Day 24: Alaska ~ Limited North American Championships Day 1

UserJessica DohertyTime2013-03-16 07:07:00

Friday, March 8th 2013 Day 1 ~ Limited North American Championships

It's going to be a warm one today. In the 30s is the prediction. The race starts at 11am. Skijor goes out first, the 1-dog, 2-Dog and 3-Dog all go out together. There are 26 Skijor teams, Jeff goes out 14th. I can't remember what # Lily is, but we'll check when we get to the site. 4-Dog starts at 1230 and 6-Dog at 140 and 8-Dog somewhere between 230 and 3pm. ALL teams leave at 2 minute intervals.

The first rule is NO dog dropping until you go into the Clubhouse and check if you have been selected for drug testing. You also check-in at this time. The latest you check-in is 15 minutes before your start time, or you will be disqualified.

We pull into the ADMA race site on Farmers Loop Road about 930am. We parked at ?lucky? spot number 13 next to Scott Baily's truck. On the other side of us was Ken Bernard with a sweet trailer set-up.

We go into the clubhouse and check-in. They informed us there will be no drug testing on Day 1.

So, we head out and get Jolene and Loretta ready for Jeff to run. I think the girls will do alright, today will tell. I don't typically loan dogs out so neither has ever run for another person. They also have NEVER been in front of skis. But, they are very solid dogs and are 4 now, plus they often run together so I think they will just go out and run the course with not too much thought about it. As long as Jeffrey stays upright, I think it will be fine.

It was warming really fast and the sun was blaring down. We wet down Jolene and Loretta with a wet sponge. I think it was about 35F when the Ski class started. The track is 4.8 miles and fast. At the start Loretta is very excited and Jolene is calm until she hears 30 seconds... then she starts getting worked up. They rock it out of the start and finish the course in decent time 15.26. The girls were pulling hard up the hill and into the finish and looked pretty good, not as hot as I was thinking. They were happy at the finish and Jeff had a clean run! Jolene only looked back once when Jeff mis-stepped on the tight turn-around but it was not a big deal. Success!

The last part of the track is a bit challenging, as it is a winding gradual uphill in the open with the sun blazing down on the teams.

Now for the 4-Dog. Jocelyn and Lily were getting Endo, Grinder and KT ready. I got Wheels ready, a yearling out of Petra x Louie bred by Heather Brannen. That only consisted of putting her harness on as she is good in the heat and her feet are excellent so I barely ever have to tend to them. Louie (Mike x Cory, T&B Streeper, owner M Dagenais) apparently throws his good feet traits strong as Emma also has rockstar feet. I'm not too worried about Wheels, she just runs, I don't think she cares who is on the back of the sled. I will handle Wheels at the line because she is VERY wild and she will jump back and forth over the dog next to her and gets all ridiculous. Lily runs the course and has a nice time of 14.18. Lily is happy with her run and said Wheels did a fantastic job! Very good!

OK, now I need to focus on my 6-Dog Team. Today I need to wet some of the dogs down as the temp keeps on rising and the sun is strong. I don't need to worry about feet, most of their feet are in good shape and the couple of fissures Tim and Dean have are mostly healed. They won't get worse on this track as it's hard and fast with no new snow.

I place the harnesses in the bucket of water I have. I did this a few years back and can't remember if I thought it worked better than wetting the dogs alone, so I will try it again. The sled is together and we went with the Red TOKO S3 Hydrocarbon waxed runners. Last week at the World Championship there was so much talk about wax ? we had our runners waxed at the wax room because of all the chatter but I really didn't think it was better than what we have been doing so we are for sure doing our own wax now. I like to use the KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) method with waxing. The TOKO S3 Hydrocarbon Blue, Red and Yellow waxes seems to fit the bill very well for most any condition so I can't get into all the other fancy style waxes. I don't know a lot about waxing but we know the basics and can typically get our runners in reasonable racing condition. On that note, our Danler runners are beat up. One is the original set from 2004 and the other is probably from 2006. We should do something about that...

I am out #8. I am so glad we have enough help again so that each dogs has a handler. Rose of course needs a special handler because she likes to nip (hard) whatever human is within reach when she is on the line. Sherla and Jay and Rob Worden got it at the World Championship. Jay stepped up and was Rose's handler for LNAC - thank you Jay for putting up with her! The rule with Rose is hold her on her collar good and don't put your face near her. She is the kindest, funniest, nicest dog you ever did meet but she is a wild child on the line. She has got me so many times in the arm, ass, etc..

We are in the chute. I have the mat down and intend to keep it down until it makes sense to lift it. We still take off too fast! 26 mph and Tim is like ?what are we doing?!?!?.? Sorry buddy, easy up guys. 24Mph down the hill, no faster. We settle between 22.5-23.5 for the 1st mile, then 22.5 for quite a while. The 4.8 mile turn was blocked nicely and Tim and Eli went by with no question. Both times Tim has run here it's been on the 4.8 mile track. Between the 4.8 and 6.2 mile turn, Tim and Lefty look to the left in the woods and were startled it seemed, got totally out of rhythm. I also heard something big real close behind me at the same time. Must have been a moose, holy shit. All I could say was go, go, go buggies! Let's get the hell out of here! We turned into the 6.2 mile loop, over the little bridge and started our run back. Now I lift the mat. Dogs were looking good so far, even though it's really WARM. 43F was the temp at the 6-Dog start. We pass the S-Curve and start the long gradual incline home. We drop to 15mph on the main big hill back then get faster again for when we enter the field where you enter ?no-mans land? toward the finish. Dogs finished strong.

I stopped the GPS and knew that we had broken the track record of 17.55.

Time 17.35 Distance 6.2 miles Avg Speed 21.1mph.

Back at the truck, everyone drank clear water and I fed them their main meal within 15-20 minutes of the run. All ate and seemed fine and dandy. The loudspeaker then started to announce the times and placings. They announce from last to first place. Greg Sellentin is in 2nd place and I am in 1st with about a minute on him.

After the race Greg comes over and congratulates me and we talk about our races for a few minutes. It was real awesome to see so much support from back home in the East.

What is different in Alaska is ? it seems that folks show up to race and then they leave. There is not a lot of socializing at the site. Today was a bit of an exception because of the beautiful weather but in general most people don't stick around.

We were thinking about going to Ivory Jacks for food and drinks after but we all were kind of toast for that, as well we still needed to complete packing as we need to leave the cabin for good in the morning.

On the way back, we stop for Thai Food, which was awesome. I got a hot soup and I don't think I've eaten better. Brian got the rice and we were happy campers after that.

We're all tired when we get back ? dogs and humans. I still need to pay Mike for the cabin, I'll have to do it in the morning. Its' a real warm night and I get the feeling the dogs will sleep like logs in this weather. Brian packs the cargo roof carrier and we are lights out.