Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 Bartlett, NH 24 miles

That race was the longest distance our dogs run so far. During the training over the last months we had just two runs with 19miles. But those two runs where exactly on that trail where they put that race on. So I decided – let’s try it. First I thought to bother the race organizers again with the question whether I can race with a pulka or not. But since I was very unsure about the conditions and if it would be ski-able at all I decided not to take the pulka.
There were two other reasons; I liked to have that experience from the Mannsville Quest race two weeks ago sticking in the head of the puppies as a very good one. And second the trail here in Bartlett was an out and back with a big turnaround in the middle. That would mean that we would have to have a head-on-passing with each single other team. And that maybe would be difficult for the two young dogs pulling a pulka.
Ok, so we did it again with a sled and four dogs in a field of 13 others which all raced with 6 dogs, actually over all there were 21 competitors if you count the open class together.

here some scenes from the stake out and some starts

To be out there and race just with four dogs doesn’t matter that much anymore since I’m meanwhile getting used to be the fifth dog and run and push mostly on the hills. But it is really noticeable an those long hills if you run with a third less of the power than of 6 dogs.
I knew it would be difficult for Chinook to keep up with the three racers. He has his limits at a speed of 14mph or 22kmh or so. That’s where the puppies and Quest just start to loop. So, I expected to even put him in the sled bag to be faster on the last downhill. It ended up that I just took him of the neckline and let him run on the tugline. What he did, he actually run beside the sled.

You will see it in the video.

Over all it was again a good experience for the dogs and it turned out as a perfect exercise for passing, being passed and most of all head-on passing. We came in 8th place in 2:38. Which is again as I believe not that bad since Chinook and in the end also Quest “necklined” a lot. The two puppies especially Luc are doing what I expected from them to do (pedigree), focused on the run, getting stronger each run, getting faster each run and leading the small team without distraction. (more or less)

see some more pics here