LINCOLN- As the 34th annual Race to the Sky sled dog races in Lincoln started off in minus-12 degree weather, mushers said they're taking extra precautions to take care of man and beast.
Race to the Sky Vice-Chair Pam Beckstrom says the dogs do better in zero to negative 5 degrees, and there are plenty of risks that come along with these temperatures.
"You need to watch for that," Beckstrom says. "They drink plenty of warm water and that the mushers do the same thing because we don't want anyone to get hypothermia or dehydrated or any of the things that could come with cold weather."
Between the 100 mile race and the 300-mile race, some racers won't finish until Monday evening, in which they have a long journey to prepare for.
"We will do some things for the dogs that we wouldn't normally do, they'll be wearing jackets when they run, they usually wear jackets when they rest but not when they run. And then they'll have some protective booties that go over their paws because the snow is really abrasive when it's this cold,” said musher, Brett Burggemen.
Once racers are out on the course, officials say they have to be ready for anything.
"There is mandatory gear that they have to have, that includes an artic sleeping bag and an arctic parka so they can take care of themselves if they get into a condition where they need to stop,” said Beckstrom.
Although these elements look brutal for any sort of race, the main goal of Race to the Sky is to accomplish something great and being swept away by the experience outweighs the 20 mph wind and subzero temperatures.