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The Sled Race (Grade 10)

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The Sled Race

Imagine racing across almost one thousand miles of Alaskan terrain with nothing to protect you against the freezing temperatures other than your clothes and your determination? For some, this might sound like torture, but for many other people, it is an adventure they train for all year round.

For the past 40 years, dozens of dedicated men and women have participated in the Iditarod, a contest that has been nicknamed the last great race on Earth. Gathering in Anchorage, Alaska, the racers check their sleds, dog teams, and gear before starting. This race can take up to two weeks or more to complete and, as they navigate the treacherous route, the competitors stop and check in at 25 small towns along the way.

The trip is difficult and exhausting, but racers are equipped with high-tech equipment, including cell phones and Global Positioning Devices. Most of the competitors are sponsored by businesses and blog the journey as they cover mile after mile.

Each one of the sled drivers is in good company: their team of sled dogs. Most of the dogs are either Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, chosen for their strength, endurance, and speed. These extremely well-trained dogs are able to cover up to 100 miles a day and each one has its unique position on the team. Together, the dogs and their mushers race over snow and ice, in wind and through blizzards to reach that all-important finish line.
1. 
Based on this passage,which statement is most likely true?
  1. Most people in Alaska are not aware of the Iditarod.
  2. The mushers and dog teams must work well together.
  3. Sled dogs are difficult animals to train effectively.
  4. The race will probably not go on for many more years.
2. 
What is most likely one of the biggest obstacles to winning the Iditarod?
  1. Harsh weather
  2. Uncooperative dogs
  3. Insufficient equipment
  4. Lack of media attention
3. 
How has this race most likely changed over the last 40 years?
  1. It is a much longer race then it used to be.
  2. It includes much more high-tech equipment today.
  3. It depends on dogs that are strong, fast, and reliable.
  4. It takes up to two weeks or more to complete the race.

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