Maybe I don’t like winter! Yesterday I complained because it was snowing and today I’m complaining because it is cold; real cold! We woke this morning to -16 below. For us Floridians, that is like being thrown into a deep freeze naked and wet. I feel sorry for the dogs; they don’t get to see the weather forecast so they can prepare. They wake up and if it’s -16 or 30 above they are wearing the same jacket! Not me, I pulled out the old parka, threw on another shirt and still couldn’t quite achieve that cozy warm feeling.
At the start of the race it was about -8 below. We wavered between going with 10 or 11 dogs and chose to do 11. We were going with ten and then Jerry Bath came by and asked how many we were taking. When we told him 10 he said, “REALLY!?!?” We were pretty set, but then we had another mini pow wow and changed our plan. There are still some big stages left and we’d prefer to have 12 on those stages, but we were concerned about the trail as it often has drifting and a bigger team can be very helpful. Due to the temps we chose to boot all the dogs as that frigid air and dry snow can wreak havoc on feet. We also put a few body coats on some of our houndy dogs to protect their jewels. JR did the same as us. The Streepers had every dog booted and coated. Surprisingly, there were several teams that came in later without boots or coats. Bruce had the 2nd fastest time at the 6 mile mark behind Jerry Scidoris who had a magic carpet ride today. The team hummed and ran the pace Bruce wanted for about 25 miles. Before the halfway he passed Jeff Conn bagging a dog and he passed Chris Atkins. At the halfway he was a minute ahead of Jerry Bath. At mile 27 he caught Al and one of his front end started to flake out. She was dictating the speed of his descents. The trail was hard, but punchy and the leaders kept punching through; which was getting to her. The two teams traveled and passed Austin Forney and then Al had to stop to resolve an issue. Bruce passed and then his one leader totally flaked out. He stopped and switched leaders. He then re-caught Austin and Al and then they set a decent pace on home for 3rd place. The dogs look good except one poor hound had his num nums rubbed raw and bloody from his body suit. That didn’t work as planned; we tried to protect them and caused him issues instead.
Jerry Bath was the winner today and now I’m suspicious. Prior to the race he had been very uncertain about his team. He has several young dogs and some unknowns on the team and he just wasn’t sure how they would perform. He was not feeling confident. Well, now I’m thinking that Mr. Bath might have been playing head games. Trying to get all of us not to pay attention or drop our guard so he could unsuspectingly unleash the beasts. He had a phenomenal run and his team is doing great! We couldn’t be happier for Jerry winning his first yellow bib. Yellow is your color Jerry!! BUT don’t get used to it …. Wink …. Wink …… wink!!! LOL
Then there is our friend JR, who took 2nd today and chipped off a couple more minutes that were standing between him and Bruce for 3rd place overall. It’s a darn good thing these two are good friends because they can’t seem to shake each other in the standings. It would be downright ugly if either one of them was the type that had to hate their competition to do well. Instead, we high five and wish each other the best. These two are the ultimate competitors in my book. It’s competition like this that makes racing fun!
Al Borak, running our yearlings, had another great run and took 7th place today. The kids are just shining and having a great time. Emily Entrikin bagged a dog today. Austin Forney’s team is starting to click and he had a very nice run. Jerry Scidoris was absolutely ecstatic with his run today and very happy with his result.
The handler games were cancelled until tomorrow so stay tuned. This is certainly going to be more exciting than the actual race!