Here in Kara's photo , you can see the racing team returning after a snowy run of Wednesday.
Wednesday, we got about 6" of fresh snow making for a fun run. However, come the race weekend the temperatures dropped to the -30C range. It was so cold the dogs food would start to freeze in the their dishes if they didn't eat quickly. However, theses dogs eat fast and no one had a problem. We placed lots of fresh straw in their houses to keep them warm & dry.
However, we woke up this morning to discover the Hydro went of sometime before 6am and at 8am the temperature in the chalet was 10C. It didn't take long to get the temperature up to acceptable with using the 2 wood stoves.
Back to heating water on the stoves and had some fresh hot tea. The hydro finally came back on around 4.30pm.
Now the race! Our objective this weekend was to give the team some race experience as 7 of the 12 dogs were yearlings with no race experience. Also Cosmos is in his first season running lead. The race was in L'Epiphanie, Quebec. It was a 13.6 mile coarse with head on passing and 1/3 in a wild twisty, bush trail with several challenging downhills. Add all this with the head on passing and speeds of over 20mph made for an event filled race.
Our team had very little experience with the head on passing and they very quickly became seasoned pros. Max did a great job and showed Cosmos the ropes with this very difficult type of passing. Some times it is wild, as both teams lead dogs look like their playing chicken with each other( heading straight at each other) and then each pair of leaders pull their respective team to their right and pass each other without any problems. AMAZING!
The first place team on Saturday averaged 19+mph our team was averaging 17+mph. That was until the wheels fell off (a metaphor for disaster) less than a 1/2 mile from the finish. The trail winds its way through some farm fields along side the village. At one point, we are parallel to the finish line and Max heard the race announcer on the loud speaker.
It was then Max stopped and looked over in that direction and figured that was the way to the finish line. After numerous attempts and at least 6-7 minute of lost time, we continued the run to the finish. I am sure the combination of the stress of all the head on passing and listening to all the commands to pass and all the gee/haw commands on an unfamiliar coarse contributed to his decision.
The main thing is they all finished and in good spirit.
Sundays run was for race training only and to ensure the dogs had a good experience. So the last half of the race I just let the dogs run at their own pace. I was very proud of the teams performance and the extremely calm, professional handling of Kara. It was a great job!
The next couple of days we will rest the dogs and ourselves.
I would also like to announce that David Acou will be joining the Miortuk Team starting in September as the Handler/Trainee for the 2011/2012 season.
Welcome aboard David.
Until next week.......