Stage 7 – Bag A Dog, Bag 2 Dogs, Bag 3 Dogs?

Evanston was to be our big hurrah and it turned into a big blah!  The trail was a packed snowmobile trail.  Temps were in the high twenties to low thirties and it all seemed perfect.  However, the tough trails from the day prior took it’s toll on several teams today and there were more dogs crossing the finish line in the bag than yesterday.  Bruce left with Max and Pepper in lead, Anker and Ivan, Cheyenne and Rocky, Blizzard and Billy, Utah and Sedona, Toppi and TJ and the team was in great spirits.  Everyone checked out good physically and those that had been sore looked great.  We were very hopeful this morning.  However, one mile into the race Pepper cramped up on him.  He tried to baby him and got him to the top of a long climb and then had to bag him.  The team was not climbing like we’ve seen in the past and we uncovered another error in our training this year.  Sam Perrino made the long climb in 45 minutes and it took Bruce an hour.  However, Sam ran into major problems and wound up bagging (3) dogs.  His first dog was a small 40 pounder and he thought, “Ok, now my weight is about equal to Bruce and if I lose it will have been on equal footing. Then on the 2nd dog he thought, “Ok, this is a 55 lb dog and now I defnitely weigh more than Bruce.”  On the 3rd dog he thought it was hopeless.  He wound up crossing the finish line just seconds before Bruce and lost some time to him.  Now we are going to wind up racing in Park City becuase there is only 69 seconds seperating Sam and Bruce.  Wendy Davis also had to bag a dog.  Sandy Burke came in with 3 dogs in the bag.  John Barron lost a dog for 20 minutes just 5 miles before the finish.  Grant Beck bagged a dog.  All in all, it was a mess of a day for many teams.  Our team was in rough shape when they came in and we have some very sore pups on the truck.  We were laughing with Sam about how many he was taking tomorrow and he said, “Well, I have 2 good ones.”  We told him that we better come up with 3 than!

We had amazing roads once again.  I’ve never been to this race with such good road conditions and it has made it 10 x more pleasant.  Knock on wood but there has been no issues outside of the race.  Megan Routley had some truck problems today and it died on the way to the finish, but they were able to get to town and get some new batteries and still made it to the finish line on time.  I haven’t had a chance to chat with her, but I know she is struggling with some sore dogs.  Krista Halnes turned out another great race and things are starting to click for her.  However, they are selling the team after this race and it is to be her last race.  We all better watch out if they decide to stay in this or if she comes back some day.  She’s done a fantastic job.  One thing we’ve seen on this race that we’ve not seen so much before has been dogs cramping up.  The vets were saying that there has just been a ton of dogs cramping either on the trail or once they come in.  Everyone is running dogs at night and massaging into the late hours trying to prevent this.  We’ve talked a bit with Doug Swingley on how to prevent it and have learned some interesting tips.  It’s perplexing because a perfectly sound dog can just cramp up without warning.  So needless to say, we are a tad concerned about tomorrow.  We NEED to make sure that we have sound dogs to finish this thing so we don’t lose anytime.  It would be a bonus to move up a position, but right now we just want to hold onto 4th place.  I contracted the “KING FLU” yesterday and am dying on the vine.  So I keep trying to tell myself that this is the last night I have to be up late massaging. 

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