Monday, January 9, 2012

Flathead Sled Dog Days

We just got back late last night from my second race of the winter in Whitefish, MT.  It was an 8-dog, 50 mile race.  On Saturday, the teams ran 25 miles, and on Sunday, the teams ran the same trail.  I drew bib number 21 at the Musher Meeting on Friday night, which was second out of the 8-dog teams.  On Saturday, I left 2nd of the 8-dog teams, but passed the team in front of me on the trail and was the first team to return.  We had a really good run and the dogs were very fast going up the hills.  Our time put us in 6th place out of 14 other mushers.  The second day, the team was even faster even though the trail conditions were slower!  We didn't quite make up enough time to move up a position, but we closed the gap!  The first day we had the 6th fastest time, but the second day we had the 4th fastest time!  Here are the times of the 8-dog class:
flatheadsleddogdays.com
The trail was very icy the first 2 miles where logging trucks have been using it.  The next 5 miles were fairly icy and hard packed as well.  Luckilly, when Bella stopped to poop in the first mile, I was able to hook into some snow on the edge of the trail to untangle the team.  It was so icy that the rest of the team and the sled kept going when Bella stopped.  After the first 7 miles, the trail had quite a bit of snow and had a bunch of moguls from snow machines (which the dogs thought were a blast)   Since it was icy coming in to the finish, we came flying across the finish line even though I was riding the brake as much as I could.  The problem was that I had to get off the brake to maneuver the sled around the tight turn just before the finish, and as soon as I let off the brake the dogs hit mach 10!

I ran Bella and Alice in lead, Emmett and Jasper in swing, Khufu and Super Cub in team, and Ra and Kaycee in wheel.  Bella definitely got the MVP award, but Emmett would have gotten it if Bella didn't have the extra responsibility of being a leader.  Emmett did really, really good and was charging up the hills like crazy!

We also took along the 8 puppies, Otter, Cessena, and my 2 little cousins, Sydney and Erika.  This was the puppies' first trip and they all had a blast!  On Saturday after all the teams had returned, we took the puppies out for their first run with the team ever!  Dad drove the sled and I rode in the basket, and we only did about one mile or more.  The first team we had Otter and Cessena in lead with Embry and Ziva in swing and Paul and Seth in wheel.  They all did awesome!  Ziva did the best out of all teh puppies, and we would have put her in lead with ehr mom on the way back if the trail wasn't as icy as it was.  Embry did awesome too, her only mess-up was wanting to visit other dog teams we were passing.  Paul and Seth did good too, and Paul kept barking to go faster.  The second team we had Otter and Cessena in lead again with DiNozzo and McGee in swing and Leah and Quil in wheel.  They did really well too for their first time.  It took a while for Quil and Leah to figure out that the needed to go straight down the trail rather than try to go across the trail.  DiNozzo and McGee were looking back at me a little in the beginning, but then they started charging down the trail!  None of the puppies tried to chew on their harnesses or the gang line, which is a huge positive too!  After that, every time we got them out they wanted to run again!  Syd and Erika had fun too! They helped with the dogs and were running around looking at all the other teams and dogs.  They got to ride in my sled on the way from the truck to the start line to help keep the team slowed down.

There are some pictures other people took from the race on my Facebook page!