Saturday, April 13, 2013

IPSSSDR 2013: Pinedale and Lander, WY

The next stage would be a 45 miles, and I would again be one of the first teams out on the trail.  I had raced on part of this trail before in the Green River Classic races I had done, and knew the trail was mostly flat with a few short climbs in the middle.  The temperatures were a lot cooler than they had been, and the trail was set up perfectly.

I ran 10 dogs again: Otter and McGee in lead, DiNozzo and Super Cub in swing, Cessena, Khufu, Embry, and Ziva in team, and Kaycee and Ra in wheel.  The dogs did a lot better this day, and though we were still going slow, they seemed much more perky and excited.  All the dogs did really well, and I was feeling great.  About 6 miles from the finish, I could see that Embry was a little bit sore in her shoulder.  I stopped and checked her over and decided to load her into the sled since we weren't that far from the finish and she was my lightest dog.  She had never ridden in the sled, and at first was being wild and trying to get out.  She finally settled down and I zipped open the bag to check on her.  She was just laying there looking out the little window in the side of the sled bag, I could tell she was fascinated by the scenery.  She was still and quite the rest of the way into the finish that I almost forgot that she was riding along in the bag.

I finished second to last, but the quality of this run was way better than the first two, we were starting to make a comeback.  Embry was fine, and we were going to let her have a couple days off just to be safe.  All the other's ate and drank well before we loaded them into the trailer to head to yet another Wyoming town, Lander.  There was no banquet or host families in Lander, so we got McDonald's that was across from our hotel before crashing for the night.

The Lander stage was 42 miles long, and the trail was the fastest I have ever seen a trail.  There was not much snow, so the trail was hard packed and fast.  I ran 8 dogs for this stage since the trail was so perfect and the run was not that long.  I ran Bella and Alice in lead, Emmett and Jasper in swing, McGee and Super Cub in team, and Kaycee and Quil in wheel.  We were back and the dogs were fast and strong!  I passed the teams that started in front of me and came across the finish line first.  I ended up in 10th place overall, and was only 20 minutes behind the fastest team, even though I was the only one running only 8 dogs.

We took care of the dogs, feeding and checking them over, and they were all feeling great.  We loaded them into the trailer and headed to the next stop, Big Piney, WY.  There we had a great banquet of home-cooked food and a good night's sleep at our host family's place.

Photos by: Chris Havener

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