2009 5th Place Shebandowan 6-Dog, 21 Miles

**Photo courtesy of Jim Thompson, taken 4 to 6 miles or so from the finish** Fun race, very hilly trail! I had been a bit concerned about Sparrow having come into heat just before the race, as all the males were very interested in her. But Radar did great, and stayed focused on the trail and running fast instead of his cute lead dog partner:) The trail was very hard and fast due to the cold overnight temps. The first 4 miles or so of trail we had been warned was very bumpy from snowmobile moguls. It was rough, and I tried to hold the team back a bit to prevent injuries. After we got on the main snowmobile trail it was nice and smooth, but hard so that made it difficult for the dogs to bite snow. My hands were freezing those first few miles even with hand warmers as I had unknowingly grabbed a pair with a hole in it which let the wind go right through. Thankfully they warmed up when I started getting a work out in the hills:) It was a beautiful, clear, crisp morning with frost from the trees floating through the air sparkling in the sun. My enjoyment of the race was overshadowed by my concern for Phantom, who seemed to struggle a bit and back off on the descents. He just seemed a bit off to me although he still pulled fairly well, but I held the team back a bit for his sake. Overall good race with a few stops due to minor tangles ect. We passed all but two teams that were ahead of us and were catching up to another when we were suddenly at the finish line. The dogs finished strong, still raring to go at the finish line although while watering the dogs I saw Phantom holding up his left wrist. He might have injured it in the moguls but I never saw any sign of a limp. Thankfully it was only a mild injury and after massaging it with Algyval and putting a wrist wrap on, he was totally fine. Sadly, this was our last race of the season although I have never gotten to race as much as I have this year and have had a blast! We have enjoyed meeting all the friendly local mushers and the dogs and I loved running some new trails! My team has done pretty well competing against the local sprint teams, I am very proud of them! Looking forward to next year!!
... Talon-2006 (M) (L)
Talon did awesome as usual!! He is such a maniac, and super strong and fast! Boy can he stretch out and run! He was still screaming to go at the finish! What an incredible dog! Only 2 yr. old that has raced every race this year with the main team!
... Sparrow-2004 (F) (L)
Sparrow did great! Drove hard, tireless! Acts like she hasn't even run after its over. Super girl!!
... Xander-2003 (M)
Xander did great as usual, but started getting warm as the sun rose higher. He did great and loped along, what a powerful animal! He always gives it all he's got!
... Phantom-2002 (M)
Poor Phantom! He ran through a mild wrist injury and did great, although he held back on the down hills. Always a hard driving dog, he always gives it all he's got!
... Stryder-2002 (M)
Stryder ran a flawless race as usual! Always on that tug, smooth and fast, never gets tired, incredible dog!!