Champ was the most proud and vocal member of the 2nd place Red Team, so he would like to share his personal Race Recap. Here it is… the Red Team Wrap-up from Champ's Perspective:
"A fast and hilly 200 hundred mile race might seem like it was a bit tough, but it was honestly a piece of cake… for me at least. The rest of the team did fairly well and Aliy seem to be able to navigate the trails somewhat successfully. She did break her sled on the second leg but I guess she said that a tree just came out of no where?!? I do believe that if I had been in lead, I could have gained a few minutes on that speedy Will Rhodes' team. But… hey… that wasn't my call.
"Our leaders were fairly fast and steady. For some reason, Aliy decided that Dutch (he's my half brother on my Dad's side) was going to be the main leader. Dutch has never been a main leader and as far as I know, he's only bumped up into this command position about a month ago. But, I guess she decided he could do it. He ran all 200 miles in lead - passed many teams quite well, but didn't always know Gee from Haw. (I have to be truthful… those two commands get me confused from time to time as well.)
Izzy was the other leader for the first half of the race. (She's my first cousin and super cute!) She seemed to really enjoy the speed in the hills and got excited about seeing new trails. Izzy sat out the last race (so did I) so she was excited to be an important part of this race team. She wasn't quite up to leading at such a fast pace for the second half, so Aliy moved her farther back in the team and bumped Commando up to Izzy's spot.
Commando… yeah, well. He kinda thinks he's the bomb. I mean, yeah, I get it. He did run Iditarod last year when all the rest of us youngsters didn't get to go. But, he's kinda a pretty boy, if you ask me. (He's my half brother too and we've never really seen eye to eye.) Aliy seems to trust him in lead and he and Dutch share a similar gait. So, I guess he did pretty well, but don't tell him I said that.
Lydia is seriously a pipsqueak. I don't think she knows she's that small. I could probably see over her if she were standing on top of herself. Anyhow, she ran in the swing position and added a great deal of pep and speed to the team. She always screams to go and rallies at the drop of a hat. The trails were very hard packed -- like an ice skating rink -- so she got a tiny bit of a sore wrist. She tried to convince Aliy to let her finish the race, but Aliy said that there are more important races in the future. So, the Race Veterinarian ~ Dr. Mercedes (cool name, huh?) ~ examined Lydia, scribbled on some papers and then Wendy walked her to the Dog Truck at the Angel Creek Checkpoint. I'm sure glad I didn't have to go -- what a bummer!
Chipper is somewhat annoying, but everyone seems to LOVE her. I don't get it. I live next to her in the yard and she's always yelling at me and circling like a crazy dog. I don't think she knows what tired is. Anyhow, Chipper started the race in wheel and slowly she made her way farther and farther up towards the front. Chipper is actually a lead dog but for some reason Aliy kept saying she wanted to give some of the rookies a chance to lead during this race. So, Chipper finished the race in swing - although I'm pretty sure she whispered a few suggestions to Dutch and Commando towards the end.
Spark (left, getting straw from Aliy) was a steady team dog and also good in swing.
He's a little dopey and tends to bother a lot of the other dogs. That's because he likes to play when we are supposed to be sleeping. I even saw Aliy lay him down on his straw bed so that he understood S-L-E-E-P. Like I said… dopey. He's my half brother too, so I can say that.
Spark has an incredibly fast trot (almost as good as mine!)
Mac was on my team which was wayyyyy cool. I've never been on a team with him. He's really talented and super strong. I'm not sure there's any other dog as strong as him at the kennel - well… except my Dad. Anyhow Mac seems to get kinda overheated now and then but he dips a lot of snow and cools off after we've been running for a while. This was a good race for him because Aliy seemed pretty happy about Mac's finish.
I was surprised to find Sissy on my team too. She's always been a super cutey. I was really hoping that I would get to run next to her but Aliy put her and Mac together. I think maybe they are boyfriend and girlfriend. She is a real worker and can run with super speed.
Nomex is a big lug. He's got all these big muscles and a big head. He sure has a lot of power in the hills and I try my earnest to keep up with him. I guess the hard packed trails made him just a little sore too. After Aliy massaged him, she decided he should finish the race in the dog truck instead of on the team. I have to admit that last 65 mile leg was a doozy, so maybe she was right about that. I saw him playing with Violet in the yard today… so I guess he's good to go.
Iron and I ran together for the whole 200 miles. He's a year older than me but we really have about the same experience. I probably have more to be honest. He actually got in trouble at the Race Start when he decided to chew his harness - even I know we aren't supped to do that! Iron and I worked super hard for all 200 miles and it was exciting to finish strong right next to him.
Sandy (right with Chipper) is a shy, quiet gal. She never really gets the attention that the others seems to. I wonder why that is - she's super pretty, smooth and works like a champion.
I heard Aliy talking about her at the halfway point and I guess Sandy has really been impressing her this season. Maybe she'll get the recognition she deserves this season.
We took the team on a stretch-out run after the race and captured some of it on video. Champ added his comments.