Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Midnight Run 2009 6th place!!!!!!!my team loping into the finish

Shannon Miller ran 6 of our dogs in the Jackpine 30 and also finished 6th! Thank you Shannon for taking such great care of our dogs and helping us before the race!! Gibson before the race start

Prophet before the race start

Me and Georgie, our awesome yearling, before the race

Jackson, relaxing before the race

Me and Odessa

Cowgirl, one of my main leaders

Just before the race start

Odessa (white dog), Zoey (my main leader) and Fender before the race
We had our last race of the season last weekend, The Midnight Run, a 94 mile race. The first leg of 47 miles, went ok. We had a couple of problems out there. My team tried to pull me onto the highway (we were on a trail right next to it) 3 times! I would plead for Zoey to drag us back to the trail and she always listened like a good girl. Cowgirl was bound and determined to have us running down the highway. Thankfully, Zoey is strong enough to pull her and the team the correct way. The trail was very punchy for almost 30 miles. They got almost 2 feet of snow 2 days before the race. This made it very tough for me and the dogs. We got held up at a couple of road crossings waiting for huge lines of cars. We got done with the hills and Marquette Mountain and were headed toward the overpass. We run under it, there is a highway ontop. Well, Cowgirl heard the cars overhead and would not go under. Instead, she turned the whole team around and came back to me and the sled. There were no volunteers and nothing to hook down to. Two ladies came running and held my sled while I turned them around and untangled a huge knot of dogs. Then, they lead me under the overpass, where we then ran over some hay bales and a huge barrel. Finally, the last 19 miles into the checkpoint is on a nice, flat, well groomed snowmobile trail. The team was really cruisin for this section. We were the 2nd team into the checkpoint since we had started 4th and passed 2 teams. The team looked super! We took booties off, rubbed them down, put their coats on them, fed them, then bedded them on straw for the 6 hour layover at Deerton. All the dogs rested very well. About an hour before our departure, we walked the dogs around to see if anyone was sore. Everyone was fine except, Gibson had a slightly sore wrist and George had a ripped pad from taking his frozen bootie off when we got there. We bootied George and ran Gibson around to warm him up. Larry told me to start the 2nd leg slow to warm them up. Well, I tried, but we took off like a stinkin rocket! I was standing on the brake with everything I had. Gibson & George showed no signs of injury the entire 2nd leg. We were screaming down the trail. The first 20 miles was a nice, hard packed fast trail. We started the 2nd leg in 10th place and quickly caught 2 teams. I was hoping I wasn't going to fast, but the team was moving effortlessly. About 20 miles in I caught the fast teams of John Hull & JR Anderson. I passed both of them, then JR caught up and we ran together for quite awhile. He repassed me at one point. The last 25 miles was more soft, punchy trail. There were a lot of hills and tight, twisty trails. In the hills, Cowgirl wasn't driving anymore in lead next to Zoey. Her line was quite loose, so when JR stopped for a tangle, I put Odessa in lead and Cowgirl behind her. We caught back up to JR and the next time he stopped, we repassed him. John Hull was still close behind and would catch up everytime we stopped. Finally, we got onto a nicely groomed snowmobile trail for about a mile, but the swing dogs were over-running Odessa. So, I had to stop again and put Cowgirl back up in lead. In the meantime, JR passed us again. Not wanting him to get away, I called up the dogs with more than 10 miles to go. We went passed JR again. Then, we turned onto more tight, hilly, twisty trail. At this point, I was not going to give up 6th place without a fight. I kicked and ran with everything I had and gave the dogs their commands to pick the pace up. Slowly, we started to put some distance between JR & I's teams. Finally, I looked back and couldn't see him anymore. I knew he wasn't far behind, so we had to work as hard as we could to keep our spot. My legs were so sore and cramped already from all the running and kicking! Finally, We came out of the woods and the finish was in sight. I called up the dogs again and they came loping into the finish! All I could see was Larry's face as he stepped out of the crowd. He had a huge smile on his face and was shocked to see I had passed 4 teams for 6th place! He was so proud of us!! We had increased our lead on JR to 9 minutes on that last section and beat John's team by 4 minutes!! The dogs gave me everything they had and left it all on the trail. It was a perfect end to an awesome season!!

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