Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Copper Dog 150 3rd Place!!!
Larry, right before the start with Boston & George

Tefa (left) and George, waiting patiently in the starting chute

Curlin, one of our top yearlings. He raced every race with the main team this year!

Our team in the starting chute, ready to GO!

Some of our team before the start

Manny, another yearling that did so awesome in the 2nd team this year, he was moved to the main team for the last race of the season.

Larry, finishing the 137 mile race with Jackson (left) and Georgie in lead!

When we were packing to go to this race, we were shocked at the weather. All week long, we were scrambling to find trails with enough snow to run on. Spring was coming, quickly! It was almost 60 degrees when we left Gaylord to drive to Calumet, Michigan. This was to be our last race of the season. The Copper Dog 150, a 137 mile, 10 dog race. It was Larry's turn to run the main team and he was very excited to begin!
The race started at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 12th. The temp was 38 degrees and it was raining! The downtown start was amazing! A couple thousand people lined the streets to watch the teams charge out of the chute.
The first leg was 37 miles. Larry and the team had a super run, despite the trail! The warm temperatures melted a lot of snow, so teams ran over snow, ice, dirt and mud. At one point, Larry was using the drag pad to slow the team down. He caught something in the trail (we later found part of a log in his sled bag), and he flew over the handle bars of the sled and landed behind the wheel dogs. He held onto the front of the sled and drug down the trail until he finally got the team to stop long enough for him to jump back on the runners. He still had the fastest time on the first leg and came into the checkpoint with the team looking great! We quickly took care of the dogs at the checkpoint and put them into their boxes for a 5 hour rest.
The next leg was 55 miles. I woke Larry up from his nap, we got the team ready and off he and the team went into the darkness for the next leg. Everyone was skeptical on what kind of trail there would be after the first leg.
The 2nd leg turned out to be the toughest leg of all. There was dirt, rocks and overflow running over the trail. One of our biggest dogs tired out on Larry and also had to be carried in the sled bag for 30 miles. Larry worked his butt off, ran up every hill and ran beside the sled over the dirt and mud to make up for the extra 65 pounds in his sled. He went from 1st to 4th after that.
There were a lot of angry, tired mushers after that leg. We had to have a meeting to decide whether the race would continue. They decided to re-route and shorten the 3rd leg, start earlier since it was going to be so warm on Sunday and they also added a dog drop 25 miles into the leg. A few teams pulled out of the race due to the conditions of the trail.
Sunday morning came and we were the first ones to the starting area, wondering whether we would be the only team there. About a half hour later teams started rolling in and getting ready to depart on the last leg of the race, a 42 mile run to the finish. Larry was in 3rd place on the 3rd leg, since one of the top teams dropped out due to the trail. He was 14 min out of first and 7 min out of 2nd. The 4th place team was only a minute behind. Our dogs were ready to go. We had a couple of sore dogs from the day before, but they looked good on Sunday.
After Larry and the team left on the 3rd and final leg, I drove to the dog drop just incase Larry would need to drop a dog. I was surprised to see that Larry got to the dog drop first and had passed two teams. The team looked awesome! He stopped and dropped Tefa, our super star leader. She had a sore wrist and he didn't want to risk having to carry her in the sled. He put Fender in lead with George and took off down the trail. At this point, he had made a lot of time on the first two teams.
A little while later though, he ended up having to load a 2nd dog in the sled to be carried for about 10 miles. Larry worked his butt off to keep from being passed.
He also had to take Fender out of lead because she didn't like all the people at the road crossings. We just discovered that her brother, Jackson leads well in training. We have never put him up there in a race. He had no other choice, so he put Jackson in lead with George. He ran lead like a super star! He handled everything with ease and finished the race in lead!
I was so proud of Larry and the dogs. He faced so many obsticles in this race, and always kept a positive attidude. It also greatly helped that we are sponsored by the POWER HOUSE GYM. Larry probably lost 10 pounds working his butt off on this race! Our team finished in 3rd place, about 2 min, 45 seconds out of 1st! Also our super 2 year old, George, lead from start to finish and was AWESOME! If we had just made one less mistake, we could have won. Oh well, that is racing. We learned so much for next year. Larry is looking forward to racing the Copper Dog 150 again and improving his finish. With snow, that will be a beautiful trail!

1 comment:

Angie Looney said...

Sounds like a great run. It is a lot of work, keep it up. Not everyone can do it. Bad ass team.