Aliy gave me a dog-by-dog wrap up of her Red Team. She was understandably delighted with her team's performance in finishing 6th.
The Red Team in Meiers Lake checkpoint
Waylon was Aliy's steadiest dog from start to finish. He had a good attitude the whole time and enjoyed himself. He seemed to be highly entertained with having Junior up there with him. He has no trepidation, no fear and since the 2014 Iditarod he knows he can do ANYTHING now! Amazing, considering he's a scrawny, 40lb hairless husky with antenna ears and huge smile.
Scruggs is slightly slower than Waylon but he was irreplaceable. He is smart, tough and dedicated.
Scruggs' sister Boondocks is a little firecracker! She was a little bit tired at Mendenltna and Aliy did a precautionary wrap wrist which helped her because after the two hour rest she was ready to go!
Chemo - Aliy could tell was hot-to-trot the entire race. He was her speed going up hills; he gets excited and was loping where the trail allowed. He came through in the end and wanted to be in lead for the final push.
Brothers Clyde and Outlaw (left) are ying and yang. They both bark going up hills and Outlaw barks when he wants to go.
Outlaw is definitely the less experienced of the two but received some great learning on this race.
Clyde is the more senior, he as two more 1000 mile races under his harness. They were her strength and power and are a really nice pair.
Father and son - Biscuit and Pepe ran in wheel for the whole race.
Biscuit is one of the toughest dogs Aliy has ever know in in her life. He doesn't know "easy". At 9 years old beat out his 3 year old son in performance. When you say "go" he will go - no questions. Aliy said she could say thousands of words about him.
Pepe tried his hardest and Aliy is very happy with him. He pulled a little too hard at the beginning but Pepe has never seen "hard" so he got a good education! He got to run with a rock star next to him and it was good for Pepe. He gets so excited a checkpoints, doesn't rest quite as well as he should but that will come with time. He was the wild card in the team but Aliy was pleased she took him with her.
Mac got stronger and stronger as the race went on. She put him into swing at Mendeltna and as soon as they hit the trail she was super happy with that decision. He knows what is expected and he always delivers. He was in no way tired and pulled the whole time. Mac is always a bit of a challenge to have on the team as he is so physically different to the rest. He needs two or three dishes of food rather than one and requires different care and attention but he sure is worth it!
Mismo (right) did great, no question. Aliy conservatively left him in Sourdough as there were a few moments when he was running where he was little off. He never didn't pull and had a great attitude but really wants him fit for the Quest and ID so made the conservative decision.
Junior and Dutch - Aliy was super excited to have them on her team, this was their first mid-distance race.
Dutch was another conservative drop in Meiers Lake as she wants him to be available for Quest and/or Iditarod.
Junior (left with Waylon) was a power house until she got tired and Aliy felt there was no sense in making her more tired by continuing on with the race. Both Junior and Dutch were not completely knowledgeable going into the race about how to sleep in checkpoints but they learned! By Sourdough they had down!
Aliy enjoys running the Copper Basin and finds it interesting how the route changes every year. It can be mentally challenging to add on extra trail when you know the bulk of route so well but that's what makes it exciting. The Copper Basin put on a good show and lots of mushers will be happy with the organisation, the trail and the weather!! It is an honest, challenging 300 mile race!
Thanks to the committee and volunteers for staging such a fine race and to the handler team of Ray, Moira, Mark, Joanna with support from Bridgett, Scotty, Mike and Elena! You guys rock!