2007 went exactly as we had hoped and planned for. The end of the season is usually a downer since we spend so much time training and preparing and before we know it its over in a flash. However, this year we ended on a high note and could’nt have been more excited. We had overhauled our training program in preparation for the 2007 season in hopes that we could overcome some mistakes we had made in 2006 and to add some things we felt our program was lacking. There were some big changes and we hoped that they would be successful, but you never really know until you get to the races and even then you need to a have a little luck going your way. The first race of the season at Tahquamenon was not how we wanted to start things off. The race date had been moved and we were supposed to be on our way to Wyoming; however, we made the last minute decision to attend so that Monica would get a chance to race since both of her races had been cancelled due to lack of snow. Within the first 5 miles it became apparent we had issues as two key dogs on her team became ill and eventually the rest of the team fell victim to a mysterious illness. Bruce was running the yearlings and they also struggled, but were not as affected as the other team. We placed horribly and the ride out west was filled with doubt.
Wyoming was an absolute high. The dogs performed like superstars. As is always the case with that race, there were lots of surprises. Dogs we had counted on were out of the race early and dogs we didn’t expect to count on came through like champions. Our yearlings were only supposed to run 2-3 stages and all three of them wound up running 5 stages and were just unbelievable! We had a two year old that almost didn’t make the team turn out to be a superstar and added leader to her resume. That was exciting to watch. It was such a close race that there were a couple races within the race going on and we were in one of them. We went out with intention to break into the top 10 and we successfully managed to do this with 8th place. We couldn’t have been happier and walked away realizing just how close we were to stepping up another level amongst these world class competitors.
After Wyoming, we wound up ending the season with a phenomenal run at the Midnight Run. The original plan was to run the UP 200; however, there were too many veterans on the injury list after Wyoming and we did not want to put our yearlings in that race after such a grueling week out west so we dropped down to the Midnight Run and took the yearlings there. They were outstanding and really performed beyond our expectations. The trail caused a significant amount of lost time in the first half and we came in 7th. However, we were able to turn it around with the fastest run in the 2nd half and moved our way into 4th place just 18 seconds out of 3rd. We knew after that race that we’ve got the dogs to do it.
So now we are already back to the drawing board and making plans for next year. There’s some additional tweaking we want to do to the training plan and we’re going to work really hard on our weakest links; the mushers! This year we will focus on getting the mushers in tip top shape before the training season begins. It became apparent after Wyoming that the things that we need to do to get into the top 5 amongst those competitors are in the little details. We believe we have the athletes, but we have to figure out a way to add some more training time to our program, we have to tweak a few more things in our program and we’ve got to get the mushers in tip, top shape. So watch out 2008, here we come!