Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tried, Failed, and LEARNED

We were beyond excited to be at the starting line this year for the Can Am 250! We felt very confident that we had the team to do it, and finish it. Unfortunately multiple reasons showed up pretty rapidly that we were not ready for this race, and no we did not have the team that was capable of finishing this race. However we learned a lot and plan to tackle it again, when timing is better, and we have a more seasoned team! First off the team was Wat, Bones, Roland, Kaltag, Nikolai, Hinder, Lumos, Rimbey, Dixie, Rimbey, Rosa, and Yoda. Problem number 1... No yearlings for this race, and if you do, only 1! We brought 3 into this race, and by the middle of the second leg they were fried. But the temps were very warm anyways so I am sure that was a big play in our situation, sense my guys run very hot! About 10 miles into the run, we were cruising right along, and most all of the team disappeared into this big whole going down hill, resulting in Dixie coming up out of it screaming in pain! I tried my best to stop the team as fast as I could, but snowhooks were not holding at all. I was able to get the team stopped but knew my time was very limited! I ran up and carried Dixie to the bag, went to put her in and the team takes off. I had to let go of Dixie and grab the sled and try to get Dixie to follow the team and I. She did follow us, but was limping the whole way, finally got the team stopped and put her in the bag and this time succeeded. But she is a very hard headed driven female and would not shut up the whole way to Portage in the bag. She didn't care that she was hurt all she wanted was to run and pull! Once arriving into Portage at a decent time considering carrying a 50 lb girl in the sled for 50 + miles, I had the vets check out Dixie. We gave her a Rimadyl, put on her therapeutic vest and signed her out of the race. She was not continuing on with us. Team rested and ate very well. Plan was to stay here for 5 hrs and than continue on to Rocky Brook. But I got a little ahead of myself and was faster at getting the team ready than I thought I would be and we pulled out a little before 5 hrs. Team really flew out of Portage, and I had all I could do to hold them back for the first 10-15 miles. At about 20 miles out Lumos was having a very hard time. Thought he was hot, kept stopping giving the team a break, and let them roll in the snow. After awhile Lumos would just drop and drag, I knew it was time to put the big boy in the bag. I had all I could do to lift him into the sled, because of course he was not going in the bag willingly! After fighting with him and finally winning he was in the bag and actually took to it for about 5 minutes. After that he started to bark his head off... Where was that Ibuprofen I packed...sure going to need it now! At this point the 3 yearlings were done. They were tired, mentally and physically. We were just moping along. By the time we got to one of the safety stations they said it was 20 more miles to the checkpoint. I said if we continue on like this I was going to have to put 3 dogs in the sled and one barely fit as it was. I decided to scratch at that point. Really did not want to, but as more and more pressure was being put onto the remaining dogs, I could see more and more injuries appearing. By the time we hit Rocky Brook I think I would of had to drop 4 more dogs. Trail was very punchy, and I think when Dixie went down in that hole, I am pretty sure that is where Lumos and Wat were injured there too. It took a whole 24 hrs to get my team to be back to their normal selves after this race. The warm temps and the hard going trail really took it out of them! And we only did 97 miles of the race. We can't wait to try this race again, but just not right off. We have some things we need to work on before and that will take some time to get there! But we will be back!! Here are some photos! Now onto some puppy training! Happy Spring everyone!! ~Fort Illio~

Odyssee Appalachienne 100 Miler Feb 16th

It was a last minute decision to go to Saint Pamphile and run this race. Over the years we had talked about it, but always chose to do Greenville race because it was closer and more practical. When Greenville got cancelled, we decided to drive to Canada and run one team in the 100 mile race. Team was, Wat, Bones, Roland, Kaltag, Dixie, Waylon, Rosa, Nikolai, Yoda, Rimbey, Hinder, and Lumos. Wallace had a sore shoulder, so Nikolai went in his place for this race. This was Nik's first time running a longer race, and he did awesome! He certainly has a bright future. The first 40-50 miles to the checkpoint went pretty fast and it was a nice clean run. Well for the most part, that was up until my sled hit a cement pillar that was hidden in the trail and broke my plastic runner off the sled. I had to run the remaining 30 miles on one runner. But thank a lot for Gino Roussell that helped me fix it and we were able to tape it back on and it held! The last 4-5 miles in Bones was acting a little funny, and sure enough once we got into the checkpoint he had a swollen wrist. He was dropped at the half way point. Wat and Bones led the first leg, and Wat and Roland led the second leg. On the way back we kind of went past one of the turns and had to turn the team around twice, resulting in a little tangle. Once we got that straightened around the rest of the run was pretty uneventful. Team clicked right a long and a nice pace and we finished with a time of 9 hours and 25 minutes, putting us in 7th place out of 10 teams. Here are the full results, Also some photos to enjoy of us resting at the halfway point. Next up... Can Am 250!