2013 rookie Iditarod musher Cindy Abbott of Irvine, California scratched in Kaltag at 23:00 on 3/13. Abbott made the decision to scratch due to a muscle strain and the best interest of her team.

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Cindy Abbott, 54, was born and raised in Nebraska. After graduation from California State University, Fullerton, with a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology in 1996, she became a professor there. She currently lives with her husband Larry and daughter Teshia in Irvine, California, where she teaches Health Science at California State University, Fullerton. Cindy has always been drawn to the world of extreme sports. Already an extreme scuba diver and underwater videographer, in 2007, at the age of 48, she took up mountain climbing with the single goal of standing on the top of the world. A few months after she began training, Cindy was diagnosed with a serious and rare disease (Wegner’s Granulomatosis), but she was determined to achieve her dream and on May 23, 2010, after 54 days of working her way up the mountain, Cindy stepped onto the summit of Mt. Everest.

Cindy learned about the Iditarod in the early 1990’s, while taking an Environmental Exercise Physiology course. But it wasn’t until 2004, that she came to Alaska and took her first ride on a dog sled. In 2011, she began working under the guidance of Iditarod champion, Lance Mackey, at his Comeback Kennel. She immediately fell in love with the sport, the Alaskan people and culture, but most of all, she fell in love with the world’s most amazing athletes – the dogs!

In 2012, when Cindy crossed the finish line of the YQ300, the race marshal asked her what she thought, and she replied, “That was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced!” With some mid-distance races under her belt, Cindy admits that, for her, racing sled dogs is more difficult than climbing Mt. Everest—something she never thought that she would say.

Since her diagnosis, Cindy has become a very active rare disease awareness advocate for the National Organization of Rare Disorders and the Vasculitis Foundation. She lists her hobbies as mountain climbing, SCUBA diving, and international travel.


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