photo by Gail Palmer Perrin

Thursday, February 17, 2011

U.P. Bound

Michigan bound for the 240 mile famed U.P. 200. Competition is steep. I'm kinda nervous, which for me is always a good thing. I think if I lose this feeling, I should probably get out of racing. 14 years of racing and I'm still biting my nails to every race I go!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kearney and the 120

60 miles, 4 hour layover, 60 more. Bruce Langmaid also ran this race with us this year,  he described this race as a 120 miles of the Beargrease trail. Continuously going up and down these choppy little hills. My plan for this race was to use it as a training run. However with about 10 miles left of the first leg, a headlamp appeared in the not too far distance. I pondered the possibilities for awhile of who it could be. I was hoping it was Kevin Vandenbucsshe. Kevin has been working with me this winter and has done an outstanding job with fall training and racing the second team for me. Gavin Baker maybe, he's worked really hard with his team this year. Then I wondered if perhaps it was Eli Golton who came into the race with a really nice looking dog team, and was going into this race with a conservative strategy, but then changed his mind......certainly something I wouldn't do....... Christine Richardson came up here to train early winter and I was very impressed with her Buddies. But my gut convinced me it was out came the ski-pole :) Needless to say, when Bruce is coming up behind ya, best get movin`. 
 This trail definitely had it`s technical sections. One of the sections had this 150ish ft hill with maybe a 60 degree grade. Right in the middle is a really tight "S"bend tightly surrounded with mature maples. To top off the ride, you come flying around another tight corner on to a 4' x 30' bridge....what a hoot, heehee.  There is one small ice crossing and it doesn't matter which way you hit it cause your gonna hit a nice little grade with a nice little twist and pop down on it, pretty cool, love carving the runners, this section took me by surprise every surprises :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wilderness 100

This year in Marmora the race format was 2 days of racing, 30 miles each day. Bearing the UP 200 and the Can-Am 250, I wondered the wisdom of entering my team in such an event. I was training long and slow for the Beargrease from which I withdrew. I personally didn`t feel I had the dog-team to handle a race of this stature...hopefully next year. Anyway, after withdrawing I sped the team up a bit, a little shorter runs with a little more speed. The idea being that I would be competing in some of the Ontario races where speed is definitely a prerequisite. My team however was becoming a little confused. Do you want us to go fast? Do you want us to go slow? Sooo..... the Wednesday before Marmora I decided to go to Greenville, Maine for the 100 Wilderness instead. 50 miles, 2 hour layover, 50 back. I felt this was more of an appropriate style of race keeping in mind the races to come for the remainder of the season. At first I wondered how the dogs would handle a 2 hour layover. Much to my delight, they popped the hook at the checkpoint and were smashing into their harnesses, the volunteers helping my team get to the line had a bit of a chore controlling them :)
 This race is put on by John and Amy from Mountain Ridge kennels and producers of quality sleddog equipment. I must say it's nice when a race gets put together with the help of experienced mushers.  Amy Dugan bring to this race a vast amount of experience. This little town really gets together and puts on a good event. The scenery in this race is spectacular. It is my hope that this race fits into my schedule next winter. Well organized , awesome scenery and if you win you get this really cool custom made knife!
Next race is the Kearney 120 in February.

Finally! The first race of the season!

Previous to Eldorado we were penciled in to run the 62 miler in Newbury Michigan after that we were off to Eagle Lake Maine to run a 100 miler, both were cancelled due to lack of the white stuff. Eldorado, no matter what, always puts the race on. I can recall on several occasions where the race has been re-located to a different starting point, this would happen because of lack of snow. One year we drove to Lake St. Peter which is approximately 75 miles North of matter what, good job Sandra Stein.
 This year the trail was shortened from 50 to 42, when the race was said and done, it was a 35 mile race. The race is on railway bed, not the most exciting trail but an excellent training run. Getting a dog team to lope up and down those tracks is a chore in itself. I think the dogs may get somewhat bored of the whole thing, but that's where the discipline of the team comes in to play. It takes a reasonably tough dog team to pull this off. This year my boys did just that.
Stay tuned for updates as the season goes on!