Seventy-eight mushers, behind teams of yapping, energetic dogs, will roll down Fourth Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, culminating years of preparation, trial and error, defeat and victory. Saturday is for show, but on Monday, the real racing begins in Fairbanks, instead of the usual start in Willow. Follow Alaska Dispatch News as we travel along the Iditarod Trail with these photos and videos.

Alaska Dispatch News

Meet the 78 mushers who are competing in the 43rd Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Loren Holmes

Jeff King and Dallas Seavey describe the conditions and decisions that led to one of the most unpredictable finishes in Iditarod history.

Marc Lester
A kennel owner paying for these pre-race tests themselves would find the price prohibitive -- thousands of dollars for each competing dog, said Iditarod chief veterinarian Stu Nelson. John Schandelmeier
The ceremonial start is important to the Iditarod for both image and financial reasons. So-called "Iditariders'' pay thousands of dollars each year in an auction for seats in the sleds of Iditarod mushers who drive their dog teams through the city.Craig Medred
With technical obstacles like the Dalzell Gorge and Happy River Steps gone from this year's rerouted Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, weather is likely to be the biggest potential hazard.Suzanna Caldwell
Alaska parents want to know the best places to watch Iditarod team after team trot by, while allowing wiggly kids to play over the hours it takes all 78 teams to run by.Erin Kirkland
The Iditarod's humble roots are being celebrated in a self-published anthology by a group of race organizers known informally as "the Old Iditarod Gang."Suzanna Caldwell
Big Lake musher and four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser's memoir has been issued a week before the 43rd Iditarod gets started. It will be Buser's 32nd race. Suzanna Caldwell
The Iditarod restart, already moved north from Willow, will now be moved off the Chena River in Fairbanks due to thin ice and open water.Suzanna Caldwell