Day 16: Alaska ~ Day from Hell ~ 24 Hrs to World Championship

UserJessica DohertyTime2013-03-15 22:17:00

Thursday, Feb 28th 2013 Day from Hell ~ 24 Hrs to World Championship

Today is going to be really busy. We need to go to the race site this morning and hopefully get a trail viewing. Then there is a Team USA Meeting at 1:30 and 3pm for the 4 & 6 Dog classes. Sometime after that is supposed to be the Microchip Clinic. Then the Opening Ceremonies 5:30-8:30. Take care of dogs in between all of that.

So the day went something like this...

We get up and feed the dogs early in the morn. This was their last kibble meal before the race tomorrow. They will get a meat baited water tonight.

About 9am we headed out toward the race site. We didn't know exactly where it was so we stopped by the Hotel North Pole where a ton of racers are staying. We met Jay and Sherla Olmstead outside and they were headed over to the race site so we followed them. Once we got there we inquired about a trail viewing but no one was doing them, then they said come back in ½ hour, then they said come back at 4pm. Then the final answer was we are not taking snowmobiles on the track because we don't want to wreck the trail. So, no trail viewing was the ultimate determination.

After that we headed over to the Leaf and Bean as there is a race headquarters room there that we can use. Grace and Scott Baily and Jocelyn Bradbury were there doing the final stuff needed as they are the Team USA Captains for the 4 and 6 Dog Classes. The biggest thing that needed to be clarified right away was where and when the Microchip Clinic was. No one seemed to know for sure. We went back to the race site (to find out there would be no trail viewing) and Buzz Otis said there was a Microchip Clinic across the street at the North Pole Veterinary Clinic from 12-4. WOW. We all thought it was later in the day somewhere in Fairbanks. I walked over to the clinic to confirm and ask how it will work. A couple of other mushers were already there and the lady with a car full of microchip boxes pulled up. Ok, let's get this overwith.. I really don't like the microchip requirement and I really would rather not implant a chip into each of my dogs. I mean, what if the insertion is not done right? A million Qs go through my head.

So, we headed back to the Leaf & Bean and told the Bailey's where the Microchip clinic was, got our truck and headed over to the clinic. It was only $10 per dog, glad I did it up here vs at my vet. I wrote out the check and a vet tech came over to do the job with another lady. The needles were HUGE!!! I felt so bad that had to go into the dogs. They were these real thick needles, awful looking.

So, Brian brought the dogs out one by one and that was a good system.

The dogs were real troopers. All but Lefty, Loretta and Ada were stoic about it. Those three it seemed to really hurt. I hate when I have to allow strangers to hurt the dogs like that, it doesn't leave a good impression on the dogs. Also, you think maybe they did a bad job with the insert? Is it in the right place? Grrr.

So, the day from HELL started when Tim came out of his box at the Microchip Clinic and broke his nail on the tailgate. It was bleeding good and he was holding it up. OMG! NOOO!!! Not now! Tim is my backup leader to Ada for the 6-Dog. How can 2 leaders get hurt on this trip???!!! And neither during a run!

After the clinic, Brian and I just got in the car and headed back to the cabin. I looked at Tim's nail closely when we got back and it was a long crack but not split. It think it will for sure split if he runs on it, then it will really hurt. We were in awful spirits and just about to pack it in. I got back to the cabin and cried like a baby. We came all this way to have this happen? 2 leaders? Come on!! I then took an 'partial' shower in the bath house as the water was cold... I had to do something else for a bit and also didn't want to look like a total Mountain Woman for the Opening Ceremonies.

So, I made a call to Dawn Brown who gave me some advice about Nail Caps that you glue on...

After that, we headed back to North Pole and got to the 1:30 meeting a little late. I was a friggin jerk, telling everyone of my troubles with Tim and Ada. Suck it up!

After that, we all headed over to the North Pole Hotel for the 3pm General Team USA Meeting. It was lead by Mike Marsch and was mostly a Q&A. After the meeting I walked over to Dr Arleigh Reynolds to introduce myself and congratulate him on his Fur Rondy victory. He asked me several questions as some years ago since he lived back in New York. He even knew the little town we live in ~ Palermo. He asked me what I was running and I mentioned we would drop a class due to an injury in a main leader and today a broken toenail in the back-up leader. He said right away he could look at it and see what we could do for the toenail. He came out, took a look and thought that Tim should be able to run with a nail cap. He made some calls to get some nail caps that glue on that would keep the nail intact and not moving. His opinion was that Tim should be able to run no problem with a nail cap.

Now it's time for Opening Ceremonies being held at Pikes Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks. It's close to 5:30 but we didn't have the address but headed anyway and got a bit lost on the way since it would not come up on our GPS, so we arrived a little late. When we arrived, the place was packed! Soon after, we all went outside to start the parade of the various countries participating. At the end, Amy Dunlap was the person that brought the nail caps for me and I was so grateful.

Back inside, part of the ceremony was Traditional Native Alaskan Dances ~ they were very good. Then food, etc... Grace gave me the trick for the shower ~ put it on cold and you'll get the hot.

It was late when all was over, let's get back to the cabin. We still have to go back and glue the nail cap on Tim and see what he is moving like. The next 3 days will be intense and likely I'll be running on adrenaline and not much else. Good thing the dogs don't know this is the World Championships. Nerves can mess with you!

When we got home (to the cabin) we attempted to put the nail caps on Tim's cracked nail. Well, after various tries and cutting the caps at various angles, it became apparent that the X-Large nail caps were not big enough. Tim is not a huge dog but has big, thick black nails.

We went to bed at midnight without success in getting Tim in running condition for the start of the World Championship...