Let’s Break Some Trail

When mooshing gives you a bug; make bug juice (but make sure you add vodka)!   We vowed to make bug juice today and just go have fun and we accomplished that!   PS. Buddy, I didn’t really have vodka this morning 😉

We woke to 1 degrees and it was snowing!   We heard that the temps would climb today and worried if it would get too hot and zap the remainder of the dog’s energy.   We were the 2nd team out today and had to get our butts moving early to be ready.   We waxed up the skis and chose to go with 12 dogs.   They were all injury free and we figured they could all trot 10 mph to get things done.  Some of the dogs from yesterday’s run were in tough shape with the virus and stayed back, but these 12 seemed to be on the upside.

They were loud and excited at the start and we talked about this later and realized last night that despite this nasty bug zapping their energy and reserves, we had done a fantastic job keeping them all hydrated and getting food into them.  We did this while still racing and for those of you that know, this is not an easy task.  This race’s sponsor believes that “It’s all about the dogs!” and we couldn’t agree more.   This race is a grueling test of a canine athlete and year after year I’m amazed at what they are capable of.  In my opinion, it is our responsibility to offer them the best care available so they can perform to their peak.  Simple things like a comfy bed, vet care, massages, proper nutrition and the small details are what make a happy, successful dog team.  Out team was sick, but they were happy and willing to run (or trot); we are proud of that fact.  We have strived to excel at these basics for the benefit of our dogs, the sport and the spirit of the race.

Bruce left the chute and caught Dennis Laboda, whose team was also struggling with the bug, at about 5 miles out.   The teams are faced with a major climb right away and Bruce got excited when he realized they climbed this section in about 50 minutes; which is the best he had ever climbed it in the past.   The trail was hard packed until he reached the top of the mountain and then life changed dramatically.  There was 24 inches of fresh new snow at the top of the mountain and the snowmobiles were breaking trail right in front of him.  He couldn’t believe his poor luck; the flu crew was now going to have to break trail today.  Can’t the guy catch a break?  Even with the snowmobiles breaking trail there was still 10 inches of loose powder.   Bruce would catch the snowmobiles, that kept getting stuck, and then they would zoom past him in a cloud of snow dust so thick he couldn’t see his team.  At about 20 miles he had a leader start puking and so he switched leaders.  At about 28 miles he bagged one of his biggest dogs that had nothing left.  By this point the team shut down to survival mode and ran in on empty.  Despite the tough run, the team finished better than the day before and came across the finish line first.  I was cleaning boxes expecting a long wait because I had already heard about the 2 foot of snow and had seen the groomers when they came in.  So when I heard Bruce’s name I was totally unprepared, but beyond giddy that he was there!

We were able to hold onto 11th place, which we seriously can’t complain about given the situation we were in.

I am very proud of these dogs and there are some really tough tunas on that team.  Periwinkle was our superstar this week and gave us 5 days in a row; too damn bad he’s neutered.  Utah and Stella were also anchors to the team giving multiple days in a row.  Thank goodness for Pepper who wound up leading 3 days and wasn’t supposed to lead at all.  Then our two yearlings gave us everything we expected and turned out to be two tough sled dogs!!

Al had a good run today and was able to have his best finish yet.  The young dogs showed us what they were made of and we are very proud of them and excited that we have a few new leaders, some great feet and possibly some everyday dogs out of that bunch.

Jerry Bath had a disappointing run which knocked him out of the top five.  He had to bag a dog and his team had started to run out of go-go juice the day before.  He gave an AWESOME run at it all week and should be very proud of what he accomplished; his team looked great!   Congrats to Buddy for another impressive win and to the remainder of the line-up for an exciting race.

Bruce and I want to thank all the competitors, the vets, the IPSSSDR crew and fans for their support during this very difficult race.  The hugs, well wishes and genuine concern were very much appreciated and helped a ton.  YOU GUYS ALL ROCK!!!

No photos today, too busy with bug juice.  Ryan wore the monkey hat today!  Are monkey’s fast?  You betcha!!!

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