Overall, our expectations were very high for the Black Team. These twelve dogs were selected to try and win the Copper Basin for SP Kennel. The team did have great energy and speed. However, the front end experience was somewhat lacking. A team needs to be able to confidently pass many other dog teams during a competition with 46 other competitors. This team definitely needs more experience to shine in this area. Once we practice and gain confidence, this team will be fantastic.
The Black Team resting at the Sourdough Checkpoint.
Allen sat down after the race and chatted about his team and how each team member did.
Junior - my expectations for her were very high. She's a great leader. She was just coming-out of heat which always adds a complication. She was in lead the first run and lots of boys were interested!! We had a few mishaps so I moved her to a different spot. After that she ran great until just after Meiers Lake Checkpoint. We where going down a hill where the trail was very fast and she must have stepped wrong because her bicep became slightly sore. I left her with the handlers at Sourdough Checkpoint. She was happily wagging her tails as she walked away with the Crew.
Chipper - has a great and appropriate name. We named her after a golf club but she's such a spirited, little dog and she was always "chipper" throughout the race. She left the last checkpoint while jumping, bounding, and twirling. That dog has literally endless energy. I am very happy with her finish. She needs more experience and education in lead and could be a main leader.
Mismo - there were two dogs that I thought were superstars in this team and Mismo was one of them. He was in lead 90% of the race and I can see him doing very well on the Quest team. No matter where you put him in the team, he does well: lead, team or wheel. He just doesn't really care where I put him, he wants to run. I'm very impressed with Mismo.
Tinder - a young dog. I very seldom bring two year olds to try to win the Copper Basin. But, Tinder was doing so well that we decided to give him a chance. He did well for 3/4 of the race. He may have stepped in hole or on some slick ice near the finish, because he slightly stretched his right leg. He never complained about his leg and was in the team until the finish line. We only noticed his leg the morning after the race. Tinder's going to be a superstar.
Nelson - another one of the Biscuit pups with a whole lot of extra energy. It seems endless sometimes. He's been on many of the main teams last year but he seems prone to get a sore wrist when the trails are hard packed. So his wrist started haunting us mid-way and we decided to drop him at the last checkpoint as a precaution. Without Nelson, we slowed down.
Kodiak - was a main leader in the race. But, whenever you have a leader who has never raced on a competitive team as the "main man", then you need to have patience. He is one of the best dogs at the kennel and is one of the main reasons we finished as high as we did. Kodiak has never any quit in him and is always perky. More than likely, he will be one of the main leaders on the Quest team. That probably says it all.
Mismo, Kodiak and Allen take a nap in the straw.
Schmoe - one of the more mature dogs in the team. He has run all the big races in the past. He's steady, he eats well, he knows what to do and always does it. You don't have to worry about all the little things with Schmoe. He's always working hard in the team. When it gets really, really tough and we're going up steep hills, he's always barking and he is able to pep up the team. He's a great cheerleader to have.
Scooter - is similar to Schmoe and has been on the last three Copper Basin winning teams. She's another happy, cheerleader. Whenever I stop, everyone close to us will hear that Scooter is ready and wants to GO! You can't have too many cheerleaders on your team. Scooter's a great dog that has finished in all the wins that I've had.
Outlaw - good, steady dog. He's not as fast as the race pace was - the racecourse this year was faster than ever. He's not used to traveling quite that fast. Outlaw is a fantastic 1000 mile dog and not a 300 mile sprint dog - which is what this CB win demanded. So, he got a little tired towards the end, especially when we were going down some hills pretty fast. I carried him in my sled the last 11 miles.
Commando - is definitely an up and coming superstar. He finished Iditarod with me at 17 months old and now at the age of 2 he finished the CB competitively. He never wanted to do anything but race. He always had drive and being this young in a race of this speed means a lot. I'm very proud of Commando. Good boy!
Clyde - Outlaw's brother and they are similar. He has a little bit more drive and eats a little better. He has raced a lot of 1000 mile races, so he's a very mature dog for his years and it showed in this race. He's a little bit slower than the speeds we went. But, like his brother, he always had good drive and helped tremendously to come in 3rd place.
Felix - I thought he was the other superstar standout in this team. If I could have had a team of Mismos and Felixes… it would be a hard team to beat! Felix likes to go fast and lopes most of the time. He did an excellent job. Any musher would love to have Felix on their team.