2008 Midnight Run 13th Place!!! Us ready to start the race. Boston & Gibson are in wheel. The person in the orange vest is a race handler. We have to have 4-5 help get the team to the start line because the dogs are so strong, they'd drag us across the parking lot.
Me crossing the finish line!!!
Well, I am pleased to announce that I FINALLY had a great Midnight Run!! I've run this race a few times and I always usually have a bad experience due to the challenging and often dangerous trail conditions. Last year we went down a steep hill with a 90 degree turn and I went over a cliff and lost my team. So, before the start this year my stomach was in a knot. My team was Zoey & Star in lead and Odessa, Cowgirl, Lilly, Fender, Boston and Gibson in the team. I ran a smart race this time and kept to my race plan for once, not changing anything to keep up with the competition. I ran a very conservative first leg and held the team back for probably 3/4 of the 46 mile leg, that way I'd still have a team with energy left for the 2nd leg of 43 miles. I was pleasently surprised with how well the first leg went. There were twists and turns and steep hills, but having a lot of snow and a new Prairie Bilt sled that actually turns really made a difference. I didn't drag or hit one tree!! Instead of running the cliff section, the trail crew re-routed around that and had us cross a lake. It was a moon lit night and crossing that lake was so beautiful with all the stars out. We start the race at 6:00 pm so most of it is ran at night. The dogs were doing awesome and keeping an excellent pace. I was so proud of them. After we climbed Marquette Mountain there was only one very icy steep down hill where I said "oh $#&%"!! I stood on the brake for all I was worth, luckily we stayed upright and it was over quick. The last 19 miles of the first leg we run over a flat snowmachine trail next to the highway. It is really cool, it is late at night and there are bonfires and hundreds people partying all along the trail. At first all the shouting and clapping when you go by scares the crap out of the dogs, but then every time they'd hear a crowd up ahead they'd actually speed up. We loped along at a great pace that whole section of trail. The team was on fire. I was just hoping that they wouldn't burn out because a ways behind me I could see a headlamp and did not want to get passed. I hadn't gotten passed the whole first leg yet. The last 15 miles, Boston, one of the yearling males, was getting horrible diarhea, which disrupts the flow of the team every time he had to go. But then he'd get right back into it. He is a powerful dog and really helped us on that leg. I never gave a pick up command till we hit the plowed road, the last 3 miles till the Deerton Checkpoint. The dogs were cruisin, and finally the headlamp behind me was getting closer and I realized it was Bruce Magnussun, who is driving an awesome team of dogs. Bruce passed, then his leaders weren't cooperating and got balled up, so I went on by him again and on to the checkpoint. His first leg time was still faster than mine, which put him infront of me after the checkpoint, but just the fact that it took so long for him to catch up was awesome. His team finished 9th overall. We had such a great first leg that Larry wasn't even expecting me in yet. The dogs looked awesome and were ready for more. Then, Larry came running around the corner and grabbed the team so we could do our 5 hour layover and bed the team down. We were very efficient getting our dog care activities done. All I said to Larry was I had a great first leg and we went to work taking care of the dogs so we could get them resting as soon as possible. We gave them a chicken snack in line, then hooked them around the trailer, fed them a warm meal, the vets looked them over, then we massaged Accede into their shoulders and wrists, put their dog coats and wrist wraps on to keep them warm, spread the straw and let them get some rest. Then, I got to eat/drink, go to the bathroom and I got about 3 hours of sleep. An hour before my re-start (4:19 am) we gave the dogs some baited water to keep them hydrated, then walked the dogs around to check for any lamness. I am very pleased to say that everyone was healthy and ready to go. I decided to leave Boston behind because of the diarrhea. He is young so I didn't want to take a chance with him having a bad run. Plus he is about 65 pounds, which would ruin our great race if he had to ride in the sled bag. He was so upset about being left behind, he was going nuts and shaking the whole trailer!! by the 2nd leg, it was pretty cold, below zero, the lowest -12. I had no idea and wondered why I was getting cold at times. I would just kick to help the dogs and run up hills to stay warm. I had Zoey and Star in lead also on the 2nd leg also. They were so awesome!! We had a great 2nd leg and never had a problem! I only stopped once to snack and once to flip a dog to the correct side of the gangline and once to turn the right way. I never even saw another team out there infront or behind, so I knew my dogs were maintaining a good pace. I still kicked constantly so nobody would catch me. I finished the race at about 8:36 am with happy, healthy dogs. We actually ran the 2nd leg at 11.5 mph, which was 1 mile per hour faster than the first!! Lilly and Zoey were barking to go more at the finish line!!! I am so glad the trail was awesome and the dogs did so well. Zoey & Star really got the job done leading all 89 miles. I had a great race and it was an excellent way to end our race season. I finished 13th place out of 29 teams. I moved up 13 places from last season!! I've always wanted to finish in the top 15, so for next year our goal will be the top 10!!