Welcome to Alaska

Tracker shows the Team in Alaska!!

Not wasting any time, they across the border and tomorrow will be hitching up the Team at their home away from home in Willow!

Go Team!

Superior Telegram Article – Community pulls for local musher


From Superior Telegram  

Maria Lockwood Talia Martens, 17, of Brule spends time with one of her sled dogs, Keisha, Thursday at the family farm. Martens, her father, uncle and 12 dogs are in the midst of a 3,100-mile trip to Willow, Alaska. She plans to race in the Junior Iditarod in February.

A team of athletes from the town of Brule is en route to making a dream come true.

Talia Martens, 17, aims to compete in the Junior Iditarod Feb. 24-25. Before she does, she’ll have connected with some big-name mushers and tested her mettle in the wilds of Alaska.

Monday, she hitched up for a 15-mile training run in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada at Streeper Kennels. She met sprint musher Bud Streeper and his father Terry, who paced her on snowmobile. The wind chill was minus 15.

“They have some awesome trails and they are great people who love dogs,” Martens said in a Facebook message.

The teen plans to train near Denali National Park with Iditarod veterans Jim Lanier and Gunnar Johnson, bunk with Christine Stitt, who raised four mushers, and tackle three different races — the Northern Lights Race Jan. 27 and Willow Junior Race Feb. 9-10 as well as the 150-mile Junior Iditarod.

“I’m very excited to see how she does,” said Johnson, Duluth city attorney. “No matter what, she’ll come out of this experience different and a much stronger person.”

“She will represent this area well.”

Thursday night, signs outside the Brule Cenex and Twin Gables Cafe wished the musher good luck. A mile away, gear was spread out all over the Martens home as they packed for the Friday morning departure.

“We’ve got a list of things to bring that’s about four or five pages long and it’s still growing because we’re still thinking, well what about if this happens,” said Martens’ mom, Janet. “First aid kits and fire extinguishers …”

That’s in addition to 1,500 pounds of Redpaw kibble, 500 pounds of ground beef, 600 dog booties, 12 dogs and Martens’ new sled, built by Chris Evavold of Douglas County.

“You wanna see it?” the teen asked proudly, stepping into the trailer that will be home to her dogs for the next two months to point out the light, flexible sled.

There are challenges yet to come. Martens is the sole Midwest musher competing in the Junior Iditarod. All but three hail from Alaska.

“I’m impressed by her determination and her bravery to take this on,” Johnson said, but there’s no guarantee she’ll be successful.

The terrain is beautiful but rough, weather can be wild and the competition is intense, he said. Martens is sure to encounter moose and other wild animals. This race kicks it up a notch from her past competitions.

“It’s like the difference between a 5K and Grandma’s Marathon,” Johnson said, it can be something you race, or something you survive.

The teen’s determination hasn’t wavered, whether that meant completing schoolwork over the summer to prepare for the trip or taking the dogs on runs three or four times a week in the bitter cold.

“I’m always dressed for it so I’m never cold,” Martens said. “But it’s hard to get myself motivated to get all these clothes on and hook up everybody and run for six hours and then come back.”

That drive, and a veritable village of support, has brought her to this point.

Family backing was never in question for the Brule teen, who has been competing in dog sled races since the age of 8. Her father Tim and uncle Mike Savage are in the process of driving the team 3,100 miles to Willow, Alaska.

Martens’ mom will fly up to spend the week before the race with her, one of a rotating group of chaperones who will keep the teen company as she trains. One aunt crafted leather cases for the trail axes; another took on the role as photographer; grandma Phoebe helped pack.

Fellow mushers have offered Martens training, friendship and advice. The community’s response, however, came as a shock.

People flocked to her first fundraiser, a waffle breakfast at Mission Covenant Church in Poplar. Local businesses and individuals stepped up to lend a hand.

“It’s amazing. I should show you this,” said Janet Martens, unrolling a canvas taller than herself. “This is a poster I had made for her to put up at the races. These are all the sponsors and people who’ve helped her.”

Talia Martens said she was very grateful for them all.

“I wouldn’t be doing this without their support,” the teen said.

Johnson intends to track her race progress online in real time via satellite GPS at jriditarod.com. The same technology helped family and friends watch his progress during last year’s Iditarod.

At one point, he spent 18 hours on the ice of the Bering Sea when his dogs shut down.

“Lots of people were with me that night,” Johnson said.

The Junior Iditarod takes days and tracking it from the comfort of a warm home, Johnson said, is a lot of fun.

The Brule team is already sending back reports from the road, from the price of gas and a map of their progress to pictures of the dogs stretching their legs. Follow their adventure at taliasteam.com or Talia’s Team on Facebook.

