Cindy Gallea, 66, grew up on a farm in Minnesota where she experienced the pleasure of the outdoors and the good feeling of interacting with animals. She graduated from the University of Washington in 1990 with a Master’s degree in nursing. She has worked as a nurse practitioner for the last 27 years. Cindy says, When I was introduced to dog mushing in 1986, it seemed like the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors. My passion for sled dogs and dog mushing grew and my dogs, traveling through the beauty of Alaska and the physical and mental challenge. It refreshes me and energizes me to embrace all of the other aspects of my life. I know I said 2016 was my last race——Well, I changed my mind. My dogs and I decided to enjoy it again.” Cindy is the mother of two adult sons: Iditarod veteran, Jim, who still participates as a race official during the Iditarod, and Brian. She lists her hobbies as bicycling, hiking, canoeing, politics/justice and her grandchildren.