Ran our last day of training on Thursday and the usual group was there getting their last run in before race day. Dogs did great! Bruce thinks he’s got his Lander team picked out based on how the dogs ran in Dubois. He tried Pepper in lead with Cracker and that guy just smoked. He is really turning out to be one heck of a dog. When she wanted to slow up he forced her to keep the pace up. Better yet he had several head on passes and never even blinked and just kept moving. It’s so exciting to see him develop. His brother Socks is on the Gilbertson’s main team and he looks identical. We also learned that Kiwi, Mikka and Toppi’s sister, will be running the stage race this year as well. As we understand it she’s on the main team; however, as of breakfast on Friday the Gilbertson crew was still making decisions on teams. We drove into Jackson hole right after training and went from 30 degrees to -2. It’s always cold and damp in the Hole! Spent the evening shopping for miscellaneous stuff we felt we absolutely needed…..gloves, powerbars and anything else that looked interesting. Then we pigged out on Mexican. I have to keep reminding Bruce that the race hasn’t started yet and so he’s still officially dieting. It’s working slightly 🙂
Right now we are at vet check and I think we’ve been here a couple hours already and their not even close to our number. It’s freezing outside and we are all bored….. On the bright side it gives us a chance to say hello to everyone and get re-acquainted. It’s like a class reunion every year. Lots of smiles, hugs and laughs. Everyone is really excited to race this year. It’s fun hearing about everyone’s training since they come from all over the world here and we all deal with our own special training hurdles. From the Utah desert to icy trails in Colorado to warm spells in Michigan. We all have obstacles that we have to overcome. There appears to be several teams that have alot of new dogs. We came with 7 new dogs this year which we were actually shocked about when we got to counting. Seems to be the magic number on alot of teams this year anywhere from 6-7 new dogs. There also seems to be some leader issues on several teams and lots of unknowns due to this. Gilbertson’s, unfortunately, lost their main leader, Fireball, in training and she won’t be here this year. Jarle Halsnes talked about losing some leaders before the race, Magali is without Memphis and Doug Swingley is using some of his Iditarod leaders, Arrow and Beshaw this year. Should the weather get nasty with lots of snow this could work out to his favor. If there was one thing we learned at this race, it was to bring as many leaders as you possibly can and protect your throttles through out the race because they are key! So there has been talk of different training routines, new dogs, new leaders and several unknowns ……….it should be one exciting race! Check out photos of the vet check in the gallery.