Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Race Season Wrap Up

Roxy, our "rookie of the year" yearling female. She handled everything we threw at her & is doing super in lead!!

One of our last training runs before the Copper Dog 150. Roxy & Zoey are in lead.

Our snow was almost gone so we had to truck the dogs to our straight, boring, safe snowmobile trail for the last 2 weeks before the Copper Dog. We only received a few inches of snow in that time and shredded 3 sets of runner plastic in the process!!

Another shot of the final 12 before Copper Dog

Larry finishing the Midnight Run in 7th place.George & Franklin lead the entire race. Curlin, Fender, Prophet, Gibson, Manny & Jackson made up the rest of the team. Larry leaving the starting chute lined with thousands of spectators at the Copper Dog 150 on March 4th. Eddie & George are leading the way! Photo courtesy of Brockit Inc.

Larry workin hard!

Larry & team on the first leg

Larry and the team reaching the top of Brockway Mountain on the 3rd day of the race.

Photo courtesy of Brockit Inc.

Larry & team coming down the finish chute. Curlin & George are in lead.

Larry & the team finishing in 9th place

Another race season is in the books & we are thoroughly enjoying our off time. I've been a bit lazy about updating the blog so I figured I better get on it!! After the Beargrease we went to the Midnight Run in Marquette, Michigan. We had a severe warm up the week of the race and lost a lot of the snow. The trails up there were extremely icy & dangerous. In the best interest of the team & me I scratched from the race before the start. I was very disapointed after training for this race for 6 months, only to not run it. Larry decided to run the A team and scratch the B team. Not only was the trail very challenging, but the wind gusts grew to up to 60 mph! It was nasty out!! Larry had quite a few problems on the first leg. The trail wasn't marked very well so he took many wrong turns and had to turn the team around. The lake he had to cross was glare ice with no defined trail. George & Franklin headed across the lake in the wrong direction. After a lot of voice commands, Larry finally got them to make a huge circle back to the correct trail. In the beginning of the first leg, there were tons of stumps sticking through the melted snow. His drag pad got ripped right from the sled on that part, so he had to do almost the entire 1st leg with his metal brake, which was NOT fun!! After the mushers finished the first leg, the common word to describe the trail was "it was brutal". The 2nd leg was not as dangerous, luckily! Larry started the 2nd leg in 8th place & passed one team to finish 7th. At the post race meeting many of us talked about our concerns with the trail & the race organization took action! They are moving the start next year & we are finally starting in Marquette!! This will be so exciting with all the spectators that are there watching the UP200. Plus, there are so many trail options. I cannot wait to sign up next year & run that new trail!

Our last race of the season was the Copper Dog 150. This is a 10 dog stage race that starts in downtown Calumet, Michigan and runs to Copper Harbor & back. Basically it is three 50 mile legs. The competition was top notch & the downtown start was amazing!!! We had so much fun & learned so much!! We didn't have the best first 2 legs, but we had a great 3rd leg. The beginning of the 3rd leg we started in 12th place & ended up in 9th overall. The team was on fire!! I was very proud of Larry & the team to come back and make it into the top 10. We will definetly be back next season & look forward to trying to improve our finish.

The race season didn't really go as planned for us with crappy snow conditions, canceled races, scratching from another, and not finishing as great as we did last year, but that's racing!! We learned so much from all our mistakes we made this year & cannot wait to start training again in the fall. But, for now we are really enjoying our off season!! We are getting a lot of things done around the house & kennel while we wait for the snow to finally melt. We've also harness broke 4 of our pups: Zeus, Clark, Carmello & Hershey. We still have the 4 George/Odessa pups left to run, but they are a bit young yet. We are also awaiting our first litter of puppies. We repeated our Elrond/Odessa breeding from 2006 since it produced 3 of our very best dogs on our main team. Another dog that we sold is running on a top 3 team in Quebec for Marie-eve Drouin. She races the same distances as us. Odessa is due on the 4th. We cannot wait to see what she has!! Ana has no school for a week for spring break. We are having a great time so far & enjoying not getting up at 6 a.m. every day!! I will try & update again soon. Have a great weekend everyone!!