“I think a lot of people will be pulling for her,” Johnson said.

Day 3 – The Alaska Highway to Fort Nelson

Day 3 and the Team is in British Columbia on the Alaska Highway Northbound!

Another over 500 miles and the Team is Northbound on the Trail to Alaska! As they move North, they will be losing daylight rapidly, so more driving in the dark as part of the day. No real word from them, but tonight they are in the hospitality of Mushing Fame, Terry Streeper, World Champion sprint musher.

Should have a bit more tomorrow!
Go Team Talia!!

Day 2 Complete

Two days down the “trail” and Tim, Talia, and Mike are making great time on the trip to Alaska! Stopping regularly to feed, water, and “pee” break the Team makes for a long day. The border crossing was pretty uneventful and the border folks were impressed with the challenge ahead.

Tonight (Saturday) the Team is holed up at a hotel in Whitecourt, Alberta. Forgoing the Edmonton Mall and one of the largest Malls in the world, Team Talia opted for a few more miles down the road to make for Alaska. The total trip shows 3173 miles (Google Maps) with 1379 completed. Not quite half way, but a real good start to the journey ahead. This is the easy trail with the flatlands of Alberta. The wilds of the Yukon Territory Await!

Go Team Talia!!

Press Release – Local teen musher trains to compete in the Alaska’s Jr. Iditarod, 2018

Local teen musher trains to compete in the Alaska’s Jr. Iditarod, 2018

Meet and greet planned for Talia Martens and her lead dog, Keisha, at Yappy Hour next Tuesday

Duluth, MN Talia Cismoski-Martens,16, from Brule, WI will hold a meet and greet for the public and press to officially announce her intention to compete in the 2018 Jr. Iditarod. The event will be held at the Boat Club Restaurant in the Fitgers Courtyard during Yappy Hour next Tuesday, August 29th at 6:00 pm.

The 150 mile Sled Dog Race starts near Willow, Alaska, is patterned after the Iditarod and is for mushers between the ages of 14-17. Youth mushers must have two references to qualify for the race. John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Champion Jamie Nelson is providing a reference and has been training and mentoring Talia and her team for months. Nelson states, “Talia has the work ethic to do this and now it’s up to her to not let up. She needs to eat, sleep and think dog training from now on”. Ryan Redington, of Moquah, WI (grandson of Joe Redington-Father of the Iditarod) is her second mentor and will also provide Talia with a reference.

Talia has four additional months of training before she competes in the Gunflint Mail Run in Grand Marais next January. She has competed in numerous regional races such as: The Bayfield Island Sled Dog Race, The Wolf Track Classic, Ely, MN and the eighty mile John Beargrease Jr. Race.

Talia is the daughter of Tim and Janet Martens. She has a younger brother, Morgan who is also a musher. She is a Junior at Northwestern High School where she competes in cross country and track, she is also a musician and cares for and trains her own dog team.

With the help of her father, they will make the 3100 mile drive to Alaska with the dog team. She will compete in the Willow Jr race as well as the Jr. Iditarod. Talia states, “This journey will challenge me and my team both mentally and physically. It will also deepen my relationship with the Creator of this beautiful world. I hope to be an example to other kids to pursue their dreams.”

Talia is seeking support from the community and corporate sponsors to make this quest possible. There will be a waffle breakfast and silent auction held on September 23 at the Mission Covenant Church, 5161 S Co Rd P, Poplar, WI, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. Talia has a website where her followers can get race updates and make a contribution.

Website: Www.taliasteam.com   

Facebook: facebook.com/taliasteam


Press Contact: JoAnn Jardine
Cell: 715-392-2747
Email: joann.jardine@gmail.com

Download PDF Copy of Press Release



The Race might be the easy part of this grand adventure…

Driving over 3000 miles to transport Talia, the Team, and Pit Crew from Brule, Wisconsin to Willow, Alaska is going to be quite a challenge. 5 drivers will leave in January through some of the most desolate highways in the world to train and compete in what has been Talia Marten’s dream since she first got on the back of a dog sled.

Once there, Talia will get right to work training for a 100 mile race on Valentines Day in preparation for the Jr. Iditarod race on February 24.

After all of the festivities are complete, the group will then drive BACK to their homeland another 3000 miles or so to get Talia back just in time to start thinking about the end of the school year and Prom festivities!

Join us for the Journey! You can help with costs by purchasing a Mile for Talia! The race is 150 miles and we are selling miles at $100 per mile to help with travel and other costs. A whole slew of events are also being planned, so stay tuned and Cheer on Talia’s Team to the Finish in Alaska!

Thanks for your support!