Busted in Alpine – Stage 2

000620-0005-000010Trouble just seems to find us these days.  It’s like we are trouble magnets.  I’m on egg shells waiting for the next problem to occur.

We woke this morning to a couple inches of snow and temperatures in the twenties; which was a relief given what we had woken up to the previous day.  It’s very odd how all winter I was praying for snow and now I’m praying for no snow.  Even odder how the prayers keep getting ignored.  Have I been that bad?

Alpine did not get the snow storm we experienced in Driggs, but rather they got rain.   When we checked in last night the hotel owner told us there was an inch of icy crust in the parking lot earlier in the day.  We knew this would impact the trail.  So first thing when we got to the parking lot JR and Bruce went out on the trail to check out the conditions.   It was like icy gravel.  Both teams decided that booties were the right call and neither of us were willing to chance a run like last year in Alpine that resulted in extremely sore feet.   There were some teams that booted and some teams that did not.   We went with 12 again (Pakwa, Fala, Chepi, Lumpy, Dime, Sigfried, Euro, Kroner, Peso, Penny, Pence, Ailer).  Just prior to leaving someone tells us we couldn’t use the snowmobile to take the teams to the line because it didn’t have a permit.  Bruce then talked to the Forest Service Officer and the Executive Race Director and they agreed that we could use it and we would pick-up a permit after the race.

The trail was snow covered, but firm underneath going out.  Bruce’s team sailed the first half and got in a nice groove.  Around mile 20 one of his leaders started to have diarrhea.  We had a mild  one day bug go through most of the team during training and she must not have been one of them.  By the turn around he had caught everyone but one team.  Then his leader progressively got worse until she just wasn’t getting it done and unfortunately she was the throttle.  At mile 33, he switched out the sick leader.  The trail was now loose mealy snow and the team just went flat.  The leader switch he made was not working out well so around mile 37 he switched out a 2nd leader.  Buddy and Alex caught him around mile 49 and both teams looked great.  Around mile 50 the team started to slowly pick back up and cruised home.   

The team finished in 4th place.  The dogs are all healthy and their feet look great.  We moved into 4th overall, but we have our work cut out for us. 

Meanwhile in the pits, where all the real excitement happens, the handlers were standing around w130314_drawcol02337aiting and talking.  This is what we do and we do it for hours and hours and hours.  So as we were standing around innocently doing nothing, the law found us again.  This time it was the forest service.  Colonel Sanders in a green uniform not a white one approached and asked “Excuse me is this your snowmobile?” I replied, “Yes” He then said, “Well, you need a trail permit.”   I smiled and said, “Yes, they told us that when we got here and we plan to pick one up after the race.  We don’t intend to use it on the trail.  It’s just parked here so we can get stuff in the trailer.”  “Whelp, it can’t be on forest property without a permit,” he said.  I replied, “We plan to get one after the race.  I can’t leave here now to go get one.”   He responded tersely, “You have to have a permit or it has to be in the trailer.”  At this point, I wanted to tear the colonel’s handlebar mustache off.  However, I’m learning incredible self-control in my old age and I smiled, bit my tongue and walked away for a second.   I returned and he said, “You can drive to get a permit.  They sell them at the gas station.”   I repeated that I could not leave the parking lot with my vehicle as I wouldn’t be able to return to my parking spot.”  He said, “You can take the snowmobile.”  So with my brows furrowed I said very slowly, “So you are saying I can drive on the forest property and over the highway to go get a permit, but I cannot be parked without a permit.  I must be in the trailer.”  He nodded as if he had just had successful communication with an alien.  I smiled that smile that says, “You are Sir are a dip wad and I would love to tell you what a dip wad you are!”    Turns out Colonel Sanders was the same officer that had agreed to allow Bruce to get the permit after the race.  Colonel Sanders is not a man of his word!  So I did what anyone would do in this risky endeavor and I sent Dylan to take the risky drive to the gas station for the permit.  He successfully managed to avoid being arrested; which was a relief because I didn’t want to handle for two teams!spy

After our exciting encounter with the law we stood around some more until one of the vets entertained us with her team of three corgis pulling two little kids on a sled.  It was beyond cute.  Every race needs a team of corgis to lighten the mood.  Later I noticed a man kneeling down at the back of the truck.  I kept watching wondering who the heck this guy was and what he was doing behind our truck.  Is this espionage?  Was he from a competitor’s team?  Is this why our trailer quit working; someone is intentionally messing with our wiring?  What the heck was this guy doing?   As I watched I contemplated how I should approach the villain.  Then a light bulb went on and I realized it was the race mechanic and he was working on fixing our trailer brake situation!   Hallelujah, a prayer had been answered!!  As of now we should have no issues with the brakes due to the wiring.   Please let the bad juu juu be gone now.

We have tomorrow off so we can make the long drive to Lander.  We will then attend a Meet the Mushers event in downtown Lander on Main Street; which is always very fun.   We will resume racing Tuesday morning and they are calling for snow!!!  Oh happy day!

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