Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day one of the world championships was pretty disappointing. The trail was absolutely one of the worst trails we have ever run on. Not at all what we expected for a world class race. I tried my best to keep the team slowed down to avoid injuries since we still have a lot of races left back home in Alaska. The 1st mile of the trail was super, real hard and fast, then about the next 8 miles was 8 inches of sugary powder down the center of the trail. The last part coming home was pretty good too. The edges were hard enough that the dogs thought they could run fast but just about the time you think finally the trail is better they would fall through. Then we had a bit of a finish line disaster. There were quite a few photographers and we were running down the river and to cross the finish line you have to get your dogs to go between these 2 orange fences about 6 feet apart. The only catch is there was nothing to sort of help you funnel into the 2 fences if that makes sense. So my guys decided since this photographer was waving at them, that must be where they were to go and headed straight there. Wrong! I couldn't get my hook to set on the ice DUH! I'm hollering for help but of course no one is going to help. I'm an American not a Quebec musher. So I set my hook the best I could and hoping for the best I jump off and run for my leaders to drag them over to the finish line. Well about then the hook pops and I watch as my dog team crashes into the fence ahead. Now they are in a ball as finally people jump over the fence to help. God knows how many people it took to drag my team backward and over the finish line. It is so disappointing to come so far and this whole event is so disorganized and the trail is so bad. They have known for so long they were holding the race here it's no excuse to have such a terrible trail for a world championship race. They can't use the excuse that the weather caused it because we trained here on Friday on the designated training trails and they were great. I don't know at this point if we will race again tomorrow. We'll have to see how the team looks in the morning and decide if it's really worth the risks to run a such a bad trail. What do we really have to gain from going on? We know we have a super team and lots of races on good trails still too come.


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Jen, surely it will be better tomorrow. Be glad you are not up here right now. 50 degrees with wind and rain. Yuck!

Barbara Johnson said...

I know your first race day has been a disappoinment, but many time, when the first day didn't go to good, the following days went great. Your dogs can do it..... Believe in them and yourself.


YO said...

Stay strong. If u had not had that unforeseeable, (albeit avoidable by those who set up the race) problem, u would have been right in the running. W/ the time you lost, it looks like you would have challenged for sure.

Your dogs are fast and I believe some of the best out there. Protect them yes, but give them a chance if risk is doable.

Often there is TRIUMPH from tragedy, Jen. Thankfully, it does not sound like anyone was hurt.

And I agree, there is absolutely NO reason at all why that trail shouldn't have been the best anywhere for an event of this magnitude. Later need to contact the IFSS folks, so they don't err again in next choice of location.

Take a deep slow breath... you know what you are up against now.

Blessings guys!!!

sue said...

first day under your belt. you know what is out there now. you and your team are so strong. you can over come. i am at home just waiting for the next race. you and the team do us proud.

Dad Payne said...


It sounds as though the first day went not so good. Some days are like that.

Keep your mind on the race and not the conditions, you know better than anyone, in your sport anything is possible. So focus on the race and what you need to do.

I hope the rest of your racing goes better but part of the reason you do this is the love you have for the sport, so keep your head straight and you heart in what you love.

Dad Payne

Tundralady said...

I support any decision you have to make, whether it be staying and running other races, or heading home. I know you are giving it 110% and are thinking of your dogs safety first.

You came, you saw, you's an adventure...


Joe said...

Sounds like some tough decisions to make and if you have to protect your dogs' and team's safety, you know best. Just get some rest, take good care of yourself and each other.