Four time winner of the Iditarod and four time winner of the Yukon Gold

In a classic Alaska sense, Mackey remains a modest, rugged individual who eschews glamour and prefers most of all to work for himself on his own terms. "I'm getting pretty used to working for myself," he says.

What separates Mackey from his peers as a competitor is his tenacity, his hunger to win, and his thorough understanding of the athletes in front of his sled.

Rivals say he has an "intuitive" knowledge of his dog team and a keen sense of when to push them and when to hold back. He's also tricky. In a neck-and-neck battle with Jeff King last year, Mackey snuck out when King overslept and took the lead with just 100 miles left.

He's also a master at withstanding biting winds, temperatures that can reach 70 below and sleep deprivation during the race. "I used to think there was no one tougher than me physically," King says. "Now I'm not sure."

Mackey also isn't afraid to take risks, which some attribute to his brush with death.  "If you've been to the edge and back, you tend to go to the edge a little sooner than others," four-time winner Martin Buser says.

"I'm unpredictable, very, and that's scary to my competition, I know it is," Mackey says.

The winner!

Vist Lance Mackey's page ...