Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Rivers 200

The Two Rivers 200 was our last long race of the season, we ran it the weekend of March 8-10, and boy was it fun. I chose Adidas, Jackal, Matrix, Sparta, Jana, Drummer, Pirate, BP, Charley, Tramp, Chupa, and Chaos as my team for this race. The race starts out in Chatanika Alaska at the Chatanika Lodge along side the Steese highway. The first 50-mile section of trail was full of hills including Cleary summit and Iowa dome, it seemed like we were always either climbing a hill or going down one. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the low 40’s, which was really warm for the dogs, I did most of the 5.5 hour run with out most of my winter gear on, I let the dogs set the pace and I just enjoyed the beautiful scenery and sunshine.

We arrived at the first checkpoint which was the Two Rivers Lodge at mile 17 Chena Host springs Road in the early evening, we stayed there for 2.5 hours, just enough time to get a quick bite to eat after I took care of the dogs and relax for just a minute while chatting with my handlers and some of the other racers. I dropped Sparta at this check point because she seemed just a little more tired than the other dogs after all those long hills, and I knew the next run would be a fast one and I didn’t want to push her to much.

By the time we were ready to leave the sun had gone down and the dogs had cooled off and were ready to roll. This section of trail was mostly flat with only a few hills we had a fast 45mile run into the next checkpoint catching and over taking a few teams on our way. We rolled into the second checkpoint, which was the Pleasant Valley store in Two Rivers Alaska in fourth place with a still lively and energetic team. The dogs were enjoying the darkness and slightly cooler temperatures.

We stayed at the second checkpoint for 4.5 hours, leaving in the early morning hours just before first light. The dogs had a good rest there and I was able to get lots of water into them, it is very important to keep them well hydrated. I was even able to catch about an hour or so of sleep here as well, sleep on a race is a rare and precious commodity for a musher. After waking up I went out to water the dogs again and get them ready for the next run. I got all the dogs up individually walking them around just a little to see if they were sore or had any small injuries that weren’t obvious when we first pulled in. The only dog who had any problems was Chaos and he just seemed a little too sore to continue on, so for the first time ever Chaos got to go back to the dog truck while the rest of the team continued on. After some more rest chaos was as good as new and in typical Chaos fashion was annoyed that he wasn’t still running the race.

The next run was a long one. We traveled over 65 miles to the next checkpoint mostly during the heat of the day; the dogs were hot but still kept up an ok pace. We passed some teams and were passed by some others on this section of trail, we ended up arriving at the final checkpoint which was Angel Creek Lodge in the late after noon. The dogs were more than happy to sleep in the afternoon sun on a nice bed of straw while we finished out our 10.5 hours of mandatory rest with a 3.5-hour stay at the checkpoint. I dropped Matrix on of my yearlings at this checkpoint because she had a slightly sore shoulder and I believed it to be in her best interest to finish out the race in the truck. She didn’t want to leave the team behind and Robert nearly had to carry her to the truck because she was being stubborn about leaving the other dogs.

We left the last checkpoint in 7th place during the early evening; the dogs were rejuvenated after their rest and ready to hit the trail again. We made good time on the last run which was only about 36 miles long and ended up finishing the race in 7th place with a happy and healthy dog team. I always consider a race a success when the dogs finish happy and healthy after doing their best.

I would like to say a big thank you to both of my handlers on this race. First of all a huge thank you to my husband Robert, I don’t think any of the things the dogs and I have done this season would be possible with out you and I am eternally grateful for all of your help and Support. Second thank you to Jana who is always fun to have around, you were a big help and I really enjoyed seeing you at the checkpoints, also thank you for all of the nice pictures of my team during the race. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all of the race sponsors and volunteers who made this race happen, we really appreciate all that you do. 

Below are some pictures Jana took of my team during the race, I hope you enjoy them. 

Hooking up the team and preparing to start the race. 
Arriving at Two Rivers Lodge,
the first checkpoint.
Chupa being a bed hog, luckily Chaos is  cooperative. 

Taking off the dogs booties and preparing
to bed them down at the first check point. 

Brothers Tramp(far) and Charley(near).
Jackal, BP, Matrix, and Adidas (near to far) at the start of the race.

Jackal is ready!

Bp and Pirate(far).

L to R Jackal, Sparta, Jana and Drummer.

Teams resting at the first check point, my team is some where
in the middle of the mass on the Right side of the Picture. 

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