Palin's Husband Races Across Alaska
VP pick's spouse: pro snowmobiler and four-time champ of the Iron Dog.
Aug. 30, 2008— -- Each year, they race 1,971 miles through the snow and ice of the Alaskan wilderness, weighed down by sleeping bags, a small tent, a stove that weathers the wind, flares, a hatchet and other gear they'll need to survive if conditions deteriorate.
From Wasilla, Alaska -- the hometown of John McCain's vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin -- northwest to Nome and then east to Fairbanks, two-person teams compete in the Iron Dog, the longest snowmobile race in the world.
While many Washington types and political families might never dream of subjecting themselves to those conditions, that's not the case for Palin and her husband, Todd.
A professional snowmobiler, Todd Palin is a four-time race champion, winning his last title in 2007 with competition partner Scott Davis.
And in the blistering cold, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been found front and center to cheer him on, long after others have retreated to the warmth of their cars.
"She showed up and waved the flag at the start of the race out there," Jim Wilke, a member of the Iron Dog's board of directors, told ABCNews.com on Friday. "It was 29 below when I pulled up at the lake, out at the starting line."
Two weeks ago, Todd Palin signed up for the February 2009 race, which would be his 16th run as a competitor.
And no matter where Sarah Palin's evolving political career takes her come November, those familiar with the competition say they expect the Palins to show up as planned again this winter.
"I would be surprised if he didn't," Wilke said. "They're quite a couple. They have not seemed to change their lifestyle a lot since she's been elected governor.
"She's perfectly at home and very comfortable in outdoor clothing," he added. "When she puts on her blue jeans, it's not like she just took 'em out of the box."