Run & Learn

Well, we have to chalk this 250 off as another learning experience.  Bruce left Portage and the team was amped.  He said they were just cooking and he was passing teams and making good time despite the conditions.  They were charging up hill and showing no signs of being tired.  At one point he caught Lev who yelled, “Bruce is that you?”  Bruce said, “Yes”.  “Holy crap Bruce you made up an hour on me!”  Bruce laughed and called, “Trail”.  The team looked great.  He said they were moving nice, but he was being cautious that he wasn’t running them too hard. During the run he noticed the dogs urine had started to go really dark and most especially Toppi’s.  When he arrived at Rocky Brooke he immediately got a vet.  They checked him for dehydration and the dog was well hydrated.  They checked his anus for signs of blood and all was good.  Then he peed blood and they decided to put him on IV’s immediately.  They checked the rest of the team and the vet said, “This team is extremely hydrated and probably one of the better ones we’ve seen.”  They commented that the team was extremely well conditioned and seemed a little baffled, but said it was most likely stress induced.  They decided to have the team stay, drink and rest a little and then they would check them in a few.  Bruce decided to scratch one dog immediately due to wrists at that time.  After a couple hours Bruce went out to get the dogs ready to go and the majority of the team rose, but then when he turned his back they laid back down.  He knew this was not his team.  The vets watched and there was still alot of brown urine so they decided to water some more and wait.  By the 6 hour point Bruce decided he was leaving now or never.  Him and the vets went out to check and they told him which dogs they wouldn’t allow; which left him with only 6 and one of those they were concerned about.  Bruce decided to scratch.  He knew that to leave Rocky Brooke with 6 dogs would be all about him and not the dogs.  After scratching he sat down with the vet and asked him to go over this with him because he needed to learn from the experience and find out what went wrong.  He didn’t fully understand how this was happening to a team that had experienced Iditarod veterans on it, that had been extremely well conditioned, had run in some really tough conditions this year and was well hydrated.  It just didn’t make sense.  The vet explained that the team was very well hydrated and he had done a nice job there.  He could see they were in shape and based on the race experience had more than enough conditioning to do this race.  The vet didn’t think he ran the dogs too hard.  As they talked in depth, the light bulb went on as to what caused the stress.  The vet learned that the dogs had been in the dog truck since the Sat. prior and had not run since then.  He also learned that the dogs had been really skinney as a result from previous races and we had been feeding a little heavy to try and get some weight on for this race.  In his opinion, the extra feed and lack of running for that one week was enough to cause this type of stress in a team during this type of racing.  He explained that we had probably never seen this before because all the other formats that we do allow us to box the dog at night and/or they are not continuous enough to show up.  Her thought Toppi was probably the worst becuase of the lack of rest he got at the Portage checkpiont.  He emphasized on Bruce’s next attempt that he come a day or two early and make sure the dogs get out for a run and not to try and increase the food intake before a race like this.  So we learned something we never knew.  We knew it was imperative to stretch them out before a race, but did not know that not doing so could cause these types of issues in a race of this nature.  I guess this is where our living, work and kennel situation tend to make things difficult.  We had to bring the dogs down state on Sunday to shave off 4-5 hours of traveling time and then had to work for the week.  We couldn’t escape work until about 6P on Wed. night and it was 2 days travel time so we got here really late on Th.  There was no time to get them out for a run, but next time we will have to make time or we don’t come – period!  The dogs are all happy now.  Bruce made comments that TJ really shined and showed her true colors in this format.  He was super impressed with Dickens, Blizzard, Maximus and Ivan.  Billy was Billy and did a phenomenal job.  Quest did a great job leading the Portage/Rock Brooke leg, but they lost some time and Quest lost his head when a dog from another team bit at him.  This caused a major tangle on an icy road and they lost some time.  Quest took a while to get back in the game, but was able to come back and the ran a great leg.  He said Toppi was a machine and it was amazing that he had this problem because he never showed it.  Bruce has decided that he’s ready to try this race again and he wants to come back and finish what he started!  So until next year……………

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