Everyone was excited about the first race of the season. A special thanks to the TRDMA volunteers – you were a ‘thin’ dedicated crew! And, of course, no race would be the same without Becky and Alex Alexander and Pleasant Valley Store.
The variety of huskys, mushers and race goals for the first event of the season (and sometimes the first race ever) was evident yesterday. The fastest time was 4 hours and 39 minutes and the slowest finish time was 8 hours and 27 minutes. To be honest, it would be a toss up of which musher enjoyed their race more. One went home with money in their pocket and one went home with the bulging satisfaction of starting and finishing a challenging course with only 7 dogs.
Some local mushers were at the starting line simply to enjoy the race on a gorgeous day: Mari and Rod; there were also mushers attempting their first racer (ones that we know about): Jeff, Olivia, Liz and Zach. CONGRATS! We always enjoy seeing Tony and his passion for his cool Siberian Dog Team (maybe some Malemutes too?). It was nice to have Yukon Quest Champions John and Hugh enjoying the Two Rivers hospitality. The fastest dog team of the day was Jason’s speedsters. And second place musher, Dennis, came all the way from Tolsona for the race. There were some nervous dad’s hanging out at Pleasant Valley Store as Junior mushers Chandler and Emma finished 7th and 11th. Hopefully, after the race, every musher can say that they were personally satisfied with their individual performance.
Allen and the Black Team
Allen was pleased with the dogs and him self. He gets the most out of the team in the hills. He ski poles and rallies up the squad and very few teams can match his pace while climbing. This is super training for next month’s Copper Basin 300. Allen had some concerns about running downhill too fast so he used his chains for the steep downhill sections of the course. This wonderful sled invention controls the pace of a dog team with very little musher effort – – chains UP or chains DOWN. Allen was very happy with a 3rd place finish – averaging just under 10mph.
Commando and Junior were perfect in lead but had difficulty navigating past the eight snowmobiles parked in the middle of the trail at Mile 20. Allen had to do a little a little political convincing to get the machine drivers to pull off the trail and let him pass. He did finally convince them NOT to drive down the route that 20 plus race teams were charging up. His MVD for the race was Felix in wheel who was able to duck and slid around the switchbacks with ease… never letting up on his harness pulling!
Aliy and the Red Team
Aliy said it was one of the most gorgeous race days on the sled runners. She was happy with a 4th place finish. The team was lead by Dutch and Chena who tried their best to pass fourteen teams in route and got tangled with most of them. The worst tangle was a strange circumstance when Dutch’s snap caught on a dog in Zach’s team – so the entire Red Team tried to continue without their leader. That didn’t work! Sorry, Zach!
Obviously, the Red Team needs some passing practice. Much of the trail through the hills is on the ‘Fire Break’ and it was enjoyable to see teams at a distance and be able to watch the dogs get excited and try to catch them. SPK dogs seem to be as competitive as the Mushers!
Her MVD for the race was Scooby. She stopped 15 miles from the finish and moved him up toward the front of the team – his energy was contagious!
Jeff and the R&B Team
Jeff said “That was awesome!” His rookie race is marked off the list. Kodiak was the main leader “in charge” of the team. Jeff kept a steady pace both up and down hill. He passed quite a few teams and gained momentum in the hills. The team had some ‘good’ passes and some ‘not so good’. Sanka got scared of Tony’s enormous wheel Siberian who outweighs her by three times when the team tried to pass. Who can blame her when she jumped out into the deep snow? But some of the youngsters really steeped up to the plate: QT was jumping in her harness climbing the hills and Perky wasn’t ready to stop at the finish line!
Jeff’s MVD was a tie. The team was ‘held together’ by Kodiak but Sanka was no slouch. She is a small dog with a big heart and she is ready to prove herself this season!
A big thank you to all the SPK Crew who helps out at the kennel and at races. Allen and Aliy thank you and hopefully you got enough loving from the dogs that they thank you too!