photo by Gail Palmer Perrin

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The last nine miles...

 I find this a little difficult to write about. There have been some questions raised on whether this race could have had a different outcome. To the best of my ability and recollection, this is what unfolded from my eyes.
 I left Allagash first, with Bruce only a couple of minutes behind me. The trail in the beginning was visible, not too bad actually. Soon however the trail deteriorated. The dogs were still able to pick up the trail, if you strayed from the trail you would very quickly find yourself buried. Later I spoke to Bruce, he told me that he couldn`t even see my tracks.
 As I approached the second last Safety Station from Fort Kent the dogs were showing signs of slowing down, understandbly so as the trail at this point was drifting over. I had brought what I thought was an ample amount of snacks to fuel my boys for the last push. Just passed the S.S. I fed up the last of the snacks. What seemed an eternity, I approached the 10 mile marker, shortly thereafter the dogs had had enough and needed a break. I didn`t want to accept this, I was in first place with the finish line so close. I kept picking the dogs up one at a time encouraging them to continue, but they didn`t want to. My frame of mind at this point wasn`t good, just moments before they stopped I was savouring the idea of winning the Can-Am Crown. I really felt myself in a hopeless situation but knew I had to come to terms with this new reality. I left the dogs to rest. I then plopped myself on my sled, pulled my ballcap over my face and faded off for awhile. I`m not exactly sure how long I was out, but long enough to be covered in several inches of snow. When I first glanced at my dogs, I wondered if they were there, for they were almost invisible in the new snow.
  Now I`m wet, cold and miserable, but determined. In Allagash I left some things to lighten my load, like a warm parka and dry gloves for example.... We were stopped at the bottom of a small hill. I walked up the hill to make tracks for the dogs, my figuring was that if I could get my team up that hill, that just maybe we could get some momentum going on the down side. They didn`t respond with the usually "Let's Go!" I took my snubline and hooked it to the lead section of gangline. I was literally pulling my team up this hill a few feet at a time. I sat down, huffed and puffed and thought, " Holy *%#@ this is going to be a really long nine miles. By now I'm wondering why no one has showed up yet. Before that thought was barely finished, André showed up.

To be continued

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