hunter and Mount McKinley just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jason Mackey will carry an urn of ashes taped to his handle bars for part of this year's Iditarod. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team past some open water just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Pair of mushers pass a party just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher passes a party just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Fans line up along the course on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Defending champion Mitch Seavey talks with others before racing starts. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Defending champion Mitch Seavey slaps hands with the crowd. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Paige Drobny of Fairbanks waves to the crowd after she leaves the staring line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Gus Guenther of Clam Gulch, Alaska, leaves the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Young fans peek down the chute. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News With Mount Foraker, Mount Hunter and Mount McKinley on the horizon musher prepare their teams for the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Musher Yvonne Dabakk slaps hands with Iditarod fans. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the chute during the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014.
Bob Hallinen
Jem, a dog in Justin Savidis' team pokes his head out of the dog truck. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Fans of the Norwegian contingent of mushers cheer Tommy Jordbrudal of Norway. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Musher Newton Marshall said he's celebrating his 31sth birthday and his fourth Iditarod start today. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Jason Mackey will carry an urn of ashes taped to his handle bars for part of this year's Iditarod. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Aliy Zirkle waves to fans on Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Nicolas Petit, of Girdwood, will use a new sled design that holds a dog kennel in back. He'll use the container to rest dogs as he races. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Aliy Zirkle's team runs across Willow Lake. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A musher drives his dog team down the trail just after the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe leads her team to the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Mushers stage their teams before the start of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race out of Willow, AK on Sunday, March 2, 2014. 140302
Bob Hallinen
Jeff King calls for his team to run from the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester
Dogs in Curt Perano's team leave the starting line. Racing began for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Willow Lake on Sunday afternoon, March 2, 2014. Sixty-nine teams started this yearÕs Iditarod.
Marc Lester

From Kyle Hopkins in Willow --

If a few sleds on the Iditarod Trail look oddly longer than usual this year, it’s because mushers plan to travel with a kind of caboose for much of the race.

Four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Jeff King of Denali Park, long the MacGyver of dog-racing apparatus, test-drove a prototype of the new sled design last year. The idea: Attach a removable trailer to the back of the sled that could be used to rest two or three dogs even as the others charge toward Nome.

"Just like having a bench when you’re playing basketball. You always have fresh players to stick on the team," said Willow sled maker Dan Schlosser.

A journeyman machinist who once made parts for Boeing, Schlosser built the first sled at King’s request. This year at least two other racers are using similar designs, with not only a tail dragger but a detachable trailer, he said.

Schlosser uses lightweight aircraft aluminum to keep the sleds from weighing more than traditional designs.

The trailer, or caboose, can be unbolted at a checkpoint later in the race for faster travel. King’s trailer is about five feet long, Schlosser said.

Parked next to other sleds, it’s the difference between a sedan and a limousine. Other cabooses carried by Travis Beals of Seward and Nicolas Petite of Girdwood appear slightly smaller.

Petite’s trailer looks like a dog kennel on runners, complete with a wire-frame door the huskies can peer through while traveling. Petite said he may let some of the more powerful dogs rest in the caboose early on, when mushers are trying to pace themselves and avoid injuries, in hopes of saving their strength for later in the race.

Plus, he said, some of the dogs like to eat in private. He’ll place them in the kennel at mealtime.

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