The world's longest snowmobile race officially kicks off this weekend in Wasilla, as the Iron Dog roars to a start at the Menard Center on Saturday, February 19.

Racers will line up at the starting chute and depart in 2-minute intervals, with the first team going out at 10 a.m. Saturday from the Menard. It begins the 2,600 mile race that takes racers through rugged Interior Alaska, across the Alaska Range along the Iditarod Trail, all the way to Nome. Once in Nome and after completing a mandatory 24-hour layover, racers return south, completing the "Red Dog Loop" before speeding all the way back to finish in Wasilla.

The Iron Dog is the world's longest snowmobile race, and tests not only the riders, but the machines. It covers more than 2,600 miles of the roughest terrain in the world, at fast speeds. The harsh arctic winter conditions also play a major role in the race as well.

There's a chance to interact with the racers, see the machines and learn about the race on Wednesday, February 16. From 1-3 p.m. at the Menard, the Expedition Class Meet & Greet takes place with riders who aren't competing in the Pro Class. Expedition Class is a noncompetitive trail ride from the starting line to Nome (but not back to Wasilla). The Expedition Class start is scheduled for Thursday, February 17 at the Menard, beginning at 10 a.m. That evening from 6-9 p.m., the Pro Class racers will draw for starting positions and honor the incoming Hall of Fame class during a banquet.

For a complete schedule of events for the finish line and other Iron Dog-related events, visit their web site.