2018 1st Place Gunflint Mail Run 70 Miles

Had a super fun time at our 3rd Gunflint Mail Run race even though it got off to an extremely cold start!! When we left home the morning before the race it was -48 F brrr.... to cap off a very cold few weeks of -20 to -35 F. I was beginning to think our thermometer up by the dog yard was broken as it seemed stuck at at least -30 F each night! The rubber on my moms winter boots cracked all to pieces from the cold! The morning of the race wasn't a whole lot better at -35 F someone said? It actually didn't seem too bad once we got underway out on the trail though the wind was chilly. Put jackets on the short coated dogs and coyote tails on all the males for frostbite protection. Being the 2nd 8 dog team to leave was nice but a bit lonely lol:) Didn't see anyone after we passed the 1st team 4 miles in until after the turn around loop and coming back meeting all the teams head on. That was exciting for all the young dogs, woofing at the first few teams we met on the trail:) Everyone ate/drank great when we got in from the first 32 mile leg and the dogs were eager to get in their cozy beds out of that cold wind for a 3 hour rest. First checkpoint or back to back run for half the team so wasn't sure how it would go and first race ever for two of the two year olds. They all popped out frisky and ready to go which is always great to see:) We were about 2 minutes behind one of the top teams in the region, the flying grandmother Martha Schouweiler and her son Chads amazing fast dogs!! Other top teams were stacked up right behind us at roughly 2 minutes apart so the competition was fierce! We ended up catching Martha a little over halfway to the turn around and at the turn around I had to stop to turn on my leaders flashing light collar. This got us behind a bit and took a few miles to catch back up, meeting other teams head on regularly. Martha and I ran together quite a ways taking turns in the lead and when I mentioned why I didn't have my headlamp on yet ( I had been alarmed to see both headlamps showing very low battery when I had new or barely used Lithium batteries in them) due to both batteries being very low and wanting to save it for full dark, she graciously offered me the use of her spare! That is what I love about racing, not only the enjoyment of being with my dogs on new trails doing what we love but the camaraderie and friendship of all the mushers is just wonderful! Shortly after, Martha had to make a stop and I stopped as well being behind at the time but when my team dragged me past with the brakes on I finally let them go since we were mostly by anyways and didn't see anyone again after that. I later heard Martha and many other teams followed some of the snowmobile tracks criss-crossing the lake and got off the trail. The trail markers were rather sparse on the lake and it was patches of windblown ice and drifts so tough to set a hook in. My team really was flying coming back across the lake, streaking into the finish. Very proud of how well they did and as always want to thank my mom for handling in the cold weather (though she loves the one day races, waiting in a warm lodge is not too bad and no checkpoint straw to clean up:) and my dad for help with the care and training of the dogs. Total trail time was 5:14:27 with an average mph of 12.08
... Vader-2010 (M) (L)
Ran lead both legs with Viva and still rocking it as the oldest dog on the team, what to say about this guy other then he is awesome! Driving up the short but steep hills with all his might, he and Viva always driving hard, loves to race!
... Viva-2011 (F) (L)
Always reliable and driving, just a fantastic leader! Ran lead both legs with Vader, they are just the best!
... Warrior-2014 (M)
Big strong and fast powerhouse that worked his heart out! Super dog!!!
... Tamar-2014 (F) (L)
Always driving hard, tireless and full of energy she ran in point both legs and did super!
... Nikita-2015 (F) (L)
Ran point the whole race and was fast and hard driving!
... Katniss-2015 (F)
Always bouncy and happy she is a strong, steady, hard working girl.