Quick update from Wausau. I am currently 16th out of 21 after a really bad run. We had a nasty tangle because the dogs went in the deep snow and the sled shot past them, that took a long time to fix, then we almost hit a snowmobile coming around a corner in the woods, and I also took a bad fall today. I managed to hold on to the team, but I hit my head and shoulder on the ground. Even with all of this we still managed to keep our time at 20:22 seconds I think. I am really happy with this younger team I am running this year. Hoping for a better run tomorrow, maybe we will catch some people. Lauren (my younger sister) is currently in 5th place out of 5 in the 3 dog Jr class. The below photos are of Lauren and I at the spectator viewing area on the corner of the dog lot and the trail.
We will be heading up to Wausau on Saturday for the Willow Springs Round Barn Rally. Dogs look really nice on their run yesterday and it should be a fun race. The planned teams are as: For Katie... Bandit, Stormy, Taruk, and Milly; Lauren should be running Wren, Akayia, and Cloud. Sam is coming along to help out another team that I met last weekend. This team said they needed some power and I said they could use him for this race. Hope to see some people out there to support us. Also I am happy to say that Cabela's has given us a donation, that I am very happy to receive. Now I can get some new boots and then I won't have any more wet feet, yay!
We had to switch gears and start training for a 4 mile sprint race, Merrill was coming up fast. Needless to say the dogs were in disbelief at how short their runs were in the next two weeks. Then at four in the morning we packed up the dogs and started the drive to Merrill. The drive was uneventful (last year we were driving on ice roads and I'd say at least 7 cars were in the ditch). We got there with time to spare and waited for the drivers meeting to start. I was running in the four dog class B. When it was finally my turn to go out I was dreading and expecting to have to help the dogs up the long hill at the start. They went right up the long hill and before I knew it we were at the top. That the was the story of my run, the dogs showing me just how much power they have on the snow this year. We ended up in 23rd place (would have been closer to 18th but the dogs took me down the road at one of the road crossings which cost us valuable minutes). I had hoped to make up the time Sunday, but in the end the race was cancelled due to icy conditions. Everyone was complaining that their dogs feet would get cut up on the ice and ruin their race season. Well lets just say that I hadn't stayed in a hotel to not run dogs the next day. I trusted my team, we had trained in worse conditions. That's not actually the whole story, most of the people have the high, strong race dogs, and they would have been out of control on an icy trail, so for most of them it was a call of safety. My dogs listen to me and I can slow them down if I need to. So I asked the race Marshal and he said that me and another person could run our dogs if we wanted to. So we went out, and her team was much slower than mine, but that was okay/ This gave me a chance to pace against another team so that I would not take the trail to fast. And guess what, even with stopping about six time and riding the break the whole way, we still finished just over 20 minutes; about the same time as the day before. So I am left to wonder what my dogs would have done if I had let them run. For now, lets.... 1) pray for snow, 2) keep training the dogs, and 3) get Lauren healthy so that she and I can run in Wausau next weekend.
Here's a short update on the Merrill race from Katie. I wasn't sure if she had ran this race or not because I haven't really had the chance to talk with her since I left for Boise again. "We had a good run today at Merrill running in the four dog class we are currently in we 23 out of 25 but I hope to catch the person ahead of me tomorrow. Well wish me the best of luck we are having fun and that is what, counts." Unfortunately, it looks like the race was canceled for today because of lack of snow and conditions. Don't quote me on that. I hope to also find out soon why her sister didn't run in the 3 dog Jr. Class.
Does most people remember my stories from last year's Kalkaska race? My first 3 day race, and 5 days of traveling with my mom? Well, here is a really inspirational story created from this year's Kalkaska's race. No one from KCM kennel attended and this is not our video but I thought it would be really inspirational for people to watch. Check it out and see for yourself!!
Here's a Youtube video of the Taquamenon sled dog race from this year. While the 6 and 4 dog classes are not really shown that well you can still see and learn about the first mid distance race Katie ran this year.
