Ruth had an interesting mix of dogs with her on the Two Rivers 200 ranging in age from yearlings Bean and Sanka to veteran Olivia at nine years old. She started with just nine dogs: Chena, Chemo, Olivia, Schmoe, Five, Bean, Sanka, Hotshot and Iron.
Chena did very well and is a very talented leader. Sometimes, however, she can be too smart for her own good. At the intersection of the slough trail and baseline, where we would normally take a HAW to go home, the route called for a GEE and it took some time convincing Chena that Ruth knew where she was going.
Chemo was typically Chemo, he was eager to please and worked steadily but he got a little sore in his front end and Ruth left him at Angel Creek checkpoint. This left her team underpowered for the hills in the final leg.
Olivia is an absolute legend. She will work and work then when it is time to rest she will settle in quickly and make the most of her down time. She is certainly a matriarch of the kennel and has proven herself time and time again.
Schmoe never let up and he didn’t feel he needed to camp! He was ready to continue on for as long as you needed.
Five is so strong and hard working, he will be an important dog next season! He also had some mental issues at the GEE on baseline; he was convinced Ruth was wrong and protested about turning right. He got sore during the second leg so Ruth left him at the Pleasant Valley Store checkpoint. He is already back into training now and looking good!
Bean did great! She has a lot of energy, enthusiasm and will be a future leader.
Sanka is a bit more timid and understated than Bean but will be one of our future leaders and she certainly proved herself this race.
It is great to see Hotshot out on the race trail this season. He hasn’t had much chance but this year has seen him race a little more. He tries far too hard at the beginning of each run which leads him to tire a bit more than the others and he was not able to contribute fully in the latter half of the hills because of that.
Iron didn’t even know what happened! He was ready to race 200, 300 or 1000 miles or follow the snow machine anywhere you wanted to go. He’s a good boy!
In the final leg Ruth had just seven dogs left to get her up some serious hills and no longer had two of her powerhouses Five and Chemo. She, herself worked extremely hard, helping the team by running alongside the sled. After camping and a meal it was decided it was just too much for everyone to continue and remain a positive experience.
Aliy took a snow machine up the hills and brought the team out. She attached the sled to the back of the snow machine and Ruth rode the sled with the dogs happily trotting along behind them all the way to the waiting dog truck (except Schmoe who is, honestly, still a little wary of snow machines so he hung back from the pack, always within sight). It certainly was an adventure for them all!