Thanks to the Two Rives Dog Mushers Association for putting on the Burger Run yesterday. It was a small field of mushers and a few skijourers but I'm sure we all had fun. Thanks to Angel Creek Lodge for hosting the after party and for the great burgers! Thanks also to all the sponsors of spot prizes that meant everyone walked away with some goodies.
The trail was beautiful! We do live in a gorgeous corner of the world, even thought we don't have the mountains and glaciers that other parts of Alaska do. I like Two Rivers just fine! The trail was pretty slow due to the fresh snow and it continued to fall during the afternoon. We stopped quite a few times to check for snow-filled booties, untangle tug lines and snack on salmon (I didn't have salmon, I held out for the burger).
Snack and yoga break beside the Chena River
Nacho was our pace keeper for the run, he's not such a fast dog but the pace he set was perfect for the warm temperatures and the soft trail. He's such a happy dog, it was great to have him lead us. Quito quite simply is the best dog in the world. She loped pretty much the entire way and I knew she could get us out of any difficulty we might find ourselves in. I loved that I could mush right into the carpark of the lodge, go around another parked truck and get the team right in-between our truck and another. She just knows.
Five is a strong boy and pulled hard; but, his pooping caused a few tangles. He stopped the whole team on occasion and inevitably someone stepped over the line or got caught up somehow. Woody wanted to be in front I think but stayed behind Mama Quito and backed her up beautifully. He's such a good dog. Hotshot pulled relentlessly the entire way. How a dog can pull that hard and not let up is amazing to me.
Ernie and Cayenne were well matched in gait and temperament. They just got on with what they were doing and looked good doing it. At one stage during one of Five's poop stops, Ernie got his leg tangled and couldn't get himself upright. Instead of panicking and getting in a worse predicament he looked to me, listened to me when I calmly told him I was on my way, "hang on a minute buddy, I'm coming" and he lay there patiently waiting for me to put the snow hook in and run up to free him. It's nice when a dog trusts you that much.
Jefe is so strong. He runs like you might expect a body builder to run as he is so muscled up. He was happy and enjoyed running next to his sister Dancer. Dancer hasn't had much experience passing or being passed by other dog teams and can't decide whether to yell at them or dive out of the way of them so does both. Because we got passed by a number of teams she got a lot of practice and I could see her confidence increasing each time. She is very vocal at other times also and has a lot to say for one so young.
This video is from a number of sources and using different devices - thanks Kaz, Padee and Linda
I tried to help the team out as much as I could by pedalling up any hills or rises. Sometimes I did help, other times my foot would disappear to my knees. And, I only fell off once - right at the last GEE into the Lodge - but luckily no one saw us so I brushed off all the snow on my face and continued on like I knew what I was doing. The dogs did look at me though: "What? You fall now?"
Thanks to Chris for handling for me and for a bunch of people that came to cheer me on, take pictures or video, or help get me to the start line: Kaz, Padee, Tami, Madi, Mykena, Linda and Allen, and Aliy for entrusting a few potential Iditarod dogs to me one week before the start. Yikes.