Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 2 of Exxon Race

It was alittle warmer today, it clouded up overnight. Some of the dogs didn't look to good this morning, they are tired and still fighting a bug they picked up somewhere along our travels, but no one is sore so I think all will go again today.
The 6 dog race went fine. We had a clean run, but Dar looked pretty wiped at the end. Kodo did super as he usually does for me. When I crossed the finish line Nathan said he thought I'd won the race. What! I was in shock. There was 11 seconds separating the top 4 teams going into today's heat of racing but the 3 teams ahead of me were great teams. I was hoping to move up to 3rd. The announcement of final positions confirmed that we did win. I was so excited. We have had a rough 6 weeks on the road and it was nice to have all our hard work finally pay off. Now can we hold onto the lead in the 8 dog. I was real nervous since I had the bad crash on day one. The team is so fast and there is so much power there. I didn't have any troubles at the bad corner in the 6 dog so that did wonders for boosting my confidence. We had a clean run but same as the 6 dog, one of my leaders "Dewalt" was really struggling about 2 miles from home. It's very obvious he's now coming down with the "bug" too. I didn't have the fastest day time today but we did still win overall. That was sweet!!! Last year Nathan was 2nd in the 8 dog and in 2007 he won it. My turn finally. The trophies are amazing. I'll have to take a picture and put it on here so you all can see. We had dinner at the Tudor Road Bingo where they held the awards ceremony. Tonight we unloaded all the dogs off the truck. That was quite a job since no dogs have been here for 6 weeks. Chains were frozen in, most of the straw in the houses had to be changed and food dishes were missing. The dogs are all settled in now and we get to go to bed early since we don't have to drop dogs tonight. Yeah. Back to work tomorrow and we have another huge race next weekend. It's a 3 day race. 10 dogs-10 miles, but each day is a different trail, so good leaders will be essential. The plan is to run 2 teams but we'll have to wait and see how training goes and who is still healthy by then. Happy Trails to all!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day one of the 36th running of the Exxon

I wasn't too sure what the weekend would hold for us after watering the dogs this morning. The dogs are far from 100% still. Some of the dogs I was planning on racing didn't drink so they won't be on the teams today.
We finished a very surprising 4th in the 6 dog. We had 2 passes that went fine. We are only seconds out of 1st place so we'll try and move up tomorrow. I ran Kodo & Dar in lead, Kai & Shey (both yearlings) in swing and Wren & Finch in wheel. All ran great and we'll hope for another clean run Sunday.
In the 8 dog we are currently in 1st place. That just absolutly shocked me. My run was far from clean and smooth. I crashed and almost lost my team on a bad corner just shortly after the start. They warned us to watch the corners for lack of snow. I didn't have any problems in the 6 dog so I wasn't ready for all the snow to suddenly be gone when I came around in the 8 dog. I hit the corner to fast I guess and caught a runner on some grass and just flipped right over. I can't belive I manage to get back upright. Then we also had 2 passes on the way home. I didn't think the dogs looked like a first place team but apparently I was wrong. It's nice to be back in Alaska and running on fast trails. The dogs sure seemed to like it too. Of course we are thrilled to be at the top in both our races. Hopefully all the dogs will be healthy for tomorrow.

We're Home

What a week we had. We left Ft.St John early afternoon on Wednesday after training. We had to make a stop in Ft.Nelson to pick up a few things. We drove late into the night Wednesday, stopping briefly for a short nap in the truck. I climbed into the back seat to try and get a little sleep while Nathan drove. Every time I'd almost be asleep he'd hit the brakes and I pop up to see Buffalo lying in the road. One time there were 3 lying on the left side of the road and 2 more on the right and Nathan had to weave the truck and trailer in between them all. It was quite a sight to see. We stopped for breakfast in Watson Lake and a guy at the restaurant told us the Buffalo cause alot of bad accidents by sleeping in the road. I guess they like the warm pavement. Wish we could have gotten some pictures of it. Thursday night we had dinner at Destruction Bay and then drove for a bit longer. We slept in the truck for a few hours and then pressed on. We got grilled at the border crossing, go figure the only trouble we had the whole trip was getting back into our home state. Then we almost hit a caribou after that. It ran across the road then darted back out in front of us. Whew! Glad Nathan's a good driver or we would have got that one for sure. We had Breakfast in Tok Friday morning. It so good to be close to home. The worst roads of our trip was between Tok and Chistochina. It was snowing and blowing and no one had been over the roads yet so it was really hard to see where the road was. We finally made it back to Chugiak Friday afternoon, first stop was the car wash to get all the salt off the truck and trailer. They use alot of salt on the roads down there. When we got home we let all the dogs run around for awhile, they looked happy to be home but the funny thing was they all eventually came back over to the truck and wanted back in. The plan was already to keep all the race dogs on the truck for the weekend since we have to be in Anchorage early Saturday morning for the Exxon race. Stay tuned for this weekends race results.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Training Day

