We arrived at the race in Olney, MT on Friday evening (2/22) for the snacks and musher meeting. One of the things that amazes me about this race is the amount of sponsorships they obtain. As an organizer of our local races, I know how hard this can be. Our musher packets had a large amount of swag (O'Keefe's tough hands lotion and lip balm, a new pair of thermal work gloves, a race hat and more!!)
After the meeting we got settled in our tiny cabin at the Dog Creek Lodge and fed the dogs. We were all amped for the races to start in the morning.
After the first two loops (different loops, not the same done twice), the course brings you RIGHT back by the start/finish line and sends you out on the longest, hardest last loop. My team came blazing through the start area and out to the last loop super quick with no problems! And then we hit it....the killer climb!
I knew it was long and steep and hard but I didn't realize how long and steep and hard it really was. Last year, they sent us on this loop first when the dogs were still hot and fast from the start line. Now we were more than halfway through the race and the dogs were tired. I was sucking some SERIOUS wind by the top of the hill but we made it and it was nearly all downhill from there! Again the trail volunteers tried to send me the wrong way, to the 6-dog 18 mile course, but they were not blocking my turn and I just turned right, telling them the 4-dog teams were to follow the blue arrows and turn right. As we ran off, I heard a "oh yea!" The last portion of the trails had a good amount of technical turns, making it quite fun. We finished strong and I was super proud of them!
I felt the dogs had done well but I had NO idea where we'd be in the standing. I would not have been surprised if we had been in the back of the 8 racers or up front. When all racers were in, I was pleased to see we were in 3rd after day 1!
We watched the skijorers and fatbikers race the rest of the morning, enjoyed pizza with friends that evening and relaxed.
The next morning was COLD and we had no fresh snow so the trail had set nicely overnight and felt like it was going to be fast! They started us in reverse order, slowest to fastest, so we went out 6th. The trail was INDEED much faster. I did not need to help the dogs at all through the first loops. In fact, I barely held on ;)
|Buck not pleased to be wearing a Canadian harness. Kim Stanley let me try this Tough Skin Harness from Howling Dog Alaska on him. I'm considering getting the US version of this for him for canicross this spring.|
In the end, we had moved into 2nd place and ran over 6 minutes faster on day two! AMAZING! I was quite pleased with the team and glad to end our snow racing season on two fantastic races!
Next up! DRYLAND! The Spring Fling in Cle Elum. April 20th & 21st!