Ugh really 40 degrees outside, what is wrong with the world? Did someone forget to tell it that it is January? I am starting to question if we will get out on sleds at all with the dogs. :(
Friday 1 o’clock I just finished third hour in school and Daddy should be waiting in the office to pick me up. We will have to leave as quickly as possible in order to make the drivers meeting later that nigh. Sure enough there he is, talking to the principal none the less, we say good bye and then head out to the van. On the drive home from school we make a list of the things that we need to toss in the van before we go. Sleeping bag, first aid kit, dog booties, all that good stuff has to come with us. We get home and I go and change cloths, pack my bag, and get dog food ready. Meanwhile Daddy starts loading the van. Once we have everything in the van, we pull the trailer out of the shed, and start loading up dogs. Panda and Cloud have to ride together because we are short a box. Once everyone is loaded we run down the check list one last time, and we are off. Well almost, we still have to stop in Green Bay and pick up Carlleen who is coming with us. Once we pick up Carlleen, about an hour or so of driving goes by and then we go "oh shoot." Turns out there is a time difference from WI to MI, and they are on hour ahead of us. This means there is no way we are going to make the drivers meeting. Oh well, I guess there is nothing we can do about that. We stop once to drop dogs and grab a bite to eat but other than that it was a straight long 7 hour drive up to Newberry. When we finally arrived it was 10 o’clock at night, and we still had to feed the dogs. We checked into our hotel, fed the dogs, and then went to bed. It was a good thing I was really tired because I fell asleep right away.
Now because Michigan is an hour ahead of us we got up at 6 am their time. It felt like we were getting up at 5 am, talk about early. We have to be at the race site around 8 a.m. so there was no time to dilly dally. We ate breakfast at the hotel and then went out into the -6 degree air and dropped the dogs again. The people around us were starting to leave, so we packed up and headed out. It was still dark out and just our luck, we missed the turn. Where on earth are you going to turn around a van pulling a trailer in the middle of the north woods? Why, on a logging road of course and that only took us about 20 minutes out of our way. When we did finally make it to the race site and get our parking spot I was relived just to be there. We dropped and fed the dogs their breakfast and then went to get me checked in because I had missed the drivers meeting. Once I was checked in the next two or so hours went relatively smoothly. We walked around, help the ten and eight dog teams out, had our dogs go through vet check, and then dropped my dogs again so that they were ready for my class. When the six dog teams started going out I was in no hurry to hook up my dogs, the last thing I needed was for them to be sitting there for ten minutes harness banging. When we did finally bring my dogs up to the line, I still had to wait a few minutes; I am telling you I am always early. Once in the shoot, Carlleen came up to hold the leaders and I petted each dog on my way back to the sled, they were ready.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO… and we were off and running. Oh the joy of being out on the trail, a few smooth turns and we were out on the open trail. I was soon passed by the teams that left after me, but that was okay. My dogs and I are more used to running by ourselves anyways. Most of the 30 miles on the trail kind of blurred together, other than the one hill that I am nick naming The Devils Slide. It feeling like you are falling off the world when you go over it. I do remember the feeling of accomplishment once we were back on the big trail heading toward the truck and out of the woods. I have to stop once and check for snowballs in the dogs feet, but other than that the dogs ran straight through. I was the very last team to come in, the lot that had been full of dog trucks when I left now only contained two. Even with being last the volunteers, Daddy, and Carlleen all gave me a warm welcome. Once I was in we did the final preps then put the dogs in their boxes and started home.
I don’t remember the drive home. I slept most of the way because running up hills is hard work. And that is how my first mid-distance race went, I hope there will be many more. I now have my base line, so the goal is to go a little faster at the next race. However, the main goal is to always finish with happy, healthy dogs. I am one step closer to working my way towards the Jr. Iditarod.
Some pics from the race yesterday. Took last in my class, but oh well, I am happy with the dogs. With the amount of training they have had, I think they did very well. Setting the goal to always finish the race you start seems to work. 30 miles is a long run. Darn hills. Also, pretty little Cloud is becoming my go to leader. She is always trying to convince the other dogs that it was time to catch the team ahead of us. She loves a good chase!!
2 sled dog racers keeping the public informed of their kennel updates!