Today we are at Ross & Tammy Suanderson's. We arrived late last night. We had a drivethon from Eddy's to here. We took naps in the truck instead of getting a hotel. We stopped for a late dinner Monday night in Regina, Saskatchewan with our friends Aaron & Charlene Campbell. They have an adorable new baby, Avery Jordan, she's just 2 weeks old.
It's been really warm since we left there. In Edmonton, Alberta it was 50 degrees. Here in Ft.St John it's about 40 degrees. Ross' trail was nice though. We took 3 8-dog teams out for a short run just to see how everyone looked after running the race last weekend. Nine is still out, she's not feeling well. We ran all the others that ate breakfast. Looks like a couple are sore and most still are far from being back to 100%. We'll let them rest up the last leg of the trip home and hopefully we'll have at least a 6 & 8 dog team for the Exxon race this next weekend in Anchorage. We are leaving Ross & Tammy's here momentarily. We have to make a quick stop in Ft.Nelson and then we'll just keep driving. Hope to be bakc home sometime Friday.

Day 2 of the Walker race

The weather was alittle more cooperative today. It was still about 35 degrees but the trail was quite a bit firmer. All of the 6 dog team dogs went again today. Nathan was able to hold onto his 5th place spot. He had to switch Finch out of lead (she sick) and the only one left to go up in lead was Kai. He's one of the yearlings. He did super up there. No problems with any of the obstacles out on the trail. He did great running down the street with all the people too. For the 10 dog race we had to drop one dog. Our dog Nine was real sick and not eating so she'll rest up today. Nathan went with Ryobi and Slander in lead today. They did great. Our team was for sure the best at going through the tunnel. Almost all the other teams had real trouble with that obstacle. Nathan managed to move up one place to 7th overall for the 10 dog. By Sunday PM alot of the dogs are sick and not eating. When we dropped the dogs for feeding we noticed Dukker & Shey had swollen faces. Dukker's was real bad. He looked like a chipmunk. His neck was so swollen we had to loosen his collar. We had a similar thing happen to 2 other dogs last week and we just gave them Benadryl and they were fine the next day.
We headed back out to Ed & Amy Streeper's after the awards. We'll plan on sleeping there and head out early morning. More later whenever we have internet.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 1- Walker, Minnesota race

What a beautiful day today. The weather couldn't be better(for the spectators). Not very good for the dogs though. By the time the 6-dog went out at about 1:30 it was about 50 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It wasn't any better for the 10 dog that went out 1 1/2 hours later. The race organizers did a great job at putting this all together with this being a first time race for this town. They had plenty of trail help and did a super job putting in starting chutes for all the teams.
We helped out with the 2-dog race. The kids start down on the lake and run up the hill and through the town and then cross a finish line up there so they needed lots of help to get the kids and dogs back down to the lake. The people are all super nice so that makes it real fun.
As far as how our teams did, well not too good. The 6-dog finished 5th we think, we haven't seen any results yet. They looked terrible back at the truck. Natha said he was in the lead but had to switch leaders just before the 1/2 way point. At first we thought they were just hot but at feeding time some were not eating well so we'll have to wait and see what we'll have for tomorrow. About the same for the 10-dog. Nathan said they just looked awful. He switched leaders in that race too. We've been training plenty far so this shouldn't have been hard for them. We've been around alot of other dogs and we're thinking they must have a bug to be in such rough shape. The great news though is they all did super with the enormous crowds on the streets and all the road crossings and the tunnel. Nathan said he's not a fan of the mass start races either.
It's now Sunday morning. Last night was real fun. We had dogs throwing up their dinner and some just flat refusing to eat. On of the dogs not eating has never missed a meal. They must be sick. This morning good news, all but one ate breakfast. Everyone looks fine. No one seems sore. I think as of this minute we'll go with the ones who ate and see where we end up overall. We are both looking forward to getting home. The same goes for the dogs I think. For the most part though they all seem to be enjoying the trip. We'll hope to get back on the internet tonight and let you know final results.